Thursday, May 14, 2015

Farewell, Margaret

I learned today that a dear friend of ours, Margaret, passed away yesterday.  Her death was a shock as she was still fairly young (in her 50's, which is still young these days), vibrant, active, and enjoying life.  As it turned out, she died from choking on some food.  Something that could happen to anybody, including you or me, at any time.  Margaret was alone at home and had nobody to help her out.

I met Margaret through art.  She worked in a style that resembled German Expressionism, only with a gentle, warmly humorous, and loving manner.  It was far more sophisticated than most people understood.  Margaret loved the people, places, and things in her life and showed it in her artworks.  We have one of her paintings of a horse.  This wasn't just any old horse, it was a particular one that had a funny way of looking at her that made her laugh.  So she painted a portrait of it.  In the same way, she painted the people in her rural area - country people that could easily have been the butt of jokes from somebody else, but whom Margaret treated with warmth and appreciation.

Horse
Margaret Katz Nodine
Oil on panel, 16"x20"

More importantly, Margaret was a wonderful person to be around.  She was outgoing and genuinely interested in other people.  She had a large circle of friends and delighted in them.  I never heard her say a bad word about anybody.  Anybody.  She took great pleasure in digging in her garden, despite allergies that should have knocked her down, and she absolutely loved her dogs.  Anytime we saw her, she was all laughter and stories and enjoying whatever she was doing.

And now she's gone.  Just like that.  One bite that went down the wrong way and a vibrant life is cut too short.  Unexpected deaths have a way of making you re-examine your priorities, don't they?  They make me realize that life is a gift and we should do our best to enjoy what we have.  It's so easy to get caught up in life's minutiae, or in the things that "have" to get done, and forget about the daily joys that we're presented with.  So this afternoon, I sat outside, watching the light shimmering off our birch tree, listening to the birds chirping their songs to each other, scratching my dog's ears, and feeling the light breeze flowing through the valley.  Appreciate what you have.

If Margaret was able to comment on her own death, I bet that she'd have something to say that was ironic, funny, and absolutely on-point.  Something like, "Some people get to go out like heroes, saving somebody from a burning house or whatever.  Me, I get done in by a sandwich.  Oy!"  And she'd have a huge laugh over it.

We miss you already, Margaret.  Sleep well, my friend.

PS - A late correction.  We learned later that Margaret died of a massive heart attack, not from choking as was originally thought.  Either way, we have lost a wonderful woman.

3 comments:

Meg said...

Turns out the choking was misinformation. Possibly black humor? She had a massive heart attack! Not that it matters. Too soon, too young. I miss her already.

chickory said...

thank you. I am a friend of Margarets and I am deeply saddened by her death. your post is so on point - especially the last sentence punctuated with OY. I have a painting of hers - of an anonymous old woman with Margarets classic gnarled hands and observations that -as you said - captured things as they are without pretty editorializing but honesty tempered with compassion and love for humanity. i feel so much regret for never making it to greasy cove to see her garden. I hope that a show of her works can be organized - i guess it can be now called a retrospective. so very sad.

Wendy H. Outland said...

So sorry to hear of Meg's passing. She was a good soul, outspoken, honest and a friend to many. She will be missed.