Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Weekend Away

I was gone last weekend.  I was gone without my kids or my husband last weekend.  I got to eat meals prepared by someone else and cleaned up by someone else.  I got to sleep all night long without letting the cat in and out (and back in again).  I got to enjoy the company of many beloved women friends and few great men as well. I got to feel cool breezes from a lazy river on a perfect 80* day.  All this was free.  All that was asked of me was my time and a little hard, and not so hard labor. 

It was to honor a dear departed friend, Melissa.  She died 2 1/2 years ago from melanoma.   She fought hard for 2 years and lost.  She left behind a wonderful husband and a 9 year old daughter.  It was crushing to say the least.  It was my first trip into the 'valley of the shadow' with someone my own age.  Melissa was the textbook definition of gentlewoman.  She was someone that when you first meet her, you think, "I want to be friends with her."  She was truly a woman of contrasts.  She was trained in classical piano.  She was the director of many musical and dance companies.  She wrote music.  She loved Lyle Lovett.  She loved Nascar.  She loved God.  She loved margaritas.  Not necessarily in that order. ;)  She also loved labyrinths.  

One of her wishes before her death was to see the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral near Paris. She got that wish.  She also had another wish----to share the labyrinth experience with our church campground in Bandera, Texas.  Her wish was granted last weekend and we were all there to paint it. We have gotten past the deep mourning of our much loved friend.  We were able to laugh and share stories of her life.

I've included a link that I hope will work (fingers crossed) that you can read if you'd like to know more about labyrinths.  I know almost nothing about them.  

Two dear women, J. and D. that I shared a ride, a delightful picnic, a cabin, and many laughs with.  
Here we were encouraged to write on the labyrinth, something that reminded us of Melissa.  It was painted over, but will remain as a permanent part of the site.  

The painting begins.  The slab was poured, covered in a base paint, and the lines were drawn before we all got there.  It took a careful hand to paint properly, as the widest part between lines was only 3 inches in most places.  

The first evening following the painting, some women try walking the labyrinth.  Off to the right, you can see a project that was taking place at the same time.  A small sitting area with 3 benches and a brick patio area.  Getting that area flat and the bricks laid evenly posed a problem or two, but it was tackled by hardy souls.  I wasn't one of them. :)

Melissa's husband, Joe.  This picture was taken on Sunday.  Here, he had filled in the hole in the center.  The hole had been drilled so the lines could be drawn perfectly from the center out. Finally, he painted over the fill.  It's finished!

The finished product.  Melissa would have been thrilled.  While we missed her in body, her spirit was there with us.  


  1. Tissue please. What a beautiful tribute.

  2. Wow. That totally gave me goosebumps.

    What a perfect tribute to a wonderful person.

    *Tissue here as well please*

  3. You said:
    "Melissa's husband, Joe. This picture was taken on Sunday. Here, he had filled in the hole in the center."

    And the hole left in his life and his daughter's life, by Melissa's passing, will last forever.

    How terribly sad for such a young woman to have to leave this world so soon. This just breaks my heart.
    My own mother died when I was 8 yrs old, so my heart is just breaking for Melissa's 9 yr old daughter.

    Yes, Melissa was there with all of you in spirit. She gave you and her friends and family a very beautiful weekend to share and create something magical and lasting.

  4. That was such a great post. The labyrinth looks amazing!