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"It is quite magical to see the rose and know that Patrick is part of his beloved nature, as well as a beautiful piece of art. It is a blessing beyond words, transcending the boundaries of here and now."

My Story

My husband, Patrick, swept me off my feet, and then whisked me away to California from New York, and we spent 18 years, in his words “playing house.” Both creatives, our gifts and talents meshed as he loved and supported my music, and I loved and supported his art. His Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis actually fueled his creativity, and he filled our home with his unique three-dimensional artwork.

His death was sudden and traumatic after a middle of the night fall down the stairs. It left me alone and numb in my grief, as I slowly discovered all of the ways that the Parkinson’s Disease ravaged our life together. The pandemic was actually a blessing for me, giving me permission to stay inside, close the door, and begin the long, arduous task of rebuilding my life.

Having spent time as a hospice volunteer and as an interfaith minister, I did create some ceremonies to honor Patrick. I had a gathering for the one-year Thanoversary, inviting friends, family, and neighbors to share their memories of this most unusual man. I also honored his wishes spreading most of his ashes around the same oak tree where his mom’s ashes were scattered many years before. I then tossed wildflower seeds around the tree commemorating the new life that would spring forth.

When I read about Ian‘s ash art on his website, I knew that I had finally found a way to memorialize Patrick in the most perfect form, artist to artist.

I trusted Ian to handle Patrick’s ashes with reverence, honoring all they represented. Because of his work as a hospice nurse, I knew he understood the sacredness of dying and the importance for the living to continue on their journey as well.

Patrick loved flowers. In fact, they were often the subject of his art. When it was time to meet Ian and Alicia, he suggested we meet at the Rose Garden in Temecula. That was a perfect idea. As we sat and talked, Ian said that he would love to create a rose, using some of Patrick’s ashes. That sounded absolutely ideal, though I did make sure that he understood that any rose representing Patrick needed to also include some thorns. While he was sweet and beautiful, he also had a side that could be considered prickly. Without needing me to explain further Ian understood.

Appropriately, Ian and Alicia met me at the Rose Garden once again for the presentation of my Patrick rose. I was overwhelmed with its beauty and meaning, thorns and all.

It is quite magical to see the rose and know that Patrick is part of his beloved nature, as well as a beautiful piece of art. It is a blessing beyond words, transcending the boundaries of here and now.

I have come to understand that grief is the one thing all humans share. It is in our ability to let the raw edges of it touch us that we deepen and heal. And it is in that state of openness and vulnerability that we are able to support others on their own journey of grief.

The process of grief transforms every cell in the body. The pain is not as acute over time, and strength that had previously been unrecognized or underused has finally come to the surface.

I can imagine Patrick appreciating the incredible artistry and talent that is so apparent in the piece, and I can also imagine him trying to figure out how he might make it 3-dimensional. And then I truly take it in myself and feel the spirit of both the artist and the subject together coming through.

Honoring your loved one, memorializing them in this way, gives meaning to their ashes far beyond keeping them in an urn, in a box, or in a shopping bag deep in the closet. It is a beautiful reminder that our loved one is with us always, just in a different form.

I am so grateful to Ian for this way of keeping our love alive. 

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