Into the Light, Elise Okrend, pastel, 24×20
Closure On A Missing Hiker’s Journey, Healing Through Art
Sometimes there is a divine intervention that leads us to find what we need in that moment. Here is a story about how Elise’s art and the book, Messages to the Heart, Reflections of Beauty and Truth brought a sense of healing and peace to one family that recently gathered in Asheville to grieve and celebrate the life of a woman, Geraldine Largay. Geraldine had been missing for over 2 years after embarking on a hike along the Appalachian Trail. She was feared dead, and after extensive searches, her body was finally located along with her journal in the Maine woods in October, 2015.
In mid May 2016, Geraldine’s sister and close friends gathered in Asheville to remember and celebrate her life. Just before leaving to return home, they stopped into the River Arts District and visited the Wedge Building. They came into Elise’s studio, and the sister was immediately struck by one of Elise’s giclee prints, “Into the Light”. The art reminded her of her sister’s journey and she immediately felt a connection to her sister through the art. While Elise was speaking with the sister, her friends were looking and reading passages from the book, Messages to the Heart. The book and its healing passages spoke to them. One friend purchased books for each of their group to take home. Geraldine’s sister purchased the “Into The Light” print. Geraldine’s sister told Elise that she was now part of this story and that her art brought peace and closure to this emotional journey.
Geraldine’s Story In National Media
A few days after Geraldine’s sister and freinds unexpectedly came into Elise’s studio, articles appeared in the New York Times, CNN and other National Media about Geraldine’s journey on the Appalchian Trail.
AUGUSTA, Me. — She was afraid of being alone and prone to anxiety, a diminutive 66-year-old woman with a poor sense of direction, hiking the Appalachian Trail by herself, who wandered into terrain so wild, it is used for military training. She waited nearly a month in the Maine woods for help that never came.
Geraldine A. Largay chronicled her journey in a black-covered notebook that summer of 2013, and she kept writing after she lost her way, even as her food supply dwindled along with her hopes of being found. Her last entry reflected a strikingly graceful acceptance of what was coming. Read The Full Article.
What is striking also is that Geraldine’s last journal entry was August 18, 2013. August 18th is Phil’s birthday. A coincidence? a sign? What we are taking from this is that there truly is a divine light that shines, that heals, that comforts. We are humbled and grateful that this art, that these words are serving a higher purpose to help others.