Friday, September 2, 2011

The little bird on my shoulder

Painting by: Glenda Kathleen Mathew
December 11, 1951-July 31, 2010
Photograph by Ernie Kroeger
A little over a year ago, my dearest Glenda flew away to join the angels. She never said it in so many words, but I think everyone close to her, felt sure that when her soul left her body, it would take flight. In the last year of her life with the strength she had left, she created several amazing works of art. This painting of a robin outside her window is my favourite by far — I like to think it is Glenda resting, waiting patiently for the right moment to fly away.

Glenda was not a big world traveler, but a true lover of the outdoors. She hiked and skied and gardened and loved everything that was alive. She was always interested in our more adventurous travel plans and the first thing she always asked me when we talked was "Where are you off to next?" When she did travel, I always received a unique postcard from her, with a few quick notes, describing an art museum she had visited or describing the architecture and nature around her. She was traditional that way. Why send an email, when a postcard was so much more personal.

A designer to the core, Glenda had an amazing sense of colour. I know I am not the only one of her friends that sees a particular colour combination and thinks of her immediately. We all learned to stretch our colour boundries with her guidance. The greatest gift though, is that she continues to be an inspiration to everyone that has known her. I wonder how she has the time to sit on so many shoulders!

As I have been preparing for this trip, I have felt her presence acutely. She has been shopping with me all over Vancouver to find all the perfect items for this trip. I hear her saying "Remember Naomi, each piece must be functional you know, and really well designed to be a candidate". She was always much more decisive than I, (price tag never concerned her if the item fit the criteria) so I had to look at everything a hundred times before making a decision, but when I did, I felt the nod from her, and the smile that was always in the corners of her eyes even before it reached her lips.

I won't bore you with all of the details of my purchases, but I am very pleased (and I know Glenda would be too) with my Osprey travel bag and day pack. The fact that each piece is named after a bird of flight —well that is simply proof, that Glenda will always be at my side.

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