Paying it Forward with Flowers
Sending flowers as an act of sympathy is a lovely tradition, the beautiful blooms bringing cheer to the grieving recipient. But when Mill Valley artist Marlene Caldes lost several family members and friends to terminal illness and cancer in a relatively short time, she wasn’t content to let the arrangements just wither and die — she was inspired to turn them into something more lasting.
The colorful result was Temple Flowers, Gaia’s Grace, a series of highly-detailed and often surreal photographs on canvas,
“Connecting to Mother Nature eases our way and is an avenue to inner solace… These rich, colorful blooms keep me remembering that, in spite of all these things, the world is still a beautiful place. I have a photographic love affair with silky petals, lavish colors and secret mysteries of earth’s graceful flowers… They lifted my spirits and dazzled me with their hidden places.
Since many of her loved ones had received hospice care in their final days, Marlene took her inspiration a step further by donating all proceeds from the artwork to support Hospice by the Bay’s support programs, “Hospice helped, and then helped again with ongoing bereavement counseling that put my friends, me and my family back on our feet. My desire to pay that inimitable assistance forward inspired me to create this exhibit.”
Temple Flowers, Gaia’s Grace may be viewed until the end of the year at Hospice by the Bay, 17 E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Larkspur, M–F, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The entire collection, which is dedicated to Marlene’s lost “spirit buddies,” may also be viewed and purchased on her website, http://marlenecaldes.com/hospice/ .
We never know how we will react to the passing of someone close to us, until the time comes. But, as for Marlene Caldes, she found a way to transform her grief into something beautiful.