My dearest Family and Friends,

Greetings and blessings.
Please join me in singing HAPPY 12th BIRTHDAY to my granddaughter Rachel, Artist par excellence. We’ve been painting together on line, for just over a year, and this is our story. Together we are beating the COVID-19 BLUES via Art.

Well, my dearest Family and Friends,

Greetings and blessings from 11 Chestnut Street, I call Little Goa. Welcome. I am delighted to give you a report of my year’s activities since Mike’s sudden departure to heaven in January 2020, and the Dawn of the pandemic a couple of months later... a double whammy for me.

Here we are a year after the pandemic began, made bearable for me only because of the wonderful support of Family and Friends whom I wish to thank with all my heart. I could not have done it without all of you and God’s help as well. I am most grateful. So, Muchas gracias , Asante sana, Dieu borem korun, Merci beaucoup.

My way of dealing with grief and sadness is through writing. Thus I have been writing and writing, because I cannot visit you, and flying solo is oh so trying. Consequently, I write, to converse with you and to tell you what is in my heart. This note is more than just a writing avenue, as you will see. For me it is a story of conquering the fallout of Covid-19 ‘s lockdowns, and also of coping with my unbearable sadness and isolation brought about by grief,  via ART, in more ways than one can imagine.

My journey began with the departure of Mike to Heaven on 9th January 2020. I was devastated. However, my children and their families, made the passage of time, bearable and not so lonely. Also, my siblings, including Mike’s siblings, and you my dearest Friends, made sure that my  sanity through this sadness would not be compromised , somewhat. You all went out of your way to stay in contact with me via phone calls, e-mails, Zoom, Messenger, FaceTime, and Skype since that fateful day. Thank you my dearest Family and Friends, for your love and moral support. You don’t know just how much you have helped me. Thanks a million from my heart.

Then came COVID-19 in March of 2020 which further increased the pain of separation and isolation. I have not seen my Family and most of my Friends since January 2020, but for a few ANGELS who are looking after me in various ways, right here in my neighbourhood . I can never thank them enough for their many kindnesses and generosity. Their names are written on my heart forever.

I remember writing to you a year ago, inviting you to take up knitting during the lockdown. You must have thought that I had become quite balmy, though some of you did ask for knitting advice. I was delighted.

And then, something wonderful happened. Aleixo and Debra asked me if I would like to paint with their daughter Rachel, a budding and talented artist even at the age of eleven. As art teacher , and avid artist,  I felt most honoured and blest. Rachel and I painted together via FaceTime, every Sunday afternoon. We’ve covered many styles and techniques, and I am so proud of my little Angel granddaughter, who walks in my shoes from the time I was her age. She is such a delightful child, and is a quick learner. She was born to be an artist. This array of some fifty or more paintings we’ve done together is a sampling of our art adventures together. Her enthusiasm and her ‘joie de vivre‘ have not only captured my heart, but helped me recover from my heartache and feeling of desolation, through our weekly FaceTime adventures in the realms of watercolour painting and artistic endeavours. What more can I say, but Thank You my dearest Rachel’. And, if you like what you see here, in the enclosed photograph, I assure you that Rachel’s paintings are ten times better than mine. Her interpretations are those of a true artist. HAPPY 12TH BIRTHDAY, RACHEL. LOVE YOU.
For Mother’d Day I received a wonderful gift.... two of Rachel’s paintings, superimposed of leather and framed. They are precious.

From the caves of Altamira to Mondrian’s modern art.

A spin-off from this venture was having Anna Marie and David’s daughter Sophia join the class to paint a beautiful sunset scene with me, and also the rest of the families join in for a group painting effort at Christmas, and even some adventures with capturing our pets in the mix by all the girls in the family, including Mums and Dads. All together it’s been a wonderful experience. Art is such a binding force.

A special Christmas endeavour....2020

And, for the knitters, I did start a knitting project myself, at the time I invited you to take up knitting, despite my right shoulder problem that doesn’t allow me to knit for more than fifteen minutes per day. The project was to start with two stitches and keep on adding a new stitch at the start of every row, and then decreasing at the start of every row, to end with two stitches..... the result? ...a beautiful blanket/throw. I have a few more inches to knit on my project , and when it’s completed, I’m going to give the blanket to one of you. I must here congratulate my granddaughter Mikaela for her beautiful knitted socks, blankets and capes. She’s been my best student in knitting.

This is the unfinished blanket in the making.

I also want to take this opportunity of thanking my sister Annabel who from January of 2020 called me everyday , twice a day for the first six months, and still does, via FaceTime/Skype, to cheer me up and heal my broken heart.  She and her husband Alec could not celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary last year due to COVID-19.....we’ll have to fix that somehow. Thank you Annabel. I am truly grateful for your tlc. ...Ben, Jerome and Rhoda are not far behind....you are all wonderful siblings.

Thus a year has gone by, and Spring is not too far away, and Hope, via vaccines, is here to brighten our futures once more. Soon, for sure. It’ll be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Some of us have already had our first shots. Alleluia.

Sincerest thanks my dearest Family and Friends. God bless.
Birthday greetings to everybody. Stay safe.
All my love and blessings.