Anonymous bidder stands up for mental health

I couldn't sleep last night.  Heather had left with Ben for a west coast adventure, which left me somewhat discombobulated; but there was something else nagging at me.  I found out what it was in the wee hours of the night: someone had submitted a bid for the Robin Williams painting at 5:54 pm, just minutes before the close of blind bidding.  I obviously had missed it when I checked all my social media accounts earlier in the evening.

First of all, I have to honour and thank my friend Mike Paskal for his generosity and understanding.  His incredibly generous bid of $1,800 was tops for the better part of a day, and I had let him know that it appeared that he was the highest bidder.  In the middle of the night, I had to send a message that I had spoken too soon.  He was very gracious, though disappointed.

Just moments ago, I got off the phone with the anonymous bidder from Calgary who confirmed his offer of a $2,500 donation to Some Other Solutions in exchange for this portrait of Robin Williams.  We had a delightful conversation.  He was very moved by the death of his favourite comedian and felt that he had to have the painting that captured so much of Robin's character and gift.

"Your work is an amazing tribute to celebrate his life," he wrote in an email.  "I feel incredibly blessed to be the new custodian of your extraordinary portrait of Robin Williams."

To be honest, I'm completely floored by his comments, and the responses the painting has inspired about this amazing soul who left us way too soon.  Begun in a moment of inspiration after getting the tragic news from my son - who was given the middle name Patch after watching Robin Williams' performance as Patch Adams - the painting hit the emotional centre of what so many people were feeling as the news sunk in this week.

I was honoured to share a poem written by my friend Nathan Berube last night, with the new owner of the painting.   Nathan had sent it to me by private message last night, and I asked if he would allow me to share it alongside the portrait.  He said yes.

Wit’s Elegy

Sandy water, salted like tears,
Drawing back. Resist. Resisting. Resistance.
Pulling, like a joyful child.
Tugging at our ankles,
and pleading for us to join with it.
‘Come this way! Come see! Come see!’

The ocean calls,
Like a lover... Or a mother...
But not a spouse.
To see, is to conquer.
The Way of the Conquerer
is onward.
And all sailors are on the sea,
More than of it.

“Man overboard!”
Do we respect the one
who wants to drown...
who asks the constant sea,
“Fold me in your calm embrace” ...?

Honour is a living thing.
The Dead have no respect
for the Living
Their place is the secret they keep.
Requiescat In Pace, Little Ones!

The act of self destruction
Immutable, and incomprehensible
Done for honour, hunger, or fear
Done by those who lived,
and who laid down their arms.

There was a jester,
who made even kings
bubble with effervescent joy.
A brave man, a kind man.
A good man. A generous man.
For he bought laughter,
with many pains.
Laughter that he gave away
Such was his heart.

And when he found
his cup was full
And his purse empty
He drank deeply,
and without pity.
He honoured us with his life
And his passing is as immutable
as the ocean (the restless void)
He is neither on it, or in it...
But of it, now. We are the children of his joy. And we must carry it on.
So that WE know... that it was right
That he lived.


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