SEATTLE – To the family that owns Couth Buzzard Books in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood, there are two things in life that never die: art and love.
Art fills every corner of their humble bookstore.
And love fills every inch of their broken hearts.
Just over a year ago, their daughter Ruby Lhianna Smith, 18, passed away after a 9-month battle with a rare and fast-moving cancer.
“Ruby said many times, the saddest thing for her is leaving the people she loved,” said Theo, her father.
But art and love filled her life – even from the hospital bed where she spent her final months. Using black-and-white film, she documented the world around her bed – the hidden shadows of cancer. Powerful images that included the friends, medical professionals and equipment that surrounded her each day.
Her pictures even inspired a photography class for other teens battling cancer. It was called “The Ruby Project.”
And that is not all. Around the one-year anniversary of Ruby’s passing, her parents released a CD filled with music that was performed by and inspired by their daughter. Her friends and relatives piled into the bookstores, listening to Ruby play the bass, along with a special song created years ago by her dad, built around the sound of Ruby’s actual heartbeat.
“It’s just another way of carrying on Ruby’s legacies and helping to heal our sadness around her death,” said Kate Smith, Ruby’s mother.
Toward the end of the evening, the entire group sang a song written in Ruby’s honor. The chorus:
“Ruby… Ruby… Oh, what a beautiful life you left behind.”
Proof that art and love truly never die. In fact, they are the two things that make Ruby’s memory live on.