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.
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.”