There Is No Other Life


Ever since my husband passed away I have kept his email account. And once a day in the early morning after checking my emails I check his account. I know that after six months this may seem ridiculous to many. But being the artist that he was I don’t want to sever his connection with the art world. And today morning he had an email from Mr. Pierre Wilson, Directeur-conservateur, Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec. And as always each time I read his name among my husband’s emails my heart skips a beat.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote:

“Dreams are often the regrets of tomorrow, and all that we hope for may not always be ours to have.”

When my loved one died I was left with many regrets. Regrets about all those things I wish I had done or said. Regrets about the things we didn’t do or didn’t have the chance to do. But mainly my biggest regret was about how he didn’t get the chance to exhibit his work in this part of the world. How he painted and worked nonstop to perfect his art so that he would be ready to show it to the rest of the world.

Art-2

He had dreams as a person, and as an artist. But life for him was shorter than he hoped, than we hoped. To quote Henry David Thoreau:

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” 

After he passed away there was an article about him in Armenian newspapers in different parts of the world. Friends and acquaintances called me at the time. But what made me sad was the fact that some said, “We didn’t know he was this great.” See he had always given exhibitions in Lebanon before, and even when we were living in Dubai, his paintings were always displayed in different exhibition halls in Beirut. While living in Montreal two years ago he was invited to exhibit his paintings in New York. His first reaction was to wait after he became a citizen since it would have been easier to cross the border as a Canadian citizen than as a landed immigrant.

He was this meticulously perfect gentleman. He thought of everything. Everything had to be in perfect order for him, everything concerning documents and legal papers. And that’s why he waited until after he became a Canadian citizen. But by then life, destiny, fate, God, or whatever name people give it, had played its dirty trick on him. And instead of concentrating on his art he focused on his illness and fought it with such vigor, always believing and thinking that once it was over he would have all the time in the world to dedicate to his art.

And now that I keep going back over the things he had said to me, about his biggest dream left unfulfilled, about his wish that was not granted, I can’t help but be paralyzed with fear. How can I among the many tasks and responsibilities that were imposed on me by his untimely death make his legacy as an artist come true? I know I cannot wait any longer, I must not wait anymore. To quote Henry David Thoreau:

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” 

ChK

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3 Responses to There Is No Other Life

  1. clisawork says:

    Hope
    Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul,
    And sings the tune–without the words,
    And never stops at all,

    And sweetest in the gale is heard;
    And sore must be the storm
    That could abash the little bird
    That kept so many warm.

    I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
    And on the strangest sea;
    Yet, never, in extremity,
    It asked a crumb of me.

    Emily Dickinson

  2. As I read your post, I thought back to the memorial service I attended yesterday for a man who was my son’s art teacher and the cousin of a close friend. After listening to the man’s brother list off all his accomplishments and how he had finally found the love of his life nine years ago, I thought about my own life and how much less I had done – and I have already lived a year longer than him. His cousin revealed that, although they were first cousins and fairly close, he did not know all the things his cousin had done with his life – a life that, like your husband’s, ended too soon – and now he regrets missing out on those moments with him. I guess this only goes to show that we never know what we’ve got until it’s gone and that all the planning in the world does not stop time from changing those plans despite our best intentions.

    I hope your husband’s art work can finally find a home in a gallery, so others will know his brilliance like you did. :)

  3. I know many artists die without being recognized for their greatness. Sadly, this is true. It is not a simple thing to be famous in your own time for your own achievements. Nonetheless, an artist’s greatest treasure is the life they live each day. For the people these unique people share their lives and their lives journey with, they have been given unmeasured treasures which do not vanish with age. There is absolutely nothing a great artist does in their lifetime which is wasted. “Ah I knew him,” people say, but they rarely add what is always the truth. “What an inspiration he was and is to me today!”

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