Monday, 28 March 2011
I said goodbye to a dear friend on Saturday 26th March, Barbara, who unexpectedly passed away. She was the one I referred to in the post Balance and taking time out for friends, I’m so glad we spent the whole day together talking about our art, exhibitions, favourite artists, new techniques, faith and generally what was on our heart.
We have known each other for over 30 years having gone to college together studying a secretarial course. We came out after two years ready to face the world as PA's. Whilst this was not our passion we committed to it. Our paths throughout the years ran parallel at so may points.....
We sung together, trying to fulfil our 17 year old heads the dreams of forming a group with college friends Vilma and Juliet, hoping to tour the world. We trod the boards together, joining a group to write and perform our own community opera called Bloodties, and we toured many theatres.
We were at each other’s weddings. I remember when she first introduced us to her now husband, Phil in our 20’s we all hoped that one day we’d meet men like him. Our children were born and played together and she was blessed to have 4 beautiful daughters and a son. They have all been blessed with many wonderful talents waiting to be unleashed into the world
We shared our work environment for around 3 years literally side by side in the same organisation as executive PA’s sharing our experience, knowledge and much laughter. We shared our love and passion for art together. Barbara took the step to leave the organisation to pursue a degree in fine art. We always talked about wanting more time to be creative, having more space and inspiration but we encouraged each other, and she graduated in 2010. I was very proud of her as I attended her graduation show. We talked about collaborating again on an exhibition together later this year.
We shared our faith together. Barbara had an insight to the word of God that would touch your heart in the very place that it was needed. She had so many books within her waiting to be birthed; she had a unique wisdom and understanding. I saw her preach for the first time two weeks ago, and it was definitely a word for the season.
She touched many people’s lives over the years, both young and old and was a friend who I never imagined knowing after 30 years – (that seemed like a lifetime) - but time passed anyway...there were so many other things we were encouraging each other to do. This experience so brings home to me how precious our lives are, we don’t have any guarantee about tomorrow, so what are we going to do with our today? How many plans we make to see friends, catch up, or things we say we want to do, places to visit, but we put it off saying ‘I’ll do it tomorrow or next week’ and allow stuff to get in the way with our promises to ourselves being pushed further and further into the background.
I’m so glad that our day spent together was spent talking about our passions for art and creativity, our goals and dreams, in laughter and love. I value the years we have known each other and it has made me reassess all the other parts of my life that I have no guarantees about, everything I say I want to do, from my art, travel, adventures, to sending that card, making that call and spending more quality time with my family and friends. I will make the time and space for each, not putting it off or being distracted, but being in the moment, living in the moment and appreciating each moment, in balance.
My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost friends and loved ones. To Barbara’s family who I adopted many moons ago as my own, that they find the strength and courage to get through what seems like a very dark place, and find the joy and laughter that follow the tears as they ponder on the memories, Barbara’s grace, understanding, kindness, talent, humour, those laugh-out-loud moments, the way she encouraged and the way she loved.......Stay blessed!