And then last week I got this email from Catherine with the update:
All healed up, and home from a week down in New England - a memorial for my grandmother at the Bridgewater Town House in New Hampshire (a wild looking building) and the internment of her ashes on the land she saved for our family - on top of a mountain - land that's been passed down for at least five or six generations. That's where I'm standing in these photos. It felt appropriate.
We gathered at our family cabin there en masse for a time and celebrated her in a lot of little ways - the women sitting in a circle and dividing her piles of costume jewelery and scarves and dresses among us, and tracing the family lineage as far as we could.My family loved the piece and continue to get compliments on it wherever I go - and tell the story of the whole thing proudly. I get comments in the weirdest of situations - most oddly from a security guard at a casino while I threw down roulette chips.
Most importantly - I love it, and it feels almost as if it's always been a part of me.
I've set up an annual donation to the Canadian Opera Company in her memory. Her nephews opened the memorial service with a duet on trumpet and stand-up bass - a sweetly arranged aria she particularly loved.
Thank you again for contributing such a big part to the end of this story.
Let me say that when I started Neither Snow I couldn't have dreamed up that I would one day receive a photo of a beautiful woman trying on the clothes of her beloved grandmother in the New England summer air, with a relative helping her button the blouse, and with my calligraphy forever etched on this delicate arm. There are inumerable moments in my work when words fail me, and this is one of those times.
With a full heart and a check in the mail to the Canadian Opera Company in honor of Mary Heron, I am unspeakably honored to have been a part of this collaboration and grateful to Catherine Heron, her remarkable family, Tyson Ward at Passage Tattoo in Toronto, and photographers Andrew Thuss and Mawgan Lewis.
As a reminder: i give away an expression of gratitude every month. Please contact me with a candidate + story if you would like to be considered.