Friday, February 13, 2015

Appreciate the Angels in Your Life

"Debbie's Day" Seascape Oil Painting by Figurative
Arizona Artist Mary Opat
24" x 18" x 1.5" Oil on Gallery Wrapped Canvas
This painting was done from a photo I took on my first trip to
Huntington Beach.  My good friend Debbie and I took a three
day road trip.  Debbie and Dale had moved from California to Michigan years
before, due a job transfer.  Debbie disliked the cold winters, so Dale bought her
a house in Arizona.  Lucky for me, it was just a few houses down the street.  Debbie
wanted to revisit the place they once lived and hoped to retire to, so off we
went to California.
Debbie and I had the comfortable kind of friendship I love.  No calling ahead needed,
just pop over for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  We started a dinner night with
a few of the neighbors, taking turns one night each week to cook dinner for the
group.  I envied her relationship with Dale.  They had been best friends since
they were eight years old.  Dale was happy to have Debbie spend the winters in
the sun while he stayed in Michigan to work.  She was a life saver for me.  I
had just suffered a terrible loss a month before I moved to a new state.  Debbie was one
of the first real friends I made in my new home.
Debbie lost her life to cancer just months after we said goodbye that first season.
She and Dale were on a trip to Italy when she noticed some problems   By the
time they got back to the states and got a diagnosis, her brain cancer was
inoperable and she only lasted a couple of months.  She passed in her home in
Michigan among her family and friends.
I always thought of her as an angel while she was alive and I definitely
think of her as an angel now.  I never saw her without a smile.  I painted
the scene from the beach that day and called it  "Debbie's Day" in her memory. 
Appreciate the Angels in your life.

Myself and Debbie on her last day in Arizona

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