Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Me and ??

The doorbell rang three months ago at this moment. I can still see those men on the porch. I can relive that night at any time. I can't stop it.

There are times when I don’t think I can take another breath without Mary. I don’t want the dawn to break, the sun to set, anybody to do anything. But there is another room in my mind becoming visible where I can see myself treading water amidst an ocean of memories . I may be able to stay afloat but I don’t have to go anywhere. Which is fine with me. Now if I can just get there. So much is happening so fast I don’t have time to point my sail in any direction. I think of so many things to say but never get close enough to paper to write them down and then in a snap, they’re gone. When will my mind quit reeling out of control?

Kerry moved the picture boards of Mary from our living room to the pool room downstairs. There are still pictures of her around just not the everyday life ones. Her stuff is still around the house, in the kitchen, my bedroom. I’ve been moving the boxes we got last month from the garage to the downstairs so I can go through them. It’s quiet down there and if I cry or moan no one hears me. I put a lot of her things in Mary’s giant wooden toy box. We had one make for each of the kids back when they were in grammar school. Julie took hers with her when she moved out, Danny’s is in his closet by his bed (not sure what’s in it) and Mary’s stayed down stairs. Many of her treasures were still here waiting for her to find just the right spot at her house for them. Now they’re all coming back.

Each one I see and touch creates a memory for me. They used to create dreams.

Tony is trying to leave on his cross country trip today. He’s been trying to leave for a few weeks but doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Now there’s nothing stopping him but him. Hopefully he can figure out how to tread the water of life and stay afloat. I’m here to help if I can. Some people say to us, “What would Mary want you to do?”, or “What would Mary say?”. I think she’d understand exactly what we are doing and why we are doing it. I think she’s still pretty pissed off at everything that’s happened. But only Tony would really know. And that’s why I leave him alone with his decisions.

Me? I’ll just keep trying to stay afloat until I can see Mary on the horizon showing me the way to go. Don’t know how long that will take but I do have patience for some things. I am not the person I was and I don’t want to be the person that I am but there’s not much I can do about it. Maybe later, in the far, far distance.

Far and wide, high and low
I search the earth for peace
Here and there, up and down
Shalom is just beyond my reach

Me: What the hell happening to me, I can hardly breathe?
?? you are on a new journey in your life
Me: duh!!
??: don’t be sarcastic, it’s a journey that will take you places
Me: yeah. Places I don’t want to go, places I don’t want to see
??: but you need to see them, you need to find them
Me: I don’t know how to make it any clearer – I DON’T WANT TO GO.
??: you have no choice
Me: why not? I can choose to do what I want to do
??: not this, you have to walk this path,
Me: can I take someone with me?
??: yes
Me: can I take Mary with me?
??: no
Me: Why not?
??: She has gone on another journey but if you listen you can hear her.
Me: Hear her? I don’t just want to hear her, I want to hold her.
?? You can’t
Me: Why not?
??: I told you, you are on a different journey
Me: Then who can I take with me
??: Others
Me: Geez, you’re a big help. So where am I going
?? I don’t know exactly. You’ll have to figure it out yourself
Me: why am I even talking to you if you can’t help me?
??: because you need to talk to someone
Me: you’re not a lot of help – it’s like talking to myself
??: exactly
Me: what?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Clay... I think not

We as parents ignite the spark of life creating a living, breathing being. We do so at our discretion, our timing, our whim. We are joyful at the birth of the little piece of humanity we started on its way. From here on, the debate between heredity and environment is unending. I, personally, believe a person’s life is like a slab of marble rather than a clump of clay. Somewhere in that marble slab is a statue of life and it’s up to us to sculpt away as our days turn to months and years. If we make a mistake and chip out too much marble or in the wrong place we have to live with that dent. We can smooth it over maybe so it’s not so noticeable or change that spot to be something else. If the chip is too large, well…. we just have to live with it.

The tools we use are the possibilities in life we are given. How well we sculpt depends upon the lessons learned through out life. It depends upon the resources we seek and the advice we choose to keep or ignore. I don’t know that anyone ever completes their statue, maybe a few people.

