On the 2nd day sailing on the Alaska ferry, Wednesday, December 3rd:….. this evening 6 hours southbound from Ketchikan, destination Bellingham, Washington, when I entered my stateroom, I noticed a friend texted me that a dear friend Cindy Gustafson passed away last night in her sleep. I had just finished dinner with new-found friends and was planning on designing the next part of this child-size Chilkat robe; I also planned on finalizing my Power Point Presentation for the Portland Art Museum two nights from now; I was also planning on shaping the best part of my weaving. Oh well, as usual a death of a dear one takes precedence over commitments and goals. I put these all aside. I watched the darkness glide by outside the window for several hours until I laid myself to a still sleep. Without dreams.
Cindy Gustafson was a spunky elder right up there next to my Kate Terry who passed away over five years ago. I loved these gals. Both women were well known in our community; one wrote a “gossip column” for the local newspaper and the other had her own “gossip column” just by being a great listener.
Halloween was the last time I saw Cindy. We were at the monthly WHIPS luncheon (Women Helping In Pagosa Springs). I noticed she looked very radiant as if she were wearing a bit of blush and eyeliner, her bluest eyes sparked like sapphires, ah, but there was no trace of additions; her radiance was of the natural kind. As usual she wanted to know about my love life, my family life, and my business – I told her I was preparing to visit the latest additional grandchildren in Juneau and I was also finishing up the last of my products for the upcoming markets I was planning in Alaska during Thanksgiving weekend, and that I would be out of town until Christmas Eve so I would be missing all of the local holiday events that she had been planning for the community, and that Dan was going to be meeting me in Portland to play a live gig during my Power Point Presentation and that we would be driving back to Colorado together. She was happy to hear things were going well for me.
Cindy and I always remarked about the other’s attire; we always admired what the other was wearing. That day she was wearing one of her fantastic skirts, the Seminole Indian patchwork skirt I told her that she would willingly will me when she passed…I told her I would cherish the skirt forever and I would tell the world about the wonderful woman who once owned the skirt before me and I would say this with pride. Cindy thought I was a little crazy but I know she forgave me because we shared being Gemini’s which made it all the more reason why we had this common understanding of our character!
Now I imagine wearing that skirt, though I will most likely not inherit it and it is important to note the skirt means more than an object of desire. The skirt represented the passing of a beautiful thing to another with love, respect and honor. Whatever skirt I wear will always remind me of Cindy.
Cindy began the women helping women in Pagosa Springs. About 4 years ago, when I was still adjusting from several major life changes, I was a recipient of a WHIPS donation. I will always remember this. Here’s the link to the WHIPS: http://pagosawomen.com/sample-page/
Like our beloved Kate Terry, I will always remember our Cindy Gustafson!