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Edmonton senior brings joy to others during pandemic with her artistic touch

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Micheline Gomez felt isolated and lonely during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown so she decided to keep busy by making colourful cards. Gord Steinke has her story – Oct 7, 2020

Ninety-year-old Micheline Gomez felt isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, missing her friends and family.

“I feel sorry for the people affected by the lockdown. We lost our freedom, don’t you think?” she said.

Read more: Edmonton seniors’ centre reopens to help with socialization through COVID-19

Gomez decided to keep herself busy by hand making colourful cards with flowers, hearts and butterflies, along with a lot of sparkles and lots of love.

“It’s great. I got addicted to it,” she said with a smile. “When I can’t sleep at 2 or 3 in the morning, I get up and go to my table and make cards.”

Micheline Gomez, 90, is making cards during the pandemic. Oct. 2020.
Micheline Gomez, 90, is making cards during the pandemic. Oct. 2020. Gord Steinke, Global News

Each card comes with an inspirational message handpicked by Gomez.

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“When they open the card they smile. That’s very important to me. I want people to feel good.”

Gomez picked up one of her cards and read one of her messages: “Friends are flowers in the garden of life. I think that’s very nice.”

Read more: Coronavirus: How Edmonton seniors are coping with self-isolation

At first, she began by giving away her cards to family and friends but as they started piling up — over 3,000 of them — she needed to look elsewhere.

“I gave away maybe 200 and I then I thought, ‘They don’t need my cards so why don’t I look for a charity?'”

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So, that’s exactly what she did. Gomez delivered her cards to many charities around Edmonton, including the No Stone Left Alone Memorial Foundation.

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No Stone is a not-for-profit organization where young students lay a poppy on soldiers’ headstones to mark Remembrance Day. The foundation’s communications coordinator Michelle Koch said the cards are warmly received by volunteers and sponsors.

“We’re really grateful for that.

“She’s just such a generous and joyful spirit and her connection to sharing with charities really connected with us,” Koch said.

Canadian veterans will also be receiving her cards this Remembrance Day.

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Soldiers have a special place in her heart. Gomez and her family lived through the horrors of Nazi occupation in her hometown in France during the Second World War.

“They came and saved France, especially the Canadians. We have such a respect for the Canadians,” Gomez said. “I say to people, ‘I hope you never feel the fright that I did.’ I don’t wish that on anybody because it’s almost unreal.”

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Micheline Gomez, 90, is making cards during the pandemic. Oct. 2020.
Micheline Gomez, 90, is making cards during the pandemic. Oct. 2020. Gord Steinke, Global News

Gomez hopes her handmade cards and inspirational messages will make a difference and help brighten people’s lives in these difficult times – even though she says, with a smile, her cards are not perfect.

“I hate to tell you but all my cards are crooked,” Gomez said with a laugh. “I tell you why: I have a hard time with my vision but I just want people to feel good.”

Gord Steinke with Micheline Gomez, 90, who is making cards during the pandemic. Oct. 2020. Global News