The other day, after boohooing about my fridge breaking, and giving merry hell to the poor young repair guy who made the mistake of plonking his tool box down on my sterilized surfaces, I spent the better part of the next hour gaining perspective and being reminded that Love and Light are the only things that really matter in this sometimes frustrating, sometimes heartbreaking world.
This story starts one Thursday evening last summer at the Sidney Street Market. Apparently I sold a kilo bag of Morning Chorus to a woman named Shar. I like to chat with my customers, but I sell to A LOT of people, and Shar didn’t register on my radar. Flash forward to January 2017 when I get a message from Shar wondering where she can find another kilogram of her favourite granola. I offer to deliver as she lives a few blocks away from where my kid does roller derby. I deliver, she posts on Facebook, I like her, she likes me, and suddenly we’re friends. As is always the case with FB, it starts out superficially. But then I start to notice her posts. I see she is selling clothing with her own First Nations art designs. I like her designs. I like the stories she tells that go with the designs. I realize I probably like Shar.
Then I go to Shar’s website and this is where I learn about Jordan from her blog. This is when I realize that Shar is a remarkable woman and I would like to get to know her better and support her business through my own. Shar’s business grew from tiny cracks of light shining in the darkest place, and now it is flourishing. Shar is an inspiration to someone like me who can get so easily bogged down by menial things like broken fridges.
On the day my fridge cacked out, I had arranged for Shar to come by the kitchen so I could interview her for this post. She brought her eldest “grandie” – a delightful 12-year old boy by the name of Kato. From her blog post "Creating Peace from a Broken Heart", I already knew that Shar’s youngest son Jordan had died at the age of 18 in a car accident. In her beautifully written piece, Shar conveys the vulnerability and heartache that only a mother who loses a child can experience. Sitting in my kitchen, while Kato quietly devoured a bowl of granola, Shar told me stories of her difficult childhood with a father who was emotionally damaged from his time in the Residential Schools. She told me about meeting Bob (her husband) when she was 11 years old and knowing it was love at first sight. She told me how she left the reserve and her difficult household at the age of 15 and worked hard to learn accountancy then, later, to get her real estate license. She told me how, from rough beginnings, she created a very successful, happy and comfortable life for herself and her family. On October 9th, 2009 when Jordan tragically died, Shar went from a place of comfort and happiness to the darkest place a woman can go. Suddenly, her life as she knew it, had completely crumbled, and along with it went her ability to work.
Shar and her eldest "grandie" Kato visit me at my kitchen.
After hitting rock bottom in 2012, she slowly started to climb back up. Needing to earn an income, Shar tapped into her previously un-explored creative side. Inspired by a First Nations frog design she saw on flip flops that were made in Vancouver, Shar spent her last $200 to buy a bunch of these flip flops and posted them on Facebook to see if she could sell them. They all sold in one day and Shop with Shar was born that day in 2012. After a spell of buying and selling other people’s designs, Shar realized that she could improve her earnings if she just designed the art herself. With no art background, Shar learned how to use Adobe Illustrator. Having only been a digital designer for the past 3.5 years, she has created well over 100 designs. These designs have come out of a dark place, a place of vulnerability, but they are designs of love and light and hope. These designs are based on First Nations stories or personal stories, and have powerful messages. These designs also came from an appreciation of the love and light others shared with her during her darkest hours, and now, Shop with Shar is a way for her to give back to her sisters. Shar has created a line of clothing that is intended to remind all wearers that they are beautiful.
Hummingbird, Love and Light. Hummingbird reminds us how beautiful we are. Love and Light is the message we must share with each other in dark times and all times. Dedicated to all Moms who have lost a child.
“If it makes you feel beautiful when you wear it that is all that matters. Each piece of art comes from meditation and love. Loving everybody has made life simple, but it is a work in progress. My goal is to get into a place where I am always coming from love.”
This story is about honouring Jordan who would be 25 years old today. This story is about my new friend and inspiration, Shar Wilson who has found a way to swim out of the darkness and into the light through the love and loss of her youngest child and through her creativity. This story is about how a single bag of Singing Bowl Granola created this connection that has reminded me that, in the end, Love and Light are all that really matter in this sometimes frustrating, sometimes heartbreaking world.