The passion and personalities that inspired the naming of our GiGi gel polish range.
The emerald green of Lady Grace is rich with colour, yet gentle in hue; both vibrant and versatile, unforgettable and forever.
As was the woman herself.
Catherine Grace Symons – an artist, a mother, a wife, a grandmother, a carer of others, and with a passion as rich as the colour we named for her.
Cath died earlier this year, after fighting a particularly quick and aggressive cancer at only 59 years of age. Her family, always close, knitted together even more tightly to support each other and their dad Bill, while creating a world of gentleness and beauty around their mum, as she had always created for them.
I am always reminded of the classic children’s novel “What Katy Did” by Susan Coolidge where the main character Katy, a lively, wild child is struck down with a severe illness and becomes confined to bed for an unforeseeable time. She becomes angry and uncaring about her friends or her appearance or her room, until a visit from her cousin Hellen inspires her to create her room into “the heart of the home” filled with sunshine and flowers, and so welcoming that everyone gravitated to Katy’s room. Cath always created the “heart of the home” wherever she was, even when confined to bed in her last weeks, there was music and massages, hand holding, perfumed candles, lipstick, laughter and love.
As an artist, Cath was prolific and versatile, without boundaries – working in the mediums of sculpture, clay, mosaic, fabric, watercolours and oil paints – and often creating cheeky little art forms with bare breasts and round little bottoms, such as the “Boobs and Bums” painting that hangs over her and Bill’s bed. She loved colour with an exuberance that translated into her art and her clothing. Cath had style; style and grace as she adorned herself in flowing, rich colours of reds and greens and purples, with perfect hair and makeup, and at just under 6 feet tall, she was mesmerising and amazing. We didn’t choose this GiGi colour for Cath, it chose us, and touches of it can be seen everywhere within her home from cushions to the fruit bowl, in her clothes and a flower she wore in her hair.
Her heart was flowing and rich as well, filled with compassion and a want to make the world kinder for so many people. She attracted people who needed love, or a helping hand, or just wanted to bask in her warmth. She was bold and courageous and believed in justice for all. She adored her husband and her family of two sons and two daughters, along with a gaggle of grandkids; and she cooked, and listened, and rolled her eyes at times, and laughed, and forgave and fiercely defended them at every turn. Even in the last days of her imminent passing, Cath wanted her family to not suffer undue stress, so with great grace and dignity she planned her own farewell. With her usual panache she incorporated another of her favourite colours, orange into the clothing, flowers and artistic touches that transformed a time of sadness into one rich in warmth and sunshine and memorable beauty.
And memorable was this beauty; her beauty, both inner and outer – a saying often used, yet perfectly fitting for Catherine Grace.
When we lose someone we love, it feels as though the entire world stops, that time constricts down to the moment we are in, that our grief may never settle into anything we can ever imagine managing. What most comforts us is that the person we have kissed and held in that forever farewell, has left some form of legacy in our lives and in the world. Some like Gandhi left a legacy of gentle peace, Mother Teresa of kindness to all humanity, and Da Vinci, art and wild imaginings.
Cath was all these three, and more – and yet she changed the world in one of the quietest but most powerful ways … she left the legacy of love. Love for art, love for people and love for her family, who in turn will carry on that legacy of love into their own lives and on into the wider world with every adventure, every journey, every generation, every brush stroke, every ragrug, every hug, every touch and every moment shared … with love and grace. xxx