Beyond the Canvas blog by Mireille Laroche, Ottawa-based artist.

The Last Time

They say that it is better to never let things unsaid.   That’s easy to say and hard to do. But when you just had the last conversation you will ever have with someone, in many cases without even knowing it, you realised the full meaning of the saying.

A year ago last Thursday, I talked to my sister-in-law and one of my best friends for the last time.   We FaceTime, which we never did, as texting was our main way of communicating when we were not together.  She had just learned that her chemo treatments were no longer working and that doctors wanted to put her on a new type of chemo to see if it would help and if not, then palliative treatment was the next step.

We  had a good conversation and I was trying, as anyone would do, to look at the positive side of the proposed approach and uplift her to the extent that I can.  We hung up with the view of doing it again given that Covid was unfortunately in full swing. But that was it.  I never talked to her again, either by FaceTime or text.  The illness took over and within 14 days of that call, she had lost her battle. 

I miss her terribly.  She was a force of nature, strong will and positive.  She was a good friend and a great mom.   I painted the painting entitled Caroline in August 2020, a few days before we had her funeral which had been delayed because of the pandemic.    The colours are vibrants and  in movement, it exudes light and happiness - like Caroline.  Her laugh would fill any room, clear, loud and contagious.  She made things happen (a bit of a tornado!) and was so driven to improve herself, fight this disease and provide the best to her children.   She is one of my main inspirations in life.

I still have her texts on my phone and I go read them from time to time.  One thing though that I regret is the lack of photos we have together.  We take more pictures of our pets (and paintings in my case) than of those we love, despite the fact that we have a camera in our hands 24/7.   If I had two things to leave you with is that, make sure to document your memories and tell those you love how important they are in your life.  Things we already know but tend to forget until you can’t do it anymore. 

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Sorry for your loss, Mireille. You are right we should take the time to appreciate people, including our loved ones. Create beautiful moments together because one day they will be sweet memories. Take care.


So true Mireille. What a lovely way to remember and honour your sister-in-law and best friend. xxoo

Lori Miller

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