Where have all the flowers gone?

Back in January 2010, my good friend Loretta Benedetto Marvel shared a post on her blog that to this day resonates with me ... divert yourself for a moment and enjoy her words from that day: http://tinyurl.com/p5uv4qp

I too was able to relate to her posting.  I too grew up surrounded by some incredibly special Great Aunts who were very present in my life. My parents made sure that they were always included in family happenings and achievements that we may have had.  One strong memory I have is of my brother breaking out a show tune on the concert grand piano that my Great Aunt owned (as she was a concert pianist) - He was about 9 and I am sure it was the first and last time that piano had Alley Cat played on it!  I look at my wedding album and marvel at those who have gone before us, that I was lucky enough to have met. Of course I am the lucky one as my Nanny (94 years young) is still very much with us and and I have come to know and believe that she is an integral part of my soul and the person that I am.

They were all magnificent and bloomed in the perennial garden of our life.  

But today my thoughts are with those that did not get the chance to bloom year after year.  My thoughts are with some special girlfriends who were the colourful, bright, large and loud annuals in the garden of my life.


Lisa was a shining light for those who were fortunate to have her shine in their direction.   Lisa fought an extraordinary battle with breast cancer but like many that I have met who have experienced this disease first hand, she walked with a graciousness, a humbleness and a kindness that I was eager to soak in each time I got to be with her in Petaluma.  Early last year she shared with us how she was busy making cards and was sending them out to anyone who needed to know that they counted, that their fight with cancer was not to be a lonely one because there were people like Lisa who cared.  In September when I saw her she took my breath away - I could see that she was not well again but her smile and her heart were wider and stronger than ever.  We spent some time together that week - for that I am grateful.  She only took a couple of classes but came and just sat with us at other times.  I look back now and think here I was soaking in the wisdom of this amazing lady but I just wonder if she too was soaking in the joy and the spirit that fills the hotel when we are all in the "house".  Then it was a kiss goodbye and a "see you next year".  I thought nothing of it believing quite truthfully that I would indeed see her in the fall of 2014.  

Knowing I will not breaks my heart.  


I met Rachel before leaving for the USA.  At the time she was about to be married to my nephew and even though she was technically going to be my niece, I knew that she was 'my kind of girl'.  Rachel's laugh was infectious.  Rachel's comments were always the loudest.  Rachel changed her hair almost as many times as her undies!  She was an original who loved life, family, and friends.  Breast Cancer raised it's ugly head about 2 years ago.  She fought her battle loudly and daringly, with a passion like no other.  Her faith kept her strong.  Her family kept her on solid ground and her friends just tried to keep up with her ferocious appetite for life.  It will be two weeks this Saturday.  I can't believe I will not hear her voice again. When the next season of MKR comes on I won't get to laugh at her extraordinary knack of dissecting that show and cast of wannabe chefs.  I even wrote her a long FB message knowing she will never read it but somehow feeling like I needed her to know... to know that her ability to live large did leave an imprint on me and the blessing of knowing her is one I will always be grateful for.


OMG how much was I in awe of this woman!  When I first met Allison and her sister Tracy it was like meeting ROYALTY! ... The QUEEN'S OF FIBRE ART GONE WILD!  They were doing things with fabric, felt and paint that was "not normal"! You could hear people whisper... "they are sewing on paper"...Seriously!!!  They were a creative duo called the Artgirlz and they were at our little retreat!  What an artist and how blessed we are that she leaves in her wake a wide and colourful path of fibre, paint, dolls and sculptures.   The wider crafting industry of the USA and abroad will acknowledge they learned many things from this gorgeous girl and her sister. An avid gardener and a lover of eating and living organically, Allison always had a garden where the veges would grow, a few dollies would sit and the butterflies would come visit. Allison's health battle was only 7 weeks long.  Her life went from spending days at the beach, in the garden and in the studio to lying in her bed surrounded by her loved ones and while she was unable to lift a brush, a needle or a weeding spade, it was here that she created her last Opus - an artistic composition that passed not from her hands but from her lips and now sits for all of us in our personal journals and in our mind's heart.  Mantras of love and life.  

Do what makes you happy...

Be kind to one another...

Lisa loved butterflies.  Rachel loved family.  Allison loved art.  

What do you love?  

Take care of your garden. Nurture the ground you walk on, water the friendships that you have.  Tell somebody today that you love them.

Spend time with the perennials that bloom year after year.  Their colours are ripe with age and wisdom.  Don't assume your garden is only filled with perennials ... annuals appear every season.  They have a short life but their beauty arrives in a flourish of colour and the butterflies love them.

Love Sal

Soul Light Cards

Everyday Hero supporting National Breast Cancer Foundation (AUS)

Tracy Page Stilwell (Allison's sister) and Helen (Midge) Mattesi Baudouin (Allison's partner) are breaking out and creating work, incorporating pieces that Allison originally created. They will be on display at Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery on November 15, 2014

In addition to these acts of remembrance and celebration, Art is...You will celebrate Lisa, Allison and Rachel and the lives of so many that we have known and loved through our Living in Generosity Events.   As we have at our past retreats, we will continue to bless each Friday as our day of Pink.  So whether you are joining us in Petaluma, Stamford, Lake Macquarie, St Kilda or on the Sunshine Coast you can decided whether you are: 


Carol said...

Such a beautiful post, Sal, and a wonderful tribute to your three friends. Love the way you take life and make it so special. Can't wait to be at Lake Macquarie. And I'm pink through and through.

Melissa Bolton said...

wonderfully written~ a beautiful tribute! xo

Unknown said...


Ricë said...

Lovely words, lovely heart. XO

Debbie Bellibone Goodrow said...

The heart remembers. Forever.

Unknown said...

Beautifully spoken. What a lovely heart you have...thank you for sharing.