Farewell to Barbara

Barbara’s words to me when I last spoke to her was, “I’m going.” We don’t know where or how that will be for each of us and as I have quoted on my signature, from Joan Baez, “You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live.” However, I would add that how one lives shapes how one dies. I believe Barbara’s parting from this world was peaceful and full of the joy, love, gratitude, light and zest for each moment with which she lived her life. She will live in my heart and in my dreams for as long as I live. Her sweet, precious spirit will continue to inspire me and all who knew her. She touched so many lives and hearts. We will never forget her.

Following are the words of her partner, Dennis, informing us of her passing:

Yesterday evening Barbara slipped away, ever so peacefully. For all of us who knew her, the arc of her life will forever shine brightly. Her wish was that her ashes be scattered as soon as possible in the Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island. For your love and support during these past months: a thousand petals of appreciation.

Love, Dennis M. February 13th, 2011

So, her ashes will remain close to us. From the trip Barbara and I took to the coast after her first workshop here in Vancouver, she carried a love of British Columbia, the trees and the greenery here, and especially the Pacific Rim National Park. She and Dennis revisited it last year.

I feel that Barbara is speaking to us through the words of the following poem by Mary Oliver:


When death comes

like the hungry bear in autumn;
and takes all the bright coins from his purse

To buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was the bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Indeed, Barbara did not “simply visit this world.”

Below is a copy of my favourite of Barbara’s paintings, “Inner Back,” a print of which I have hanging in my home. Some of you may not be familiar with the brilliance of Barbara’s art but many are with her blending of Continuum & Art that she taught in her workshops. Having never painted before, I found myself having great joy and surprise with the play of colour and form and movement that I was able to create in these workshops & share with others.

Goodbye my beautiful & precious friend! May you continue to light up the path in your journey, wherever you are and however that may be!

With love & blessings, Doris

February 19th, 2011

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