Tag Archives: Madonna and child

Remembering with Forget-Me-Nots

At present I absolutely want to paint a starry sky. It often seems to me that night is still more richly coloured than the day; having hues of the most intense violets, blues and greens. If only you pay attention to it you will see that certain stars are lemon-yellow, others pink or a green, blue and forget-me-not brilliance. And without my expatiating on this theme it is obvious that putting little white dots on the blue-black is not enough to paint a starry sky.
Vincent Van Gogh

forget me nots
forget me nots

This 19th century Dutch post-Impressionist painter was able to perceive the hues in the stars, even the brilliance of forget-me-not blue. I can’t see those colors in the night sky, yet I like greeting them hovering overhead when I come home at night and walk from my garage to my house.

I missed the stars Tuesday night when I arrived home in the rain after my first Compassionate Friends meeting. I finally had the energy and interest to try out this group of people who meet to work through the grief of losing a child. Display posters held beloved photographs of lost children, from infants to middle-aged adults.

How fortunate we are today to have the ability to look at color images of our children. Only a century ago I would not have had photos showing my son Tristan’s eye color–camouflage green–even if I would have been lucky enough to have a single picture of him.

There is a legend encapsulating the value of remembering someone’s gaze through eye color. In this story, the Christ Child is sitting on Mother Mary’s lap. He wants others to experience her heavenly gaze, so he touches her eyes, then waves his hand over the ground. Blue forget-me-nots appear.

Blue forget-me-nots have sprung up in my garden this spring, right next to Tristan’s developing garden. Through these flowers Mary gazes upon me and upon Tristan’s garden. And Tristan himself has witnessed her loving gaze on the other side. Now he is in her care. She is the best of mothers.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

A child is never forgotten. The grief might shift and there might eventually be acceptance, but we all will always remember our children. Perhaps some forget-me-nots would be a nice addition to a garden in memory of how cherished they are to us.

Source:

http://www.azquotes.com/quote/343713

Gilded Apples for Easter: Rebirth and Redemption

“Bright Iduna, Maid immortal! / Standing at Valhalla’s portal, / In her casket has rich store / Of rare apples, gilded o’er; / Those rare apples, not of Earth, / Ageing Æsir give fresh birth.”

Valhalla, by Julia Clinton Jones, 1878

The golden apples of the goddess Iduna gave youth and beauty to the other Norse gods and goddesses. Their magical properties entranced the storm giant Thiassi, who found a way to kidnap Iduna and her fruit. After Iduna was rescued, Thiassi, in the form of an eagle, was burned. His eyes were thrown into the heavens to become constellations, continuing his life like a phoenix rising from flames.

Madonna and Christ Child holding apple
Madonna and Christ Child holding an apple

Many ancient cultures valued fruit, some enough to bury apples with the deceased. The petrified remains of sliced apples have been found in tombs as much as 7,000 years old.

Apples became a symbol of youth and rebirth, perhaps in part because they keep so well through the winter.

In Christian lore, the apple represents redemption and sometimes is depicted in paintings of the Madonna and Christ Child, such as in “Madonna of the Apple” by 17th century artist Francisco de Zurbarán.

What could be more fitting than planting apple trees on Resurrection Sunday in memory of my son Tristan? One of the two trees is a type called “Gold Rush,” reminding me of Iduna’s gilded fruit that imparts new life. The trees are perfect gifts from my brother Jim and his wife Janet.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

A basket of golden apples and a note about their significance would make a lovely gift to someone who has lost a loved one.

Sources:

Valhalla: The Myths of Norseland; A Saga, in Twelve Parts, by Julia Clinton Jones, 1878, retrieved March 29, 2016 from http://www.odins-gift.com/pclass/valhalla_jones/valhalla_jones_4.htm

http://levigilant.com/Bulfinch_Mythology/bulfinch.englishatheist.org/b/guerber/Chapter7.htm

http://ireland-calling.com/celtic-mythology-apple-tree/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_(symbolism)

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