AGE: 50 • Highland Park
The Beloved Wife of Raphael Montanez, Monique Ortiz-Arndt lost a six year battle with a metastasized breast cancer
. Monique passed away on Saturday, May 18th at 4:00 AM at Saint Peters Hospital Oncology Ward. At her request Monique's remains have been cremated. Following his wife Monique's instruction Raphael has arranged a Celebration of Monique's Life to be held at 2:00 PM on Sunday, June 2nd at the Jaqui-Kuhn Funeral Home, 17 South Adelaide Ave, Highland Park, NJ.
A flower draped urn containing the Ashes of Monique's remains will be present, as will a display of many photographs that speak to a celebration of her life. Knowing she was dying, Monique's hope was that her friends would be able to attend her celebration and say a few words in celebration of her. Flowers are welcome. Our hope is that you will be able to attend. We wish you the blessing of health and prosperity.
Celebration of Monique's Life
My Monique, my equal in every way is gone. The joy of my life is gone from me. My tears have a mind of their own. Her beauty, her smile, her power of spirit touched everything she did and filled our home. She could be strong; she could be bold. She was beautifully ambitious, from finishing a high school equivalency and went on to graduate from college, a Phi Beta Kappa.
She continued her studies to graduate with a Master's Degree. Monique fought bravely through the pain and suffering that cancer can be, never giving in; keeping that smile that said its ok God I understand, even as she took her last breath at 4:00 AM on Saturday May 18th. Everything Monique did with her art always spoke to spirit, whether it was her paintings, collages, assemblages, installations, photography and performances. She was a member of the Highland Park Artists Collective.
Monique came to America from Dusseldorf, Germany to study dance with Martha Graham.
Having roots in the Polish Culture, her father was Jewish, born in Poland and died of cancer, as did her mother who was Christian, born in Bohemia. In homage to her father, Monique joined the Polish Folk Dance Company and over a few years toured a number of dance venues including Carnegie Hall. I met this most wonderful love of my life at a museum in a crowded dressing room; we were both as everyone else preparing for our performance. I'm tall and the view over everyone's head was a tall woman, the lighting was focused on her. She was glowing and I had to meet her. I walked across the dressing room and hardly being able to speak I introduced myself and asked if she would exchange phone numbers with me. The rest is our history together.
Over our careers as artists, Monique and I performed a number of times together at a number of Museums in Europa and the USA. As visiting artists at a media center in Toronto, Canada, Monique and I had the opportunity to employ advanced technologies. Monique linked the audience to bio-feedback gadgets to operate the technology of the performance. Her favorite performance, Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall, where she voiced Humpty Dumpty and dropped eggs from the top of a tall ladder onto metal drums while I played a baby grand piano with an ax took place at the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC. Monique's creative life found expression everywhere.
She filed our garden with flowers of all kind. Monique chose flowers the way she chose gem stones at the craft stores for bracelets and necklaces, she designed. It was like participating in a workshop, I would watch her selecting gem stones of a particular variety of color and crystal structure to satisfy a specific jewelry design to meet a specific balancing of energy of color and crystal resonance that best served the esoteric balancing of the person from whom she was designing the necklace or bracelet.
Monique was also a very talented quilter. My Beloved Wife and Friend; it is so hard to go on without you beside me. So much is gone. I will keep trying to smile as I make this journey. I am consoled remembering the love we shared. I love you Monique, I miss you, your laughter, your smile, all that you are to my senses, and the spiritual warmth you filled my life with.
As a woman conscious of her vulnerability in a world of abusing men, Monique took the time to earn what to her was especially important: a Black Belt in Karate. Now you know why Monique and I rarely argued. Monique was a scuba diver and made deep dives of the coast line of countries around the world. Twice she escaped a scuba diver's death. Monique, You were my World. I know you will always be there telling me to take out the garbage, feed the cats and toads; take my shoes off as soon as I come in the front door.
I feel as though a part of me dies with you. I do know you will always be with me. I miss your touch, voice, thoughts, and your kiss. Your ideas, songs, the way you sleep, how you talked, and how you walked. Your smile, your laugh, love of rain, your intolerance of injustice. Your love of animals, all our pets: cats, turtles, toads, and goldfish. I miss our trips to the Chinese restaurant for Miso soup and Japanese sushi. I will always cherish the mystery and poetry of your art work. I will always remember your funny laughter where you were filled with joy, the energy, the special courage with which you fought the cancer for over 5 years. Our twenty years of marriage and birthdays that brought our love to a sensitivity and depth that so often surprised us. I will read this every day for the rest of my life.