A metaphoric reflection of our beloved friend

Valerie Houghton

Her spirit has emerged like a butterfly from a cocoon. She is soaring like the wind, now, free of pain. Her creative spirit showers us with the petals of millions of fragrant blossoms to remind us that she is here. She is sitting on the branch of a beautiful old gum tree wearing an elegant white gown, whose layers are cut on the diagonal. The layers of the dress swirl with the wind. Her elegant stature provides a graceful frame. She found her dress, a designer original, on a sale table, reduced from $12,500 to $8.00.

Her head is cocked, and her eyes are once again, mischievous. Her inner child so near the surface, always ready to emerge. On other occasions, we have seen this same child pout and be disapproving when one of us has displeased her, or has not anticipated her wishes. Today, her inner child is ready to play.

She glances at her bare feet, and takes in her manicure, then her pedicure. She is enjoying the warmth of the sun. The depth and sense of colour that she has always enjoyed is more distinctive and vivid. The light is more translucent and reveals the intrinsic beauty of all that it illuminates. She delights in all of the small interesting details of what is observed.

She has emerged from her perch on the branch of the tree. As she walks, she picks up interesting bits of flora and fauna for her new craft project. She encounters a beautiful country meadow, like the ones she has described many times from her early years in England.

In the meadow, there is medieval festival. She is drawn to the minstrels, jugglers and performers. She is delighted by the ancient sword dance. In the centre of the meadow there is a medieval banquet inside a tent hung with beautiful tapestries. She inscribes the place cards at each table setting with beautiful calligraphy. The host thanks Valerie for her work and for the beautiful clothing and accessories that she had made for the Medieval Society. She joins the festivities. When she tires, she exits gracefully and continues on her journey.

We find her sitting beside a reflecting pool, immersed in quiet contemplation. Once again, she is enjoying her respite in the warm sunlight. After a brief interlude, she continues walking through the velvety grass. A warm breeze catches her spirit. She is so delighted by the moment that she begins to dance, embraced by the gentle wind. The music is eclectic and culturally diverse, a bit of African. Aboriginal, Reggae and contemporary dance. Her beautiful dress swirls and exudes her joy. Others, who cannot resist her spirit of fun, join her. A party has begun. The party lasts until dawn. When all the guests have gone, she retreats to sleep and renew her spirit. As she settles, she does a crossword puzzle, meditates, reads a bit of her latest book, and drifts off the sleep.

She has presented objects and artwork to friends and family. These embodiments of her spirit will always be cherished. Her place in my heart will always be defined by her grace and dignity. Her creativity and wit illuminated many dull lives. Her mischievous spirit pulled all of us along on her mission. Her sense of aesthetics defined her elegant, but eclectic style. Her art was influenced by her diverse multicultural experiences. The music that she enjoyed was attuned to her transcendence of generational boundaries and multicultural sensibility. She experienced music and other forms of artistic expression in her soul. She interpreted and personified the intensity of all the colours, form, and texture that she perceived.

We offer a blessing of love and healing for her son, her parents, other family members, and for each of us who mourn the loss of her energy and companionship. We thank Valerie for sharing her unique qualities with all of us. We appreciate the gifts she has bestowed upon us. She leaves surrounded by our love. She will be remembered as a flame that burns brightly, illuminating our memory of her presence.

By Patti Cohen