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Daffodil MemorialApril 14, 2013
They were a quiet, diminutive couple who showed up at our house amidst the throng of people responding to an on-line moving sale notice on our local internet exchange.
I was explaining a rare painting done by my brother, John Kavelin, pointing to his signature bottom left to one of our “pillaging patrons”. We had discovered it amidst some of John’s belongings only recently when sorting for the sale.
Rushing over, the man asked in a strong Japanese accent, “Did you say, John Kavelin?” “Yes.” “Do you know him?” his partner asked. “He’s my brother,” I said. Their eyes shone with excitement. “YOU’RE LINDA!” they said in unison. “We just moved into his house a few days ago!” The couple who purchased it after John’s death had decided to move back to Ontario to be closer to their grandchildren and had resold the house to this couple.
Despite the milling browsers, it suddenly felt as though the three of us were cocooned in a long, meaningful moment. The woman’s eyes teared up when I said, “You know, he lived in Japan for six years. He was the Director of Design for Tokyo Disney. He loved Japan very much.” She said, “I notice things around his property that feel like touches of Japan”, including the sweet young Japanese maple, which he had bought a few months before his passing. John said it would look lovely amidst the Rhododendrons.
I had to turn my attention to people asking about prices on kitchen implements and chairs. The couple went across to the office where Dan was reverse wheeling and dealing, surprising shoppers with his absurdly low prices for electronics, books and other treasures. His intention was to get rid of whatever wasn’t nailed down in preparation for our deep sense of needing to empty and lighten our lives of things and move on to something new.
They returned twenty minutes later, arms laden with gift Virtues books and cards in Japanese which Dan chose to give to them. I had found some of John’s small keepsakes such as a satin container with special chopsticks, which I pressed on them as well. It felt so synchronistic. How did they know to look on the Island internet exchange and happen to come to our sale?
They asked if they could return the next day and despite our time being in short supply, as we were soon departing for the South Pacific, I said “Of course.” That afternoon we sat and talked more quietly and they described the powerful presence they felt in their new house. “We feel as though we know John.” How perfect it seemed to me and Dan that a couple from Japan should end up there. The woman told me that she was very moved by the wrought iron gate which John designed on which were the words, “Spirit Lodge”, the name he gave his home. She showed me a picture of it on her phone and asked me what the rays at the top depicted. The sun and the moon. She said, “My name is Akiko. that is what it means.” Shyly, she added, “You have been so generous and we are very interested in The Virtues Project. I have one more request.” “What is it?” I asked. She asked if she could dig up three of our daffodil bulbs (which were just shooting above ground at that time) and plant them in John’s garden. “They will symbolize the three founders of The Virtues Project.” How could I refuse?
Small wonders seem to abound when we pay attention.