Last fall while at my booth at the French Nest, the most beautiful couple came to see me. It had been a slow day and I sat with my sister and pondered was it worth it for me to be there.

What was I doing?

Was I kidding myself? Artist?   blah… blah… blah… YUCK!

A month earlier a local magazine, Style, did a write up on how and why my work incorporates the legend of the Red Thread. I was honored and uncomfortable but as it turned out it brought me two of my most favorite and pivotal moments. The first being that day last fall and again today.

As we sat at the booth that afternoon, in walked Patsy and Jerry along with Patsy’s caretaker all arm in arm. Jerry carefully let go and introduced the three of them and told me that they had come to meet me.  Me? I couldn’t imagine why. I was completely taken aback.

They had read the article and learned about the red thread of fate and wanted to come tell me how much it meant to them. Patsy has late stage Parkinsons and the red thread gave them something to hold onto. Patsy talked of her children with the brightest eyes and an infectious smile. Her body is shaking and her neck is twisted so her head rests on her shoulder, but her spirit outshines her disabilities. She radiates strength, love and grace.

She and her caretaker excuse themselves for a break and I got to visit with Jerry for awhile. He is honest about their situation, he shares their story of their family, and he is obviously so moved and grateful for the legend; it is all I can do to hold it together. He is so warm and lovely. He adores his wife, respects her above all and seems to be full of nothing but love and gratitude. I bask in his light. Around his neck is a red thread with a peace symbol on it that Patsy had given him before they learned of the legend. She now calls him her Shanti man. It’s a perfect name.

Pasty and her caretaker return and she picks out a necklace and a board that says JOY, reminding her of one of her daughters. We talk and share some more about the magic of the legend, my art and their story. Before they leave, we have huge group hug right there in the middle of the market. I didn’t want to let go of these special and incredible souls. By the time we say our goodbyes we are all in tears and grateful that the red thread has once again worked its magic and brought us to this moment. They left and I burst into tears of gratitude.

What it took them to come see me!

What a gift of love they brought!

How could I ever doubt that the red thread path that I am on would ever let me down? What a fool I had been to question it.

I smiled and cried some more and my sister smiled and listened to me as I tried to process how overwhelmed I was by their visit to see me. It was a moment that I will always cherish. They gave me a gift from their heart.

Today, six months later I was painting in my studio and my phone rang. I decided to ignore it as I was really in the flow and enjoying being back at work on a canvas after a few weeks. When I got to a good stopping point, I listened to my voicemail and it was a message from Jerry. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy to hear his voice. He went on to explain that Patsy had taken a turn for the worse in the past few weeks and was now at Pathways Hospice. He told me that one of her requests was that I come see her. Completely overwhelmed with honor, I hung up the phone and wept.

I talked with him a bit later and he asked if I would come this afternoon at 4. I showered to remove the paint off my face and arms (I’m a terribly messy painter!) I put on my red thread necklace with the Courage pendant on it and asked the universe for strength and presence. I arrived at Patsy’s room and was greeted by her brother, son and sweet Jerry. I reached to hold her hand and around her wrist was a red ribbon tied just as I have one on mine. And, around her neck and she was wearing my necklace. She was hard to understand as it took all of her strength to talk. Jerry held her other hand and helped me to understand her lovely words. We talked about the magic of the red thread and how hers would continue on after she died. She and Jerry shared a moment of how special they are to one another and to bare witness to that raw love was indescribable. I told her how I love her radiant smile and bright eyes and have never felt more honored to be in a moment such as that. She asked if I had been a part of a death experience like this. I told her no and how grateful I was to be there to tell her how much her visit meant to me last fall and to see her again. She had given me a wonderful gift of love again.

She tired and asked if we could just listen.

She asked for 4 minutes.

So hands held we listened.  It was the most spiritual moment of my life. Such clarity, truth and love I heard in those quiet minutes.

Jerry held her left hand and I her right. She closed her eyes and her breathing steadied. I could feel her pulse in her hand beating against mine. I thought of our literal red threads.. our veins all pulsing together. Life. I felt like I could feel Jerry’s pulse too… traveling up Patsy’s left arm across her big, beautiful heart and down her right arm to my hand. It was amazing to feel so completely connected to this incredible couple who I had only met once before. They are willing to open up and share their love, their sorrow, their gratitude, their pain and enrich the lives of those around them. I am ever grateful that I am one of them.

We talked a bit more, kissed hands and said goodbyes. As heartbreaking as it was, I felt such a tremendous amount of peace. I hope I will get to see Patsy again and if I don’t I will be sure to continue her red thread by sharing her story and honoring her beautiful spirit. And now, she knows it.

I know I will see Jerry again. I think a wonderful friendship is in the works.

The pathway of the red thread will never be doubted again.

