Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tonight we stood together for Lisa Marie....

Ken and I went to the memorial service for  my dear friend Lisa Marie Kelleher at the Bryn Du Mansion.  The room was overflowing with community members, friends and family from around the United States. Tom Carroll played an opening interlude for the community gathered and one piece was one he had written himself.  The school counselor opened the service and invited the community to stand around John and her son Myles in the months to come.  A young girl named True...incredible name for a strong young woman...sang a song from "Wicked" ...So Good.  Her voice was strong and cracked a bit but...the room was spellbound by this young friend who loved Lisa Marie.  Four of us spoke and told wonderful stories about Lisa Marie and how she had impacted the community here in Licking County.  I spoke last...I was trembling...like the three people before me...but if True could sing out her love...I could deliver a celebratory tribute to honor Lisa Marie.

Here is most of what I spoke out loud in a very proud voice...celebrating my Kentucky friendship with this wonderful New York gal....

"Love has no desire but to fulfill itself.
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To wake at dawn with a willing heart and give thanks for another day of loving.    Kahil Gibran

On January 11, 2012  Lisa and I began a journey.....I had known her for over 6 years when Myles was taking at classes at The Works with Ms. Leah.
Her joyful spirit always made me laugh...often I would wet my pants from laughter...
She had a determination to give her family her total being...
She offered Myles every opportunity to experience the ARTS...
She loved it when I shared  my belief that "our marks are sacred"
and these marks will live on for all who know us and carry us in our hearts.

She was ready...to take the risk ...to live her vision  through her photography...
creating an authentic life ...as a journey ...questioning our life's purpose...
Now Lisa Marie.... I told her honestly....it almost never lies behind the doors marked ....
---Be Practical   ---Get Real--- Or Nothing to Fear....
she was ready willing and able.

She rushed in with her camera...I could see and feel the white light radiating from her....
She made the decision to Create Mad Woman Photography
and we were all offered her vision to have practice settings...
I was one of the lucky ones... she captured me ...in my messy studio...an artist working ....on a small commission...to pay the rent... We would always joke about the realities .
I loved these photos....they really captured the real me...a woman artist working...living the dream...ART Saves Lives!

"You already own what you think you need."  Bashar

When Lisa marie made her decision to create her own retreat at Cape Cod....
she was documenting her journey... her search ...a quest through her lense of the camera.
The pull of the oceans and long walks along the beach...seeking the unknown ...and then capturing her poetry through her lense.

I have always felt we are a photon of light...
an energy radiating from the vessel we know as our bodies.
Each of us has a light...that never leaves ...through our art making...our sacred marks...we are leaving our footsteps in the sands...much like the tide marks remaining after the ocean's tide pools.

Lisa marie was asking the Universe for an exhibit....
a celebration of her journey...
I invited her to work and collaborate with me when she came home from her retreat...
a collaboration  with my soft quilts and her photographs.
My soft, hand dyed fabrics  ...resilient fabrics and hand stitches on my quilts to have personal narratives with our viewers.

Lisa Marie would bring her metaphors printed on hard metal.. photos on .tin prints... to share our journeys.
I saw so much of myself in Lisa Marie...I came to life as an artist rather late in life.
She had an urgency to get going..."she was 40 years old after all".

On 1/11/12 she and John were headed down to Florida to go to Lego Land for her 40th birthday...she admitted she would rather go to to Paris but she would do whatever Myles needed...this would make Myles happy.

I know everyone here has a Lisa Marie story...a prayer...a special  memory of Lisa Marie.  On Tuesday 12/11/12 she came to visit my Whispers and Echoes Studio to share her works ...we went over to meet personally with the curator  Lyn Logan-Grimes and outlined our contribution to this very strong exhibit.

I wanted Lisa Marie to meet several other strong artists who were bringing in emerging artists on the brink  of their recognition in the community of the  ART world.  She would have her moment to share and SHINE with those shes loves.

Lisa Marie surprised me with a handmade ornament with a bell ...and the word "Shine" and the spirals of wire.  She had remembered that bells and spirals are often found in my works....she remembered this from our quiet talks...I immediately hung this up in my studio!

SHINE will be Lisa Marie.

S....smile....synchronicity...a shaman....symbionic sister...a swell Gal!

H....hilarious ...humorous..... heroic.....humanitarian.... heart felt love for all....

I.....intelligent....inspiring.....investigating.... improve artist....idyllic....intense woman on a mission...innovative

N.....nurturing... naughty at times....natural.....navigator...noble woman... heart of a nymph...

E..... exciting....exuberant...effervescent....educated... electric....empathizing friend.                                       Lisa Marie you will SHINE...you will have your exhibit....everyone is invited ....to celebrate  her vision.  I will try to share some of our conversations about the images we were contemplating...documenting her journey.
Lisa Marie you are a photon of living, pure light ...pure life.

Imagine and Live in Peace,  Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart


  1. what a beautiful tribute to your friend and wiase words for us al. Today is the day to live. xox

  2. Wonderful tribute Mary Helen! It sounds like the service was a special celebration of her life and spirit.



  3. What a beautiful tribute to your beloved friend. The most we can ask for in live is to be loved and your friend Lisa Marie certainly was. Oma Linda

  4. Lovely tribute to your friend, Lisa Marie. She's probably organizing something wonderful in the heavens now. She left quite a legacy of love, laughter and light. Thank you for such a beautiful post.


  5. Wonderful words for your friend.

  6. beautiful tribute, and sending you love and light and peace of heart and mind...xo

  7. Such a lovely tribute.
    I'm so glad that Lisa Marie had Art in her life and You!

    ....an energy radiating from the vessel we know as our bodies.
    I love that.
    Wishing you hugs and love as you grieve for your friend and celebrate her life.
    XOXO - Cindi

  8. Your tribute really touches my heart on so many levels dear Mary Helen...
    you are a blessing and a Light to all!
    You surely have a new angel by your side...
    sorry it came so soon, but lucky Lisa is flying free touching down when she can...

    I truly am at a loss for words...
    your words are so healing and nurturing and real...
    thank you for sharing your heART friendships and so much more...

    I am very sorry for your loss
    be gentle with yourself and know that healing prayers and hugs are winging their way to you
    Brightest of Blessings all ways