Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Two deaths that make the heart tender

Two of our Elders passed these last few days: Joan Knight and Jeanne Robinson.

My rememberances:

Second verse of "Our Island's Ours Again:"

Their money spent, the continent 
Will accept them in its fold 
The beaches are available 
Though the water's freezing cold 
We can finally find our favourite seats 
On a barstool down at Doc's 
And the women who run VONIGO 
Can replenish all their stock. 

I wrote that line for Joan, who was the dearest of business operators in the Cove. She loved music, used to come to the Evensong chorale when I sang their and always said nice things about her voice. When she hurt herself a few years ago and wasn't able to get out, I'd poke my head in the door of VONIGO and chant a Kyrie for her. Sho loved Our Island's Ours Again, and was tickled about Sue having to restock the place after the tourists left in the fall.

Joan was full of story and and was cheeky as hell. Once I picked her up from Bowen Court to take her down to Evensong at the Little Red Church and she came in on my arm crowing about how she'd just been cruising around with her boyfriend (me!). She cracked everyone up. She'd tease you on the one hand and then express some genuine appreciation on the other. When VONIGO moved up the hill from it's location next to the Snug, I missed her outside sunning herself whenever she could, always remarking on how good it felt to be sitting outside.


Jeanne was a remarkable woman, still remains that way in my mind. What a treat to know her as a dancer, a neighbour a meditator and a singer of Beatles tunes. Seeing photos of her, remembering the performance she gave at her fundraiser last year, it was impossible for me to believe that this woman was dying. She seemed to grow stronger in spirit as her body grew weaker.

And her relationship with Spider was nothing short of inspiring in the depth of love they shared and the breadth of creative output they produced. My goodness, what a blessing it was to know her and be known by her, and what a gift it must have been to be loved deeply by her. I hardly ever saw them apart.

Spider's latest triumph was his collaboration with Robert Heinlein, who has long since departed. Hearing him talk about that work was incredible, as he seemed to bring his hero's presence into the room with him to sit at his shoulder and write. Having done that, I imagine it will be another step up to bring Jeanne's weightless presence down to inspire and comfort him.

And he could probably do with a pot of chicken soup as well.

Love to you Spider. You are in our hearts, which strive to be as big as yours, holding you in this time of deepest transition, transformation and grief.