Mary’s statue had few mars or mistakes on it and it was far from being finished. She was not perfect by any means but she was much closer than I can ever hope to be. I have a lot of uh-oh’s in my statue. Julie and Danny are much the same as Mary. And that man who took Mary’s life, who murdered my little girl (yes, that’s how I feel) has just broken his statue in half. His can never be made to look anything close to its expectation.

We are not clay, we cannot start over again. We can only adjust, adapt, or accommodate.

I have to admit that the pain of reality is much more acute now, not so fuzzy all day long. I am fine for awhile, trying to concentrate on what needs to be done for the moment. Then, just like a bomb ticking it last tick, just like the doorbell ringing that night, the thought of life without Mary explodes in my chest and my fa├žade cracks a little more. I guess the truth will keep evolving as time goes by until it either envelops us or disintegrates. I don’t see either happening for the moment.

“Truth is just a point of view. Find one you like and run with it.”

Everybody’s dying
From the moment they are born
Some make it sooner
Some live till they are old

If life is so precious
Why give it to those who don’t care
Some try so hard to live
Life is so unfair

Yes, god did make the world go round
But that is where he stopped
He gave it to his people
Hoping they could get along

Now he watches them struggle
He cannot interfere
Some have no souls
Some just persevere

Am I holding on too tight
Am I afraid of letting go
Am I gearing up for a fight
That has no place to go

You are who you are born to be
People bring it out
They either sustain or hamper you
On your way through life

Life’s battles can’t be won or lost
You can only carry on
There is no win or loose in life
There is only right and wrong

Sunday, June 21, 2009

This is from Cindy...............

this is not mary but, what it is is a sample of what she was going to be,a bride. but before she could be wed she died on 3/31/2009.she was killed by a drunk driver.i don't know his name but, i do know it was a accident,a horrible accident.i don't know if he was sorry or not. all i know that my aunt is gone.......forever.No i will never,NEVER forget her. she is a beautiful young lady.she never lets an amazing opportunity down.NEVER!!!!!!!! everyone who knows her will never forget her. she was a cheerful little lady,always a kid in heart.her body died but her spirit lived in all of us whom have claimed to have known her. MY MOTHER SAYS:SHE WAS THE STICKY GLUISH STUFF,THAT HELPED PEOPLE, PLANTED FLOWERS,AND OF COURSE,NEVER,EVER GAVE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I am overshadowed by a haunting
Visions of that night flicker by

I am fighting resignation
Second by second the battle rages

I cannot accept defeat
For that would be admitting that you are gone

I will not agree to the acceptance of my life now
The burden of continuance is festering mightily

I am overshadowed by a specter
The image of what should have been

I am fighting for peace of mind
The calm before the storm is fading quickly

I cannot accept strength
If you’re too strong people think you can handle anything

I will not agree to quiet my tears
Life is uncomfortable for some, unlivable for others

I am overshadowed by a ghost
He follows me every step, every breath I take

I am fighting a war with hate
That four letter word is consuming my soul

I cannot accept any penance he offers
Regret, remorse, guilt – all meaningless to me

I will not agree to absolution of any kind
There is no mercy in my heart at this time

I am overshadowed by sorrow

Friday, June 19, 2009

I don't want....

This week has not been particularly pleasant. It’s probably the second worst week of my life. Anticipation is a real killer. I should be helping to join two people in marriage and instead I am helping to take one apart. How fickle is that?

I have been sitting here for days…. weeks…. months trying to convince myself that saying “Mary is standing right beside me” or “Mary is watching over me” or “Mary would have done this” or any of the other ways you can say it, will get me through all the heart ache. But it hasn’t. I don’t know if it will.

Their wedding was to take place in a similar locale as her celebration party; outside under the trees in a forest area, a stream in the background, with a tent, tables, and chairs. Not many cut flowers, just natural greenery and wild flowers. We were trying to find cabins for the out of towners coming. Mary had finally settled on Melissa as the photographer and we were working on the menu. She had such fun at her friends wedding last year when many of the guests brought all the food. Danny was going to marry them (she was working on the internet licensing details). Mary wanted the least cost and the most fun in the outdoors. And that’s what ticks me off the most. Her Celebration of Life Party was put together in the exact manner she had wanted her wedding to be. Everyone coming together to help, bringing things, telling stories, celebrating….. It was just celebrating for the WRONG reason.

