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  • Keith Tribe

Something special and heartwarming

I will preface this months blog post with a note that this is going to be a longer post with a story of a truly heartwarming experience I had creating frames for a client. I felt this was an important story to tell not only because it's part of why I really do love what I do, but also because in the beginning of 2018, after such a crazy 2017 around the globe we need a good feel good story and this was such a fitting way to begin the year!

A few weeks before Christmas, a woman named Lisa (who has given me full permission to use her name and story) contacted me with a request for some very specific frame work for a very personally important project. As always these are the calls/emails/requests that I get giddy about because it usually leads to something really unique and fun. I had NO idea what I was in for...

After talking on the phone, I was getting the sense she wanted to tell me a story as much as she was also wanting to make sure I was the right fit for what she had in mind. She didn't tell me the story but I knew there was one under the surface. She said she had viewed my work and thought it would be right but that once we spoke she would know if I was truly the right person for the job. After talking she decided that indeed she wanted to have me make some frames for her. I received her stained glass art and set to work on the frames like I always do not knowing too much of the story of why these pieces were so important to her. When I went to deliver the framed art, the real story was laid out before me and 2 hours later I left with tears of happiness, sadness and a real perspective on how much my work meant to her.

Lisa had given me 4 stained glass works of art that were stunning and depicted a dragon fly with specific colouring on it. They all looked the same and she wanted to give them to her children.

You see, Lisa's husband had passed away over a short period of time. During the brief time they had at the end, they often would discuss what he would come back as in his afterlife. Neither of them were particularly serious about the conversations but it helped bring some laughter to their final days. He often would say he would come back as a dragonfly.

Unfortunately he spent his short remaining days in the hospital with his wife and children by his side. During this whole time he would lovingly joke that he would be back to see them as a dragonfly, and assured them it would be in his police uniform colours which were yellow and black.

To the family's grief and sadness he passed away while in the hospital. At the time while she was telling me this, we were both quite teary eyed and yet I could see a twinkle in her eye as I knew the story was only going to get better.

While the family stood on the hospital balcony minutes after his passing, a dragonfly... yes, a yellow and black dragonfly, flew up to them all and hovered around the family for what seemed like an hour. With emotions all running high they all exclaimed and were delighted at this little creature on such a sad day. They all tried not to make too much fuss over it but each family member has since said they knew it had to have been their father coming to say his goodbye to them.



Goodbye maybe, but not forever! Three more times this dragonfly would reappear in their lives on special occasions.

Three weeks after his passing, at the wedding of a nephew, Lisa was trying to keep a low profile as she wanted that day to be about young love rather than her husband. Sure enough, mid ceremony (inside the church), the groom stopped and turned to the audience of family and friends. On his head was perched a yellow and black dragonfly that seemed to have no issue sitting there at all. Her nephew exclaimed "Well I guess we can continue since the whole family is here! Let's have a wedding!".

The second time, her niece was having a hard time being away from family during a challenging time of her life. While standing on her balcony, a yellow and black dragonfly flew up, landed on her shoulder and buzzed around her for a full 30 minutes. She knew the story and thought this had to be her uncle.

A few days later, she called Lisa to tell her about this visitor she had, and while on the phone, who should appear while Lisa sat outside, but a yellow and black dragonfly! It flew around her and landed near her to stay for awhile.

Lisa knew how the story sounded. Like it might be too good to be true, but while she was telling it to me, I could see the love and memories of her husband in her eyes. She was sure that with winter coming the dragonfly would not be back and has not had any more encounters with it, which was why she commissioned a local artist to create the 4 identical stained glass pieces as a memory of her husband for their children.



Having not known this story when I was making them, I sat wiping tears from my eyes feeling honoured to be a part of this wonderful story in their lives. I do what I do because it's fun, and a challenge. It's easy to forget that I am part of a story, or a vision or in some very small way connected to each person I create something for. Lisa's story is the perfect example of how important art and connection can be to someone's life. I'd like to thank Lisa for allowing me to reproduce our conversation and her story for my blog as well as share the photos of her framed art. And should I ever see a yellow and black dragonfly near the shop, I'll be sure to wave and say hello!

Do you have a family keepsake, or something special you'd like framed? Send me an email and lets chat!

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- A century in the making -