17 Replies to “Pathways”

  1. Oh, Catherine,
    This whole story reverberates within me. I’m so grateful to be part of your red thread. I can’t wait to meet you.
    xo, Martha

  2. Well Cat, you wrote that beautifully and I am honored to have read it. What a joy it is to know you. I am in awe that the red thread continues it path through you. As a matter of fact, I also had the wonderful experience of meeting this beautiful couple last year. I cooked a meal for them and Rosemary, the boys and I took it to their house. We spent an afternoon watching the boys play with some old toys they had from their children, and listened to some very heartfelt wonderful stories. They are truly the example of pure love. Sorry to hear of her being in hospice, but know her journey is softened by her loving husband. Your words are a beautiful tribute to them both! XOXO

  3. So beautifully written! Thank you so much for honoring my amazing parents in this way. Thanks to my sister-in-law’s sister-in-law coming across this (some interesting red threads at work there!), this post got around to my dad and all of my siblings–we were all tremendously touched. Your visit yesterday was beautiful and touching. You truly walk the art that you create and the message that you convey. Thank you for being a red thread in our lives. Blessings to you!

  4. Micheal, I can’t begin to tell you what a complete honor it was to be there. I haven’t stopped thinking about all of you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to support your family and I really hope to see you soon. With so much awe and respect, Cat

  5. HI Cat,
    I am Patsy’s sister. My brother, Rick, just told me today about this story and sent it to me. I can’t thank you enough for touching my sister and her husband in this special way. I felt so thankful to know you came to see her and what a blessing that was. As you know, Patsy is an angel on earth and Jerry is the most caring, gentle man. Their marriage and commitment has been a testimony to all who know them. Living with Parkinson’s disease since age 40, my sister never complained but always looked for the good in life. She is my hero. Your writing brought me to tears and I thank you for honoring her in this special way. What a wonderful connection.
    God’s blessings to you.

  6. Penny, thank you for your nice words. They are all I’ve thought about this week. I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude and inspiration by the love your sister and brother in law have for each other and all those around them. What s very special family you have. Please let me know how I can support you during this time. Humbly, Cat

  7. Catherine,

    Thank you for writing this piece about my Aunt and Uncle. It’s incredibly touching to hear of your interaction. Patsy and Jerry, as well as the family they have raised, are all a model of dedication and love to the world. It’s greatly appreciated that you have shared such a story. They make us all appreciate one another that much more.


  8. Aaron, I do believe you are part of a wonderfully magical loving family. Hugs!

  9. Cat, I’m Patsy’s daughter in law and I want to also thank you for your beautiful description of both of my in-laws. Patsy is definitely one of a kind and has an angel’s spirit. I’ve never known someone who emits so much positivity. Never in all the years that I’ve known her has she ever once complained about the Parkinson’s. She’s always found the best in every situation. I hope to meet you some day and give you a hug in thanks for making Paty’s life more beautiful.

  10. Jennifer, I hope very much to meet you and your whole loving family too! Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out if there is anything I can do. Please give hugs to your in-laws for me! Always on my heart.

  11. Oh, Cat- a sacred moment, indeed. Thank you for sharing this experience and putting your message out there through the tears and the joy. Follow your heart, and you’ll always be on the right path.

  12. Hi Catherine! My name is Lynn Brown and I live in Bear Lake, Michigan. Jerry found me through photographs I have taken of the Portage Point Pier where they released Patsy’s ashes last October. He also sent me two photographs of Patsy on the pier and shared the video of her dancing and laughing there. I felt connected to them both immediately and I, too, shed tears. Over his loss, their love, and her dynamic energy that is still with us. It radiates in his words and her photographs. In our third conversation, he mentioned the red thread. He told me I was part of his red thread now and that I should visit this page to know why. I had never heard of the red thread before, so here I am! Wow. Wow. Wow. Her red thread is definitely continuing on, isn’t it? I am compiling a book of the photographs I took of the pier (I went every day for a year). I have asked Jerry if I can add Patsy’s image to it and have a special tribute for her. He gave me his blessing and I am working on it right now. Along with it I am going to add the red thread quote that has now become meaningful to me as well, keeping it going for her. Is it coincidence that in the photograph of her on the pier she is in a red sweater? I don’t think so. 🙂 Your words above are beautiful. You are a beautiful person and gifted artist. I’m so glad that red thread pulled me to your page. Be well, Lynn. (Here’s to Patsy!)

  13. Hi Lynn. I’m sorry to get back so late.. my website was to be updated etc.. and yet. here it still is. My art was on hold over a very busy 6 months and now I am happy to be jumping back in. Jerry showed me your beautiful book. What a labor of love and that Patsy is on page 4 is just incredible. You have given him such tremendous peace and honor. He thinks the absolute world of you and I’m sure he is now tightly woven into your red thread world. Wishing you all the best! Come to Colorado for a visit. It’s a pretty special place too.

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