February 10, 2007

Remembering Molly

I went to a funeral Thursday evening. This one was for my friend Molly. At the funeral service friends and family talked about their experience of Molly. Molly was strong. Molly could be prickly. Molly was demanding, particular, exacting, not easily compromised. Molly always asked for more, from herself, from others, for more understanding, more perfection, to take more, give more.

I’ve known Molly since I first moved here twenty-three years ago. Our paths crossed and intertwined many times over those years. We worked together at the Shambhala Centre for four years. I was Practice Coordinator (setting up and administering meditation programs) and she was the graphic designer. She took classes at NSCAD U. with me, as well as some of the private classes I taught. The one word I associate with Molly’s artwork, the word I heard often from other students, was integrity. Everything she did was done with integrity and it was especially evident in her artwork even to people who didn’t know her in any other way. I loved having her in my classes because her inquisitive, challenging, intelligent questioning inevitalbly raised the quality of experience for other students as well as for me.

For a few months before she died we emailed frequently. She loved hearing about my painting process and seeing photos of work in progress. And she would tell me about her work. She and her daughter would paint on paper every day she had enough energy.

In her own words:

of course with my own work I go back and forth between being horrified and really feeling good. I hope I keep having enough energy to paint for a while longer both the abstracts and the still lifes. They are such an interesting combination.

My energy is really low these days. It makes me sad but what can I do? I just have to accept what is happening to me and relax with it as much as possible.

Any energy I have goes to do a little art. Oh well. That is a good thing to do. And at least I am recognizing that I have been an artist my whole life and that is good. I can have confidence in that finally.

I did visit her just a couple of weeks before she died. She was very frail. She and her daughter Zoe showed me the works on paper they had done together over the past year. Mostly abstract paintings, very colorful, vibrant, open, searching and discovering. For a while a couple of years ago, all of Molly’s paintings could be divided into two distinct paintings. Now there was a wholeness about the work, a unity. After knowing her for so many years when she was so critical of her own work, it was very exhilarating to see the joy she now took in her painting.

After we were through looking at the work, she told me she was about to start another round of chemo. And if it didn’t work, she said, she was toast. But, she also said, “That’s okay. I’ve had a good life, a very rich, full life.” She told me she’s been very fortunate.

As are we to have known her.

Posted by leya at February 10, 2007 07:08 AM | TrackBack

Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. She was fortunate to have you in her life for all those years, even up to when she said goodbye.

Posted by: C. at February 11, 2007 08:26 PM

Leya, I remember you writing about Molly in a previous post around the end of December. So sorry to hear about your friend. It was wonderful that she was able to have such joy in her art and share that with her daughter.

Posted by: Jackie at February 12, 2007 07:56 AM

Yes, she was indeed an inspiring person, in life and death.

Posted by: Leya at February 12, 2007 09:36 PM
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