All of our care receivers are special to us. When we learn of the passing of someone we have come to treasure, it is always a blow. I personally take immense solace in the gratitude I feel at being invited into their lives in the first place, as friendly face able to lend a helping hand.
One delightful thing about the work we do is having the opportunity to hear stories from people who have lived long, full lives. Some filled with courageous battles to overcome adversity and challenge; others spent in pursuit of dreams and passions that drove them to do great things. Every life story is unique and worth sharing.
Last week, we learned of the passing a of Betty Warner, a long-time friend of Faith in Action. Betty was an artist, in every sense. She played in the first violin section of the West Virginia (formerly Charleston) Symphony Orchestra for many years before resigning to make more time for travel and painting.
The following is from a statement issued prior to a 2002 exhibit at the Culture Center:
“An artist hailing from Charleston, Warner is best known for her realistic watercolor paintings; her works currently hang in institutional and private collections across the eastern United States and abroad. She has been drawing and painting since childhood, and though essentially self-taught, credits Agnes Huston, a former teacher at Charleston High School, and Gary Fagin of the Art Students League in New York with providing support and inspiration.
Warner’s works have appeared frequently in juried shows, group invitationals and solo exhibits. In addition to local and regional venues, her art has hung in the National Museum of American Art and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.; Burke Arts Council in N.C.; Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio; and International Artists in Watercolor in London, England, among others. She produced a cover painting for American Artist Magazine in 1995 and a book cover for Kanawha County Images.”
When we met Betty, she was losing her eyesight to macular degeneration, an especially cruel blow for an artist. She told me that she designed and painted her family’s Christmas cards for years and let me walk through her home to admire her work that graced her walls. A few weeks later, I received a packet in the mail with a handwritten note (“Somehow I can write this even though I can’t read it,” she penned) and a collection of post cards featuring her paintings.
I’m sharing a few of those here with you now, in celebration of life.
Of Betty’s life, yes, of course. But of life writ large, as well.
Every life is a history worth sharing.
What story are you writing with yours?