There are extra sadnesses when one tries to find an obituary for someone, to provide guidance on what the family suggests as a charity or other tribute in memory. One sees (for example) that a seven-year-old girl died in an accident in the yard at her home, and the immediate heart-breaking thought is of a child passing away too young.
Mariola Drozdowska passed away too young.
Initially known as Mariola Walencik to her co-workers in the early 2000s, Mariola worked hard, both as a systems analyst and in helping someone clean office buildings (something for which she would travel (to Morinville) out of her way after her primary work hours were over).
There never was a sunbeam Mariola did not like -- she was perpetually tanned, and she despised cold temperatures. (Indeed, there is the possibility Mariola had a real allergy to cold,
"cold urticaria".) That she always dreamed of being on a warm beach was demonstrated by the background included in her electronic mail messages, a romantic view of a palm-graced, sunset-kissed oceanside. (An electronic mail message from Mariola was particularly precious, because she hated email.) Therefore, sweaters -- warm, good, and always good-looking sweaters -- were vital for Mariola during the cooler and freezing months of the year.
Mariola's appreciation for romantic beauty was sometimes expressed in the art she chose (like her "Wedding Rings" sculpture) and her preference for gorgeous furnishings (hence her visits to Konto; even a token item from Ikea -- requiring on the order of a dozen of hours of driving -- needed to be elegant). For Mariola, an ashtray needed to be more in appearance than "just" an ashtray... and her jean jacket had a special flair to it.
Mariola's interests away from work were varied. She explored the thoughts and philosophies of Bruce Lee, she exercised her green thumb (her tomatoes were extra-sweet, and she felt the Okanagan region needed more fruit trees), she paused to gaze at hummingbirds, and she beachcombed (finding the prettiest shells and arranging them in an intricate dish, the presentation wonderful). Oh, and her pet needed to be a German Shepherd... a real one, with even the papers being in German: Nexus loved Mariola, for Nexus knew how carefully Mariola sought Nexus.
When Mariola needed to seek respite from health-related symptoms, she turned her attention to British Columbia real estate. Panorama, Fernie, Cranbrook, Kimberley, Field, the Okanagan: Mariola knew the listings by heart (even better than the real estate agents theoretically responsible for the property, even being able to tell at a glance whether a posting was new), especially any log home. She might have wound up in Panorama or some other part of the East Kootenay had it not been for a particular blizzard during a home-seeking sojourn, a trip that included Nexus escaping into a mountain park and her car becoming stuck. After thawing out in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Mariola searched some more, identifying (fourteen years ago this month) Parker Cove as a place where a warmer life could be had.
Mariola was also a chef in her hosting skills -- borscht, pancakes from scratch, Knedle ze Śliwkami (plum potato dumplings), strawberry heart cookies, mushroom pasta, mushroom soup, persimmon juice.... Mariola even made eggplant delectable, and a turkey dinner from Mariola would cause one not to need to eat anything for a couple of days. Mariola introduced the fortunate among us to chocolate-covered plums (and sometimes to the stores that could help in satiating the addiction).
Mariola was a very polite person to talk to, rarely letting others know about her personal difficulties. (She might, every now and then, let slip a bit of gallows humour, barely mentioning how she felt and how one holiday or the other made her feel even worse... and then ending "I think that's all for all the good news...".) This may have been Mariola's way of sparing others the sympathy symptoms that could otherwise be discombobulating.
When Mariola was speaking in Polish to a friend or her daughter Cassandra (or signing to her son Pavel), one thought one was hearing/seeing a love song, Mariola's voice was so joyful....
In "The Ascent of Man", Jacob Bronowski said "We have to touch people."
Mariola touched people, and she was, therefore, one of God's children: Mariola made the world MUCH more interesting, and the world was better when despair or personal challenges were transformed into shared smiles. And so... The heart-breaking thought is of Mariola -- a child of God -- passing away too young....
Dziękuję Mariola... Niech twoje plaże i szczęście będą bezgraniczne....