The Death of Lona Antoniades. The Death of an Angel

The news of the death of my dearest friend and mentor, Lona Antoniades, reached me this weekend. She was my violin teacher since i was 11 years old, and I spent 10 long and beautiful years playing music with her. My time in the Stellenbosch Youth Orchestra under her, and my time with her in lessons, in visits to her house, in talking and being, have made me who I am. She shaped my appreciation of life and all that is in it. To know that she is no longer with us, is to know that an angel departed this earth. I look back and am lucky to have such fond memories to treasure, but there is so much I want to tell her, thank her, praise her.

At the beginning of my freshman year, about 6 months after leaving South Africa, I sent her an email, thanking her for the impact she had on my life. I found it and read it again today, and in some ways it made this loss more bearable. In this message I expressed my deep regard and sincere love for this mentor of mine. It made me realize that I do not have anything to regret for not saying something to her before she died. She already knew how much I felt for her.

Lona, you have left us, departed from our little world. But you will always continue living in the people you affected to deeply with your life. I miss you so much, but I can open my violin case and almost hear you talking to me. You will remain in my memory as a sight of uplifting energy, throwing your arms up in rejoicing, with the final chords booming out into the audience. If I can make a tenth of your impact in this world, I will deem my life a great success.

I wish I could have been there, but the bittersweetness of leaving my home rises in my throat with such thoughts.

Goodbye, my deadest friend. Goodbye for now. Your body is gone, but your spirit lives with us still.

2 Comments

  1. Lydia-Marie says:

    Amen…

  2. Lydia-Marie says:

    Honored in Canada – her country of birth:
    ANTONIADIS Lona (nee McFadden) Lona Jane McFadden was born to Doris McFadden (nee Peacock) in Winnipeg, Manitoba on July 29, 1947; a feisty baby who knew her mind from her first breath. Lona’s early years were spent in a multitude of countries as the family followed her father Earl to Sudan (where her brother Phillip was born), England, Cypress and Kenya before settling in Southern Rhodesia in 1955. Lona was an exceptionally talented violinist. She was selected as a young teenager to study in England with Sidney Griller, first violinist and leader of the internationally renowned Griller String Quartet, and was one of few to practice and perform on his Stradivarius violin. On August 24, 1968 she married the accomplished concert pianist John Antoniadis and they moved to Stellenbosch, South Africa, where they both taught at the Stellenbosch University Conservatory of Music until they took early retirement in 2001. They continued to teach in their retirement, and to be involved in social and cultural development. Lona founded the Stellenbosch Youth Orchestra, which she lead and conducted for 30 years. She combined this with an annual fundraising performance for her other passion, the Stellenbosch Animal Rescue Society with whom she was very active. As his tribute to Lona, renowned British conductor George Michie will conduct her orchestra’s concert programs this October. Lona was very close to her family. Sharing her father’s high energy and sense of humour, together with her mother’s creative talents and sense of purpose, Lona left her mark on everyone with whom she came into contact. Regularly visiting her mother Doris in Canada, she enjoyed particular relationship with her sister Melanie (Ross) and niece Kathy Ross. These relationships were of great value and comfort to her in the late stages of her fight with cancer. At her passing she was surrounded by friends and family, sharing their love in scripture and prayer her 39th Wedding anniversary Aug 24, 2007. Lona is succeeded by her husband John Antoniadis an his sister and her family in South Africa; her mother Doris McFadden (Tsawwassen) and her sister Melanie Ross, husband Malcolm, and their children, Shaun and Kathy, all in Canada; and her brother Phillip McFadden, wife Helen and niece Lee Anne and her husband Chris all in Australia. The family would like to thank everyone who supported us through this difficult period and for the prayers that have surrounded Lona, who kept up her valiant fight unto the last breath. We are not human beings on a spiritual journey, but spiritual beings on a human journey, and we trust in God’s promise that we will be together again in His Kingdom for eternity.
    published in Delta Optimist [Last updated: 09/01/2007]