Monday, May 30, 2011

Honouring the muse

My muse and I have been at war the past few weeks.

It's been tough to find inspiration while trying to claw out from the belly of confusion and sadness. Though my blog posts had been sporadic at best, I was writing...even making progress on new projects while tackling lingering unfinished pieces.

But on May 21, 2011, my creative drive came to a screeching halt when I learned of the sudden passing of my beautiful cousin, Larissa.

As the oldest on both sides of the family, I am blessed to have unique relationships with each of my cousins - and my relationship with Larissa was no different.

In Edmonton, I am isolated from my family - other than my husband and stepdaughter, my next closest relatives are in Calgary. The distance isn't far - about two hours - and yet, we are as distant as I am to the family that lives in BC, Nova Scotia, Utah, Toronto, Nevada...

Larissa lived in Reno in a small apartment with her new puppy.

But for about 6 months two years ago, she lived with me and my husband. Larissa and my friendship has always been a bit of a roller coaster, but the ride seemed so much more intense for that brief time I had with her in Edmonton. She suffered emotional and physical pain that I simply didn't understand, and despite my deepest desire to be there for her, I failed in so many ways. Opportunities I can never get back.

In truth, I've always admired Larissa. Her song voice gave me chills. I remember so clearly one of our infamous arguments after I begged her for hours to please sing for me just one more time...She'd already been through the family song book twice, and covered every radio hit. She dreamed of being on American Idol. *I* dreamed of her being there, too.

Much like the rest of my talented family, Larissa could not only sing - she was also a stunning dancer, an amazing actress, and she could work magic with a make-up brush and a curling iron. After buying a very expensive flat iron at a West Edmonton Mall kiosk one day, Larissa's smile could have lit up the night sky. I can't count how many make-overs she's given me over the years.

Larissa was passionate, and intellectual, often surprising me with political debates and action plans for causes close to her heart.

She was also a voracious reader with very discerning tastes. She devoured every novel on my numerous book shelves, and often we stayed up late discussing the story's strengths and weaknesses. She even started writing herself...

And she read everything I wrote. Even the stuff I've shared with no one else.

On Friday, I was deleting old texts when my finger hovered over a message from April 28. I'd sent Larissa a script I'd finished working on, and in her excitement - and true belief in me - she read the document in one sitting and couldn't wait  to offer her praise. Her text gushed with pride, unconditional love and support.

I don't have the words to describe the hollowness of my heart, or how much I miss my cousin, and her beautiful voice. But I will cling to that text, and dig deep for the inspiration she so often offered.

I miss you Larissa, and love you so very much.


  1. I am so very sorry to hear this sad news, Dawn. I felt like I knew her a little bit too, given that she and I both commented on all the same stuff. I looked forward to see what she thought of everything you posted.

  2. I am so sorry you lost your cousin. This is a beautiful post, and I think, once the pain subsides, you'll remember the inspiration she gave you with a smile, rather than a sore heart. I hope you are taking care of yourself. I hope you are doing something to soothe the pain, even if just the tiniest bit. Love you lots, Sweetie. XOXO

  3. (((HUGZ)))

    Beautiful tribute, Dawn. <3 So sorry for your loss.

  4. You've done well by her, honey. She's smiling down from wherever she is, remembering.. like you.
    I'm so glad you had that six months with her, cousin squabbles aside <3

    xxooo deep heartfelt hugs

  5. Such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul. I am very glad I got to meet Larissa, to hear her sing and yes it was amazing.


  6. xoxo ... I know there are no words to comfort

  7. Oh, Dawn, I'm so sorry. So sad to lose a young, vibrant person. Sending you hugs. This was a lovely tribute.

  8. I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin, sweetie. Big hugs. I’m here if you need me.

  9. So sorry for the loss of your cousin and friend. She sounds like a wonderful person and I'm sure she's dancing and singing in her afterlife. Hugs and hearts to you and your family.

  10. I am so sorry. Your loss is truly devastating. I don't even know what to say except I will pray for you. xoxo

  11. love the blog mmmm