When we die

When I die, what will they find on my bookshelves, in my cupboards, in my drawers, in my filing cabinet, on my computer? Will all be shoved into black bags to be dumped or will someone actually go to some trouble, to get to really know me. Just in case, I’m not going to go beserk with a de-cluttering project. Going through my old stuff, I’m actually getting to know the real me better.

Once I stood by, while a very dear friend had to clear out her husband’s workshop/studio. Some of it was easier to let go of, other stuff more difficult but to determine the fate of some seemingly insignificant possessions became the hardest decisions.

Looking forlorn and holding folders, turning over the pages and wondering into which take-away box they should be placed, I realised that she was holding something quite precious – colour swatches but none like I had ever seen before. Fighting back tears she told me that one winter in the mid 70’s her husband-to-be had painstakingly painted the hundreds and hundreds of tiny individual tiles as a labour of love, each one was numbered in his own handwriting. He was fascinated by colour and compositions of hues and saturation and could talk about the subtle variations for hours. It amazed him that others could not see these variations to which he was almost instinctively attuned.

I did not know this side of him at all. I had not known that in addition to his many accomplishments, one being an engineer working on the supersonic Concorde, he had applied his incredible mind to the research of colour as well and by nature, he never did anything by halves.

The swatches found a new home – all the way back to Britain where he was born. I felt privileged to have seen the colour charts that had been so delicately composed with utmost precision and I cherish that moment. What may seem like clutter to others may one day have significant meaning to someone.

On the 10th March 2018, I received a gift from my dear friend. We were at a function and I did not open it immediately but I did notice that it was delicately wrapped and as light as a feather. Much later in the still of the night, I opened my gift. There were two pages, each separately wrapped. Swatches. I closed the wrapping as not to let my tears spill onto the templates, 49 tiny tiles on each, of 20 W.Green Bu and 6 Scarlet Bu.

I felt blessed that my friend deemed me worthy of such a precious memento. Her husband had written in his memoirs that he realised “we are not the free thinking souls we wish to be”

..but there are moments when we are offered the chance of being the free thinking souls we wish to be..and just maybe our creations during those moments, will be cherished by someone when we die.


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