Monday morning, May 3rd, I received a text message from a friend that said, “I thought of you this morning when I heard on the news about Lynn Redgrave.” News? What news? My heart instantly sank and I jumped on the Internet to confirm my worst fear. “Lynn Redgrave died peacefully in her home in Connecticut on Sunday night.”
All day I couldn’t do anything else but sit at my computer and read stories about you, and the many sad reactions, (I hope you realize what an impact you had on so many people) and gently start on my own journey of reminiscing.
When I first met you during a costume fitting for the Canadian feature film, “Touched“, shot in the mysterious Similkameen Valley, I felt a bit intimidated, but you soon fixed that with your humour and openess!
I was working as the assistant costume designer to designer Crystine Booth, and once in production, the costume set supervisor. I was beyond thrilled to be working near you, a “Redgrave”, and the actor in me was ready to absorb and learn from a master.
I loved watching you work, before a scene, during a scene, and even afterward. I gradually learned to recognize when you needed your walkman and would sneak your headphones on your ears just before your request!
I was honoured when you quietly started sharing your thoughts about your work on the film, and in that process, I knew you were also acknowledging my acting experience.
We became friends.
Much later, after many personal trials and tribulations for both of us in our separate lives, you invited me to New York. You opened up your life to me, and I got to experience your generosity, and affection.
You made a dream of mine come true. You offered to coach me. In exchange, I had to help you learn lines of your next play.
Later, I thought to myself, “What was I thinking? Now I have to perform in front of Lynn Redgrave! Am I nuts?” I didn’t tell you my fear :).
When I finally nailed my Shakespeare monologue in your living room, you leapt off the couch and into the air saying, “You were f—-g great!”… Wow… I was in heaven.
I still cannot believe you are gone. I knew cancer was a part of your life but you were so strong that I never imagined it taking you. I remember how we joked about you being an Amazonian Woman Warrior after your mastectomy, and how well you suited the title, especially when you told me to “clear off” in your strongest British accent, when I tried to stop you from carrying my luggage. You insisted because I was still walking with my cane as a result of my back operation.
Lynn, I wish I could have said goodbye, and I guess this is my way of doing it. I know you would understand as you liked the web, and you were a storyteller. And, you encouraged me to be one, too.
I will, Lynn – in your honour.
My condolences go to your family. Your presence will be hugely missed. If any of them read this blog post, I hope they will realize how touched I was by you, Lynn, and that I’m just one of many.
As a last gesture, in celebration of your life, and with a fond memory of all of us belting out this song with the band at an impromptu party in Keremeos, I leave you with “Mustang Sally”… What fun we had.
With lots of love,
(p.s. I hope you don’t mind if I still talk to you now and then about my work?)