HollyDeanArtist: Often Medieval in Mood: An Indomitable Spirit

Friday, June 25, 2010

An Indomitable Spirit

Gone - flitted away,
Taken the stars from the night and the sun
From the day!
Gone, and a cloud in my heart.
~Alfred Tennyson

It's time to say farewell to a talented, creative, compassionate woman. A woman who gave me friendship, encouragement and, as it turned out, my wonderful Larry. Wendy Buckner died from cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital after swimming a race in the Cayman Islands. She was in her 51st year. My heart goes out to her family and friends - she will be dearly missed.

I met Wendy at the Calligraphy Society of Ottawa. I was a new member, having recently moved to the area. Wendy took me under her wing, involving me in lots of creative activities and sharing her love of calligraphy and design with me. All this while recovering from a recent hit-and-run accident. It was clear that she wasn't going to let THAT stop her! (She often spoke in capital letters with exclamation marks - it was endearing.)

"A letter of letters" from Wendy

Her wicked sense of humour and stubborn will to overcome all obstacles won out over the pain. Pain that never really went away, although I believe it became less after a successful back operation. Those first years that I knew Wendy she was a creative force in many areas - calligraphy, graphic design, bookbinding, papermaking, gilding, jewellery, photography, you name it. And she wasn't just good at these endeavours, she excelled at them. In more recent years Wendy rediscovered her love of competitive swimming. She built up her strength and became an avid participant, competing and coaching.

Wendy's wonderful world

 Wendy traveled the world to participate in swim races, even taking the time to meet up with my brother and his partner while she was in Oz. People meant so much to her - she always made that extra effort to connect. And she meant so much to others. This was brought home by the number of grieving responses on Facebook alone. Her social network knew no bounds with the Internet at her fingertips. Wendy could see extraordinary beauty in the ordinary and loved to share it with the world. And although we hadn't seen much of each other in person lately, she was always leaving comments and encouraging words on my Facebook and blog entries. Always keeping the connection and letting me know she cared.

Her love of animals was to be outdone only by their love for her. She took in many strays, looked after friend's pets and would never allow an animal to suffer. She was their champion.

The Boarder, a.k.a. Onyx

Wendy's courage and tenacity in the face of adversity come to mind when I feel that my world is overwhelming. Knowing what she overcame daily makes me realize that I will find the strength when I need it.

Thank you for the many meaningful ways you touched my life Wendy. I think Larry put it so beautifully that I'll join in his refrain... "Swim now in Elysian seas."

The Cayman Islands 2009


  1. Holly, I'm reminded of a quote I heard (misheard) recently .... people will not remember the things you say, or the things you do but they will remember how you made them feel. This woman obviously made you feel good/worthy. That's a great gift. A great gift indeed.

  2. I hadn't thought of it in that way and it rings true. Thanks Chris, you always have such beautiful sentiments to share... you make me feel good (:

  3. This is a really lovely post. I was looking at the "letter of letters" bit on the collage and thinking that the pun on "ruling" was very characteristic!



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