A Tribute to Friends

by Mindy on July 28, 2012

in Bird Art, Colored Pencil, Conservation, Costa Rica, Native Species, Uncategorized

It has been a while since I posted. It has been a difficult time for me and my family. We have had a severe tragedy within our family. My husband, Joe lost his son Joey in a fatal accident. He passed away on July 10th. He broke his neck on July 1st  in a boating accident.  He suffered 3 broken vertebrates and the spine was also moved out of place. They did surgery (Monday , July 2nd ) to repair the damages. His spinal cord was damaged and it looked as if he would have been a quadriplegic had he survived.  He was paralyzed from the shoulders down. He was on a respirator due to the fact that he was not able to breathe on his own. They had hoped to perform a tracheotomy but he was not strong  enough for this procedure. There were too many complications and his  body was not able to come out of shock. He passed away with friends and family in the room with him. A parent is not supposed to loose a child. We have started bereavement counseling and it is helping us go through the grieving process. It has been tough here but we are hoping that time will guide us to a better place of understanding and resolve. Up until today I have not felt like writing and painting has been nearly impossible with all the chaos we have encountered.

I realize that life must go on and I am trying to move forward, get back to painting and back to my writing. I would like to take this time to reflect on some dear friends that have passed away. About 20 years ago I met an American couple who retired to Costa Rica and spent the rest of their lives breeding, raising and releasing endangered macaws. Their names are Richard and Margot Frisius.

Richard and Margot Frisius

Richard and Margot Frisius set up Amigos de las Aves, (Friends of the Birds) a non profit organization based in Costa Rica, dedicated to the conservation of the two native Macaws, the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and the Great Green or Buffon's Macaw (Ara ambigua).

Richard began his career working for Pan American Airways. He and Margot traveled around the world for 39 years, living in many different countries. The diversity of these countries and the animals they encountered led them on a passionate journey.

They retired  in Costa Rica in 1980 and became the first aviculturalists to breed macaws within the country. Amigos de las Aves was created in 1992. The non-profit organization incorporates breeding techniques, aviary management, environmental studies and conservation issues in order to carry out controlled release programs in conjunction with MINAE (Ministry of the Environment and Energy) and Costa Rican laws. They were the first people to reintroduce breeding pairs of the great green macaws into the wild.

Mindy at Richard & Margot's Amigos de las Aves.

Richard and Margot welcomed me into their home in 1992, the year that Amigos de las Aves was formed. I got to spend time with them and the macaws. They were so knowledgeable about the birds and gracious with their information. Through Artistic Adventure Tours I took my tour group to see them every year. It was a truly unique and wonderful experience. They allowed my students to draw, paint and sketch their birds. It was always a fabulous experience for all. Margot died about 4 years ago and Richard passed away June 17, 2012 at the age of 93. The legacy that they have left behind is one that everyone who loves natures wishes they could do. Margot and Richard not only dreamed, they made their dream come true for generations to come. Every time I see parrots flying free in Costa Rica I know that Richard and Margot are flying with them.


Colored Pencil drawing by Mindy LIghthipe ©2000

Their legacy continues through http://HatchedToFlyFree.homestead.com/AAdlA/AAdlA.html ( now run by http://TheARAProject.org  /  http://facebook.com/TheARAProject.org ) – a Scarlet and Great Green Macaw breeding and reintroduction into the wild program.



{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Gail July 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I am so sorry to hear of  the passing of Joey. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
It is a lovely tribute to Richard and Margo Frisius.

Anita July 29, 2012 at 9:17 am

Mindy, my heart goes out to you and your husband and family, and my prayers are with you all for healing. There is no loss like losing a child, and nothing will ever fill that void, but you will find the strength to go on and treasure the memories you all share. After our loss, I found that my artwork helped me keep my sanity. (((Hugs)))

Pam July 29, 2012 at 10:45 am

I am so sorry for your loss.. The Bible says "Time & Unforeseen occurrence befall us all"  (Eccl 9:11) and that certainly was an Unforeseen occurence, what a horrible accident. As you and your family try to heal with time, know that the this isn't the end for your son, he & your friends will wake up again in the resurrection that Jesus promised us. (John 5:28,29/ Rev 21:3,4).  Taking one day at a time will help you slowly heal, you don't know me, but your story touched my heart, I really am so sorry for your loss.. pam

Mindy July 29, 2012 at 10:53 am

Thank you Gail, Anita and Pam. It is comforting to know that people care. Art is a way of healing and I am getting back to things I love.

Sue July 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I am so saddened for you and send you heartfelt thoughts for the strength to go forward.   This is a parent's worst nightmare but may the memories of your time with Joey give you comfort and healing.   
May you find peace in your beautiful art.        Sue

Mindy July 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Thank you Sue. I am very lucky to have a wonderful support group and it helps when people like you offer your healing words to us.

Connie Ivey August 1, 2012 at 6:32 am

This loss is so tragic that it is almost palpable.  Grieving can demand more of your emotions than you can accept.   I send you and your husband prayers of healing and hope.  Taking the counseling and walking the many steps toward recovery together and alone will be aided by your friends, your art and your living your lives as graciously as you have exhibited already.  Peace to you both.

Mindy August 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Thank you Connie for your concerned and caring words. We are doing our best to take of ourselves and each other.

Vicki Lee Johnston August 5, 2012 at 1:17 am

Dear Mindy, I am so very sorry to hear about such an enormous loss in your lives.  Words aren't enough and I hope you are surrounded by support and love … and that in time the healing process may lead you to brighter days. 
Times like these art is such a healing balm.  It's good to see you painting.

Mindy August 8, 2012 at 7:36 am

Thank you Vicki. It is a tough time but we are moving forward and learning a lot through the process.

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