Earth Does not Belong to Us

Jane Dermody

An artist with vision and joy in life.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

On July 9, 2006, local Frenchtown artist, mother and wife, Jane Dermody departed this earth after a year-long struggle against cancer. She left behind her husband Michael, their two young daughters, Shea Martine and Erin Jane Dermody, her older daughter Tyler Elizabeth Nash, her mother and step-father and many, many friends.

Frenchtown already missed Jane when she and the family moved to their new home in Port St. Lucie, Florida last year. But she stayed in our minds and conversation. Everyone was concerned when we we got word of the cancer that challenged her very life. Often a conversation would begin with "How's Jane doing?"

A few years ago, Jane was instrumental in arranging support for another local woman who was diagnosed with cancer. Jane and their friends planned a wonderful fundraiser to help her. Fortunately for us all, her friend survived. We all hoped that Jane would as well. She deserved to. After raising her first daughter mostly alone, she had met and married a wonderful man and they had two lovely young daughters. They all needed Jane and still do.

Jane was blessed to have found a wonderful man. All who know him would agree that he is patient, thoughtful, wise and generally good company as well as a good husband to Jane and a good father to their daughters. For the past year - and even before this tragedy befell the family, Michael devoted his life and his time to caring for Jane and the girls. They made a touching sight, strolling through town together, the little girls in their little wagon, pulled by mother or father. It was the sort of image which represents a life lived well and filled with love and promise.

They lived along the river for nine years, in a house twice flooded before they moved south. Each time, they cleaned up and made repairs and life returned to normal along the river. Jane's studio itself is a work of art - a large garage beneath, a spacious studio high above. An interesting place to visit, its large windows looking out on the river she loved. Mike and Jane often hosted informal gatherings at their place along the river, with good food, good home-made music and comfort and friendship. Everyone who attended felt welcome and sensed the peace surrounding them all.

It is Jane's wish that her ashes be strewn from the Frenchtown Bridge. They will float down past her home, past her studio, flowing gently past the place she loved. Her friends and family will watch and weep and console themselves as best they can.

The photo at the top of this page was taken after the flood waters receded in September of 2004. Jane's garden suffered greatly after 4-5 feet of water flowed across it for a day, but her garden plaque, clearly stating that "Earth does not belong to us, We belong to the Earth", remained embedded where she had placed it, expressing her understanding of our place on this earth, and that we come, we go and the earth keeps on turning.

Well, it's hard to imagine how it will turn for us now, without Jane - and for Mike and the girls - young girls whose lives are forever changed after losing their beautiful young mother so early in their lives, and for Mike, who found Jane after they had both had many adventures in their own lives. It was a new life for them both - a life of love and promise, so sad to see it shortened in this way. But the girls will grow, and they will know the love of their father, and hear the stories of their mother - of her art, her love of life and the friends she made and kept and who will miss her forever...

A.R. 7/17/2006