Friday, December 3, 2010

Heather Rombough. March 2, 1962 - August 1, 2010

- by Henriette van Hees and friends

Who was she and where did she come from? What was she like? Was there something in her character that stood out for us? What can be shared at this moment in time about her amongst people who knew her and who wish to bid her farewell? Here are some contributions from people who got to know Heather through Anthroposophy. 

Connie White, who got to know Heather more than twenty years ago in London, Ontario, writes: “I remember Heather for and was blessed by her infectious laugh, her sense of humour and her accepting and positive attitude towards life. She loved the outdoors and was an avid hiker. She appreciated healthy food and was a member of a monthly macrobiotic potluck group in London. One summer Heather and her daughter Melissa joined the WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) organization and worked on farms in the Maritimes, New England and Ontario.

Heather was an active parent at the London Waldorf School for eight years and served as a board member for several of those years. She was a member of the Storytellers of London and spearheaded a Storytelling Conference with Nancy Mellon as guest speaker, which was jointly sponsored by the London Waldorf School and the Storytellers of London. Heather, a wonderful storyteller in her own right, also assisted in presenting Waldorf marionette performances at public venues. Many of us also remember her for her beautiful ‘cut paper’ cards.Ever appreciative of the London Waldorf School and Sunnivue, the local Biodynamic farm, Heather strove to understand the underlying world view these organizations were based upon and attended the Anthroposophical Study Group for a short time before moving to Western Canada with her husband Dean and daughter Melissa.

I visited Heather in Edmonton several weeks before her passing. She looked like an angel when she met me at the door in her wheel chair with a sweet smile and a tear in her eye. During that week when I was privileged to spend time with her, I was inspired by how she consciously prepared for her transition, while continuing to live her last days fully and positively.”

Claude Benevent, who, together with her family, has been interested in the works of The Camphill Movement for many years, writes that she met Heather while hosting a wet on wet painting study of Parsifal, led by Kathleen Thompson, in the summer of 2002. “Heather was pregnant, lively and bright. She had the capacity to bring out the essence of each chapter in a few words”… thus helping participants to better understand the Old English text. Together with her creative friends, Heather brought to her community the celebration of festivals. “The magic of story telling, puppetry, song and flute enchanted the children and their parents. In cherishing these memories, Heather lives on.”

Anne Force, who has been active as a Waldorf parent, kindergarten teacher, doll making teacher and puppet play presenter in Edmonton, writes, "I met Heather in her early endeavours with puppetry here in Edmonton, in which she asked me to help her with one of her marionette presentations.” This puppet play was to be presented in lieu of writing a term paper, while Heather was studying theology at Newman College. The play, based on a folk tale, Stone Soup, “emphasized the role of community in a context of finding peaceful resolutions… It was a poignant moment as her teacher and student peers sat in readiness for the presentation, not knowing what to expect… As the story progressed, I remember how Heather said she noticed the demeanour of her teacher change, hearing him sigh and relax…The whole experience was deeply touching for her teacher and her theological classmates and Heather was, in turn, gratified and delighted by their response."

Muriel Tait, who is involved as a long standing Edmonton member and friend of the Anthroposophical Society in Canada, shared some fond recollections of Heather's involvement in this community. On December 29th, 2009, she invited Heather with her daughter, Dana, to attend an annual potluck social at her home to talk about the Whitehorse Conference. Muriel writes, "Although it was low-key and a discussion followed, clearly the conference was a defining moment in Heather's life and she felt rejuvenated..." After attending Heather's funeral, Muriel writes, "I'm sure Heather's funeral was just as she would have wished. It was held at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church on August 6th, 2010. Family and friends filled the church and an excellent harpist provided...beautiful harp music."

Kathleen Thompson, who had known the Rombough family since the early 1980s, was “delighted to discover Heather was a member of this clan of community-builders” in Edmonton. “Heather lived up to both the meaning of her name and that of her place of birth: heather is the small shrub with pink or white flowers which commonly grow in rocky areas and she was born in Outlook, (Saskatchewan). She came to Edmonton in the 1990s bringing her gift of a sunny outlook. Through the puppets she so artistically created, Heather lived her passion and contributed to healing and building community. I participated in Heather’s puppet workshops and played Choroi flute for some of her storytelling presentations. She enthusiastically participated in our Parzival study group. I wish you Godspeed, Heather.”

As for me, Henriette van Hees, I met Heather about ten years ago when she came for a visit to discuss my connection, having been a Waldorf kindergarten teacher, to Waldorf puppetry. Once a group of us prepared an Advent puppet play, carefully assembled over several months of weekly rehearsals, to be performed for various audiences. Heather brought us to an inner city church, attended primarily by first nations people. The audience of adults and children alike remained quietly focused for the entire performance, and expressed genuine appreciation afterwards. This was for me a blessing.

My best experiences with Heather of late have been our weekly recorder music sessions. I taught her how to read music and she taught me how to listen. Heather most enjoyed playing small duets where the purely melodious lines connected in harmony, and classic melodies that we played in unison on the soprano recorder. Just weeks before her passing we played this carol together so well: 

"Es ist ein' Ros' entsprungen aus einer Wurzel zart.
Als uns die Alten sungen: Aus Jesse kam die Art;
Und hat ein Blumlein bracht,
Mitten im kalten Winter, Wohl zu der halben Nacht."

Diane Robitelle,  writes that while meeting over the year to study Rudolf Steiner’s lectures, The Four Seasons and the Archangels, Heather questioned “how to bring this spiritual knowledge into practical life.“ She expressed a longing to bridge this gap and “a struggle that’s essential to understand
.”  Diane wrote a poem, 'Opening', to accompany this article.  Click here to read it.


Netta said...

Thank-you, Henriette, that was a lovely tribute to Heather.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing, I was a friend of Muriel’s but never a friend-enough, read : Never good enough, I guess to invite me to one of her “gatherings”. Kaye