I almost wish that man had been sitting there in the middle of it all seeing all the pain and hurt, destruction of lives, futures, but that day was not about vengeance. It was about Mary. My Mary. Our Mary. The love of Tony’s life.

I don’t know what we are going to do this weekend. I’m sure Mary’s fairly pissed off that she’s not having a wedding party. I figure she’ll be fighting mad for sometime to come. I would be. Actually, I am. I feel the same way I felt the first time I started writing. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him.

I don’t want....

I don’t want to have to change my life and I don’t want to “work it out”
I don’t want to live on memories or dine on pictures or sleep hoping you will be in my dreams

I don’t want to store your things in a chest sprinkled with moth balls
I don’t want to have to remind people who you are or tell them that you died

I don’t want to look into a future without your smile greeting me
I don’t want to dial your phone number and have someone else answer

I don’t want to always cry driving to work and back every day
I don’t want to have to force myself to eat or watch TV or laugh

I don’t want to talk to lawyers about “the case” or BAC or wrongful death
I don’t want to see the pain in the eyes of those who love you

I don’t want to leave the house always stuffing tissues in my pockets
I don’t want to know that you will always only be 28 years old

I don’t want to spend your wedding day knowing your dress is in the attic
I don’t want to talk about you using past tense verbs and adjectives

I don’t want to see your sewing machine sitting in a corner collecting dust
I don’t want to read the cards and letters you saved from days gone by

I don’t want to have to wear sunglasses when I’m grocery shopping
I don’t want to hear that while your door has closed someone else’s has opened

I don’t want to wonder what would have happened “if...”
I don’t want the world to go on without you

I do want to turn back the hands of time and change fate ever so slightly

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Say I love you.....

Here’s something up lifting and quite amazing. There is a GTF function called Art & Soul. I volunteered last year to help run it. A kidney recipient is the creator and his way of honoring his donor is to raise funds for GTF. Artists donate their art work and a silent auction is held. There’s food, music, beautiful art, and plenty of good friends (new and old) during the evening. Last year I bid on a painting called “Heart to Heart” – a modern work displaying varying shaped hearts on a canvas about 5 X 2. Two other heart recipients (friends) and a new friend whose wife was a recipient added their monies to mine and we bought the painting. It now hangs in the office of our heart coordinators at Emory. I find that very copasetic.

This year it is being held on Oct 1st . Mary has a few artist friends and I sent them the flyer and the artist’s agreement to see if they wanted to donate some art in honor of Mary. One of the artist friends works at Drake Software with Mary. Well………. within 3 hours she called me back to say she and probably 7 others wanted to donate their art and create a “table” honoring Mary. They are SO excited about doing this. I was speechless, and for me that’s saying something. The water works burst forth and I was barely able to say “Oh, my god, you’re kidding”. Mary’s friend said they had been trying to think of something to do for Mary, something to show to the world what an impact she has on their lives. There are painters, photographers, wood workers, potters, glass blowers, etc. I guess western NC is just bursting with artsy people. Mary’s natural artistic abilities were developing, too. She drew a portrait of the little girl she was a nanny to 4 years ago that still hangs in the parents’ house. Who knows how famous an artist she would have been.

The event is not held in a huge building like the one in February so any pieces of art that don’t sell (can’t imagine that) or there’s not enough space for will be used for the “Spring Training” event held at the Aquarium. Then we WILL have a table unto ourselves telling the world about Mary again.

Saturday I was again going through all the cards people gave us at Mary’s party or sent to us. All the beautiful words they have to say about Mary makes my heart swell. I am so proud of her. I can only take credit for helping her into the world. Who she became, the people’s lives and hearts she touched, her unselfish generosity, her high flying spirit, (I could go on and on) is all her doing.

I don’t ever want Julie or Danny to find out how many people love them from a situation like this. I know they also have touched many people’s lives. We all need to tell those around us how much we care and not wait till it’s too late. I can’t say that too many times and I will say it over and over. Take a second, a minute, 15 minutes….call someone, write a letter, send a text message, leave a note on the door……tell someone who might not realize how much you care that you do care. You can never say “I love you” to too many people or too often.

