This is a tough one to write today. About a year ago, Anto and his darling wife Lynda bought this floating home across from me in my marina. They were happy as clams in the house they bought from Ruth (who moved to Oakland; I miss her). Anto’s 80th birthday is this month and as a surprise, Lynda commissioned me to paint their house as a surprise for him, for he so loved living here on the water.
Last Saturday Anto suddenly died of a massive brain bleed. One minute he’s making a pot of chili while Lynda selected new flowers for their deck; the next he was unconscious and rushed to the hospital where he mercifully died hours later. The painting was almost finished and I worried that completing it, or even discussing it with Lynda, would be painful for her, so while many of us neighbors looked in on her and brought her soup, I carefully didn’t bring it up. But then she inquired, and was looking forward to seeing it. Which motivated me to finish it up. She wanted it, as she knew Anto would have loved it and it would be a comfort to her.
Anto grew up in the large Armenian community in Beirut, where many people fled to after the horrid genocide of Armenians about 100 years ago in Turkey. He and Lynda met as their businesses were in neighboring offices (Orinda) and they were married 28 years. He was a delightful, curious, artistic man (he was an architect and artist) whose happy smile and warm nature charmed everyone he met; our last conversation was about the little insect-eating birds he sees around the marina (phoebes), and how he loved watching them. He adored his wife; that was obvious, and I was thrilled they had joined our community. Anto and I would talk about how much we both enjoy being a grandparent and he glowed when he spoke of his grandkids.
Anto, you were a bright light and we miss you terribly. Thank you for all you contributed to make this world a better place. I am grateful you enjoyed this past happy year of life on your charming houseboat.
PS Can you do something about Trump?
30″ x 22″ pen, watercolor, pencil, acrylic on paper