Paula Lind

Paula Lind

Oct 5th 1966 — Jan 14th 2023 (56 years)


Paula Martene Lind died on January 14, 2023, by her own hand after a long struggle with mental illness. She was 56. Her death came 10 weeks after the death of her mother, Jane Lind, from pneumonia and heart failure. Paula said at Jane's memorial that her mother had been “a lifeline, showing me love and reminding me of reasons to keep going.” Paula was born on October 6, 1966, in York, Pennsylvania. A year later, her family moved to Toronto and later became Canadian citizens. Paula spent for the rest of her life there. A gifted artist, Paula studied art at Central Technical School and Ontario College of Art. She exhibited in numerous group exhibitions and worked as an animal portrait artist. In an artist's statement for her first and only solo show, in Toronto in 2011, she wrote:

”I hope in viewing my work you will allow the non-human figures to have their own existence, and not see them simply as symbols of human emotions or dramas. I think there is a failure in imagination and empathy when non-human animals are viewed as nothing more than substitutes for something human.”

It would be an understatement to say that Paula was an animal lover. She lived with companion animals all her life and, with deep compassion, cared for them, drew and painted them, sewed beautiful stuffed-animal portraits of them. She also attended Sheridan College to earn a veterinarian technician degree and worked for the Toronto Humane Society and animal clinics in Toronto. Paula suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, caused by grievous abuse by a teacher in her teenage years. Her illness gained an upper hand in 2012 and forced Paula to give up her profession. She lived with the assistance of Ontario Disability Support Program for her remaining years. Those who knew Paula will remember her humour, her spirit, her smile, her creative energy, and her passion for life. Bereft, among her other friends and relatives, are her brother Gareth, her sister-in-law Christel, her nephew Jordan and her father Loren. Her cat Tempo, which had been lost during her weeks at the hospital and which she found days before she died, is in good hands. Paula Lind's memorial will be held on April 22, 2023, 1 pm, at Spadina Museum, 285 Spadina Rd, Toronto, a place she loved. We will be broadcasting via Zoom. Check back here the week of the memorial for a link. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Women’s College Hospital Foundation and Ontario SPCA and Humane Society.

Notes of Condolences about Paula

Raquel Barreto Rivera

5 hours ago

Message for Paula 1966-2023

Bobbing for apples at your birthday party. One year, faces submerged in a gigantic metal tub; another year, trying to snatch them from the air as they spun and swayed on strings, tied among the tree branches.

You taking all the green peppers from Mom’s plate of crudités and being told to put some back. You loved green peppers.

You were quiet but you didn’t hide yourself, like many of us did. You were the same, where ever you were, whoever was doing the talking. Maybe you were stubborn, if I took a parental view. You were definitely quirky.

But maybe the times were to blame: Remember that phase when you insisted you were a boy—what would we all make of that today? In 1970s psych-parlance it was chalked up to ‘Envy’.

Years later, the shock of reunion during a drawing class at university—both of us hurting from still-fresh wounds of our school days. And you naked, on the model’s dais.

We talked afterward though; you were braver than me. You filled me in on your news, the way you would in occasional emails, decades on.

In those emails we’d recommend each other books, talk art and healing. You were tormented about our wounds—childhood wounds stay with us, don’t they? We shared our different perspectives.

Who was Paula? If someone asked, I’d say you were steadfast. I’d say: trust Paula to be herself always, and hence, to never betray anyone else. As a child, hot-footing it along ever-shifting forces, policies, and political favourites, a little friend like Paula was a rock among feathers.

I remember being bullied in the circle: told I had no true friends, that I should look around and name just one. Everyone was there, but there was only one kid I knew would stand against the battering winds, who wouldn’t let me down: “Paula,” I told him, just before I burst into tears. And he knew I was right about you, because he backed off. He didn’t prompt you for a response.

I think I assumed we would meet again; in Toronto, or here in Montreal. I assumed we’d talk in person about these things some more, and—better still—talk about what was good now, and for the future.

Now we can’t do that, maybe I still have hope:

I hope I was, in some feathery way, a bit of a touchstone for you, Paula. And I hope you are at peace.

As a postscript, I saw Jane’s obituary in the newsletter of The Writers’ Union of Canada just a few days ago. My first thought was to write my condolences to Paula. But then I reconsidered, better not to stir any pots I can’t settle. Better wait until she emails me.

Like I say, I’m not as brave as Paula.

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Raquel Barreto Rivera

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