In Loving Memory


It is with deeps sadness that I announce that Karen Haffey, the co-creator of Collecting Loss, died on September 23, 2014 at Toronto General Hospital. As many of you had known, Karen was living with a degenerative lung condition for the last few years of her life. On July 15th,, she underwent a double lung transplant. She was recovering in hospital after a few complications post-surgery, when on the morning of Sunday, September 23, she unexpectedly had a stroke. Karen died that evening around 12:45 am surrounded by many family and friends, her favourite flowers adorning her, and beautiful music that carried her spirit to the next world. She received continuous blessings from people near and far and was able to hear many joyful stories about how much she was loved.

I am so happy that Karen was able to be be present to see the culmination of years of her hard work on Collecting Loss, and that she could witness how profoundly she had touched so many people through her art. Her voice and the words that she wove from the stories and memories of loss will forever live on.

Karen used to write me a lot of emails, her words often a source of comfort and inspiration. When I returned home after her funeral, I opened my computer and for some mysterious reason old emails from Karen, dating from 2006, appeared on my screen. Something that she had written back then caught my eye.  I would like to share with you what she wrote:

And now I send a prayer out for each of you that in this moment you are continuing to cultivate the seeds of you, developing and growing with the summer sun – and a further prayer that at 94 years of age we will each still be wanting to develop, still seeing ourselves as beautiful works in progress.

I can hear Karen, in her gentle and soothing voice, reading this blessing out to all of us at this moment… encouraging us to keep planting seeds for the future, to live with courage with whatever comes our way, and to always carry hope and gratitude in our hearts.

May we always remember beautiful Karen, with love, with life.