Many of Marve’s timely words came at the low points. Times when the challenges seemed overwhelming and I wondered, Why don’t I quit painting? But during these rock bottom moments, Marve, my elderly art friend, seemed to know just the right thing to say.
His kindness meant so much to me and to so many other artists as well. While honoring Marve’s memory at his funeral, an elderly woman, I’ll call Loretta, asked me for a painting. She said that she wanted a waterscape painting just like the one I painted for Marve. So I agreed to paint one.
Although Loretta’s memory was failing her, she phoned to say, “Every time I looked at Marve’s painting, I felt like I needed a towel. I thought I was going to get wet. The painting seemed so real.”
Upon completing the waterscape a couple of weeks later, I went to present the painting, shown above, to Loretta at her retirement community. I found her in the crowded dining room. Our smiles connected among a sea of gray heads.
Loretta smiled again and kissed me. Then she held up the work twice for all the other residents to enjoy. Their verbal applause made her smile grow even bigger. She carefully ran her fingers over the painting, with braille-like tenderness, as she whispered, “Look at the colors.”
As I returned to the car, I smiled too. And my smile grew bigger as I thought of Marve’s encouragement, Loretta’s joy-filled response, and an opportunity for culture care, that is, a moment to give away healing love. Perhaps Marve, in his new heavenly home, smiled too.