I say all this with tears streaming down my face. I have so many wonderful new friends. I opened Mary’s heart and they all poured out. My wonderful “old” friends are awesome too. I, too, feel well loved by family and friends even though I don’t deserve it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It still hurts so much

I’ve been sitting around all night trying to ignore my feelings. It’s not working.

First of all I HAVE to stop reading the local news. It’s all filled with sad, horrible events. More DUI deaths. Why didn’t I ever notice how many there were before? Do we naturally block out that which doesn’t directly affects our lives? Are we so sheltered that we don’t see what’s going on around us? Then there are the other incidents, shootings, stabbings, beatings, just outright meanness in general. What’s the world coming to? I know there’s goodness out there but they sure don’t put it in the news much.

Second, I HAVE to figure out what to next weekend. The closer it gets the more it hurts. It’s going to be that day all over again. I have good ideas of what to do but I just can’t get myself into the mood to make any plans or decisions. I’m not sure if either of us realized it was Father’s Day on Sunday. That would have been the first Father’s Day she has ever missed. But then, she might not have. We’ll never know.

We rearranged Mary’s room downstairs for Julie. Went through her closet and through all the boxes she had packed up from high school and college. Found pictures I hadn’t seen before. She was smiling in every single one of them. That girl never took a bad picture.

There was one of her laying on the hood of her car the day we bought it. It was beautiful, all clean and shinny and un-dented. She was almost 17 when we bought it on December 31st 1997. Oh, how she loved that car. Her last year of college the air conditioner died. We never fixed it. She said she didn’t need it because she didn’t drive around in the middle of the day. And when she drove to and from work she’d roll down the windows and let the fresh mountain air flow through. It was always cool in the mornings and evenings anyway. Every dent on her car had a meaning, a memory for her. I asked her several times these past few years when she was going to get a newer car. She was always having something fixed on it, mostly minor annoyances. Mary said “Never! I’m keeping it till the day I die”. She said that about a lot of things. I think it shows the passion she had for life. Mary was your friend “till the day she’d die”. Everything she said came true. Just a little to soon.

But now we know her passion and love will go on long after “the day I die”. It always sounded like such a long way off. Never thought it would be around the next bend in the road. Never thought it would be today.

Mary’s room is still Mary’s room. Only the bed has been moved. Her tea cups are still on the wall. Her book shelves still hold her movies and books she was saving. Her desk, dresser, stereo, cupboard are all still in place. Julie says it makes her feel like Mary’s in the room.

I watch TV to drown out the pain, I go to work to push her face out of my mind, I try to keep busy to keep from thinking about the reality of life without Mary but nothing helps. She’s always there tugging at my heart strings.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Today I realized that I do not have any recent pictures (in the last 6 months before her party) of Mary with any of us and not in the last year or so with Danny. We were always having too much fun to grab a camera when we were together. There maybe something on her video camera that Cindy took of us all on Julie's birthday party. I'll have to check.

Don't get caught in that situation. Always take a camera with you where ever you go. Don't loose that smile, that hug, that captured spark of life. It may be the last one.


Fleeting moments sneak right past
No one takes a notice
A wave, a pose, a hug good bye
Gone just like the lotus

Capture moments in a frame
For your memories to remain

Your hair, your smile, your warm brown eyes
Watching, guiding as my life proceeds
Frozen in forever time
Your love of life will not concede

Your smile burns like a candle flame
Into my heart when it grows cold
Follow me to all my spaces
To nudge your stories from my soul

Capture moments in a frame
Keep beside the stars of wain

Pictures, pictures everywhere
Trying to replace blind despair

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


When my kids were small I carried a big purse. It had in it all the necessities for the little emergencies of little people. I carried wipes, Band-Aids, aspirin, cough syrup, a wash rag, Kleenex, candies, Neosporin, sun tan lotion, a sweater, extra pair of shoes, needle and thread, a bottle of water (before it was the “in thing”), and I can’t remember what else. It was a big purse. We also had several throw blankets and small pillows in the back seat of the car.

When we were going through Mary’s closet sorting out clothes, several items were a toss up as to whether they belonged to Mary or to Tony or some friend who had left it behind. Julie said, “check the pockets. If there’s a Kleenex in them, it’s Mary’s.” Sure enough, there were wadded up Kleenexes in many of them, unused but nonetheless available for a needy nose.

The other thing Mary always, always had in her pocket was a tube of chapstick. She never went anywhere without it. She never bought a pair of pants or a jacket without pockets. In her back pockets she carried a man’s wallet with her id and cards in it and pictures of Cindy, Gabe, and Anna. In the other pocket was her phone, her life line to the people she loved, Her purse was used for those extra things you needed but didn’t have room for in your pockets. I always wondered what her purse would carry when she had kids.

I still have her wallet with all the cards in them. It was in her purse. Haven’t gotten her driver’s license back yet but I have an older one. Her purse is filled with Kleenexes but no chapstick. That was in her front pocket. I don’t know if she was wearing a skirt or pants. I assume pants since she left from work that night.

I didn’t know what to do the day they brought me her purse. I went through her wallet looking for guidance. There was her AAA card, the one she used when her friends would lock their keys in their cars. She would come to the rescue. I found her charge cards, insurance card, other cards. Who do I call? Who needs to know? Do I close accounts down, leave the open? I had no freakin’ idea what I was doing. Neither did anyone else. So I just blew my nose on the Kleenex in her purse. How convenient. How Mary. Taking care of me then and still taking care of me now.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

How do you say goodbye

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve let the weeds grow around Mary’s willow tree. So today I went down and raked the weeds away and put big rocks around the base, dusted off the stones people put there in her honor, and just sat down and cried. I am so tired of smiling at people, doing all the chores like nothing has happened, shopping, cooking dinner, laughing at a funny story like I’m interested, etc. It’s just not fun or interesting, there’s no motivation. I miss her so much it hurts all the time. Everybody’s life seems to be going on like they don’t realize she’s gone. I know everybody’s different and the rest of the world didn’t know her like I do, and my grief is more intense but sometimes I want to scream at people, “DO YOU ALL HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THE WORLD HAS LOST?” Will anyone but our family and her really best friends remember her in 10 years? In 20 years? In 50? Will she be just another “Uh-oh” in the annals of drunk driving events?

Does is sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself? Well, I am. I’m sorry Mary’s gone, sorry she won’t have a life with Tony and Tony will have a life without her. Sorry I won’t see the children she was going to have so they could play with Julie’s kids. Sorry I don’t have her around to bounce ideas off of, share stories with, trade recipes with, go on hikes with, and mostly right now…. get ready for her wedding with her.

Mary could have been the muse who helped her friend find a cure for cancer. She could have turned into a famous cook like Rachael Ray or Julia Child. She could have taken her handmade business she was starting and made millions of dollars. She could have done ANYTHING and now she can do nothing. Yes, sure, I can do it for her. But it’s not the same. It’s just not the same.

I hate that man so much I can taste it.

How do
you say
good by
to your destiny?

How do
you say
to your dreams?

Where do
you go
to get
your tomorrows?

Where do
you go
to start
a new spring?

How do you escape the memories that haunt you?
Where is the ladder to climb out of this abyss?
When will you reach the summit of acceptance?
Time, eternal healer, is that which you resist.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Today is for Rachael

Christine introduced me to the bracelets we wear for Mary. I have one for Rachael that I wear and Mary wore hers till the day she died, literally. She never took it off, even to shower, work in her garden, sleep. Even though Mary had never met Rachael, she had a great impact on Mary's life. Rachael was Danny's friend for 6 weeks in this life and forever now. They were linked in a bond few of us will ever understand. Mary said she wanted to remember what she stood for and honor her life.

When the funeral home called to say they had Mary and were getting ready to cremate her remains they wanted to know what to do with the little black bracelet she had on her wrist. They were quite surprised that the coroner who did the autopsy did not remove it.

I wear that bracelet today along side Mary's bracelet. And, I will never take them off either, to honor both of them.

June 6th, 2009, is one and one half years since it was confirmed by CT scan that Rachael had sustained irreversible brain damage and that they would be removing her from life support the next day. I love you Christine.

Wander'n Hearts

Wander’n hearts, wander’n ways
I can see you still through a wander’n haze

City lights flarin’ up in the skies
Makin’ a sight for my wander’n eyes

Time has stopped and my fortune’s read
No time to wait to remember the dead

Shadow’s fall and the days have ceased
Pain is dull but there is no peace.

Why…….is it hard to accept the truth?
Life has felled and there is no youth.

Wander’n hearts, wander’n ways
I can hear you still through a wander’n daze

The tinker is here but he cannot mend
Surrendering thoughts we must transcend

Carefully stepping in footsteps gone by
Barricade the soul and let the mind fly.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Little Bit of Mary

I’m sitting here staring at a Fat Tire beer knowing that Mary should be here at the Brave’s ball game right now. She and Tony were invited to her friend John’s birthday party at the game tonight. She would have taken a half day off and gotten here just before they had to leave for the game. Then she would have spent tomorrow and the weekend with me or Julie and the kids. I can’t decide whether to drink the beer or not. Mary liked Blueberry beer.

I wish I could explain how comforting it is to write about her, to write her name, Mary, to see her in my minds eye waving at me. Here she is not gone, she is sitting beside me. She is around the corner or down the hall, playing down at the creek with the kids or teaching Cindy to cook.

This weekend Julie and the kids are moving in with us and Mary’s not here to help reorganize downstairs. She has much more common sense about things like that.

I have managed to keep Mary in a side pocket this week so I could finish my tasks at work. It has been hard and I am tired. Carrying two faces around, two personalities, splitting a heart in two pieces just to complete a day is beyond anything I’d ever thought I’d have to do. So this weekend I will go to my wailing wall and release what anguish I can. Two weeks from tomorrow would be their rehearsal dinner for their wedding. It’s like counting down the days till the volcano erupts.

I still have to take her things out of the boxes we put them in. I just stare at them.

Just finished my 22oz beer. Cried, laughed, sighed, and am pretty much incoherent right now. I can hear Mary saying "oh, momma, go to bed".

Tomorrow is Danny's check up. His weight's up a little so we'll see what happens.

Little Bit of Mary

Everybody wants a little bit of Mary, something to remember her by.

Something they can cling to, more than just a memory,

Something that’s a part of her life.

Everybody wants a little bit of Mary, to carry with us where ever we go

Her blanket to wrap up in, her shirt to wrap around us,

A letter where she wrote “I love you”.

She touched us all in so many ways

Hearts unfolded under her gaze

Everybody wants a little bit of Mary, to share with the people we meet.

A cookbook with her fingerprints, her long dangly earrings,

A hat that she crocheted for wintertime.

But her rings and her shoes and her music and hats

Won’t be enough for a lifetime to last.

Our hearts must encompass the love that she spread

Stitching our souls with an unending gold thread.

Everybody wants a little bit of Mary, she already has a little bit of us.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Mary and Tony's house

I’ve been ruminating on the visit to Mary’s house. Each footstep I took was a measured action, a force of will, to accomplish. I was exhausted when we got back home.

The kitchen looked rather hollow. The frig was empty because you can’t keep food fresh for 2 months. The freezer was full and still is. Mary had left in a hurry that morning and dishes were still in the sink and pans on the stove. Danny was still sleeping so she was being quiet fixing her breakfast. No one ate much the next two days so the kitchen was left as it was. Carol washed the dishes the next week and cleaned out the frig. Thank goodness for aunts who know how to get things done. We stood looking at her cookbooks, the pantry with healthy foods and snacks, the Alaska kitchen towels, the hodge podge of dishes and glasses. Mary had pieces of two different sets of my old dishes and a complete set of her own. And a menagerie of glasses she had saved from college along with a memory for each one. Her three trash containers stared at us unblinking from the corner, one for paper, one for cans, and one for scraps for their compost pile.

I went through every drawer, every cabinet, every closet, every space looking for an answer before I went into her bedroom.

Have you ever been to an estate sale where they open the house to the public to go through? The relatives must be out of state because I can’t imagine any relative of mine letting any ole “Tom, Dick, or Harry” go through my personal effects even though I dead and gone. It always felt really weird to go into a strangers bathroom and see price tags on bags of soap (unused hopefully), the shower curtain that was still hanging up, or half used perfume bottles. People’s clothes still hanging in their closets with sizes pinned to them and their used shoes spread out for all to see. Even the desk drawers with old letters and empty whiskey bottles are bared to uncaring eyes. So, you ask, what was I doing there? