Cassandra Tondro art

Hi Friends,

I went to a lovely memorial service over the weekend. It was poignant and funny, with a lot of people telling interesting stories about the man who recently passed away.

When I’m at a memorial service, I start to wonder what people will remember about me when I’m gone. Will there be funny stories to tell? Will anyone feel sad that I’m gone? Whose lives have I touched?

How many people know us deeply? I’m venturing a guess that for most of us, it’s very few. Is it important to be known? What is our impact on the world? For those of us who are artists, will we be known primarily through our art when we’re gone? Is our art our legacy to the world?

I imagine my memorial service, if there is one, to be a quiet affair with just a handful of people gathered around an open fire at night in the woods. They will share stories about my obsession with art and wonder why it was so important to me. They will try to figure out what to do with the 5,000 works of art I have left behind. They will laugh about what they saw as my crazy beliefs, practices and behaviors. And inexplicably, hundreds of cats will emerge from the shadows of the forest to see me off, in recognition of my dedication to felines in this lifetime. I’m a magnet for cats in need.

How do you allow yourself to be known? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,

Painting at top: “Night Sky,” 24 x 24 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas



  1. Hi Cassie,

    It is good to know that the memorial service was touching. I had very much wanted to go. Instead, though, I went to a very different, yet still touching memorial service.

    My uncle recently died, and he and his wife, who had died earlier, had wanted to be cremated and tossed into the ocean off the Oregon Coast. So Neal and I are on a 3 week road trip up to Newport OR and back to join the family in this task which occurred yesterday.

    There has been a lot of weather, as they say, cold and blustery and rainy. The boat could not go out on Monday, as planned, because of 18 ft swells out in the sea. Instead, we went out yesterday, at 8:00am. Because of the winds we went up the river instead of to the sea. The captain, who was very kind, assured us that Don and Nina would surly make it out to sea together. There were more of my uncle Don’s ashes than my aunt Nina’s. Her’s were in an urn on the fireplace mantel that was destroyed in the Paradise fire. They hired a dog trained to find human remains to search out the ashes and they were able to recover some of them, which comforted my Uncle at the time. During the service it was cold with rain and hail coming down. The hail made the boat slippery and the kind captain gently and strongly helped my very large, somewhat disabled cousin into the boat.

    So there we were, this hardy group of relatives who by various means had all traveled to this place, sharing remembrances of these two who had made a differences in all our lives. I was struck by how different all these families were, how our lives had led us all on such different paths. Yet here we were, tied somehow with this string called family, with love and acceptance of all the differences.

    When they were young I doubt if Don and Nina could imagine that family would go to such lengths to honor them, but here we were, giving them a grand send-off. I cannot imagine anyone doing the same for me, and that is just fine. I like your vision of friends around the fire; that would be a good sendoff too. I have been asked the question before but I have no idea about how I would like to be remembered, something I might ponder now.

    Thank you Cassie for giving me this moment to to write all this out. I will save it to edit and embellish later. Of course, in the scheme of things it is how we live more than how we are remembered, making our lives reflect who we are. You have touched so many with your art and this blog. I am sure you have touched more souls than you could possibly imagine.

    With love and appreciation,

    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Celia. It’s so touching and full of love. It’s also quite a story! Wow. What an ordeal, and I love that Don and Nina ended up in the river to eventually make it to the sea.

      You’re right that we don’t know whose lives we have touched. When I send out these posts I always wonder how many will unsubscribe this time and how many will delete without even looking at it. But if even one person resonates with my words, it’s worth the effort.

      I look forward to seeing you when you’re back. Take good care.

      Much love,

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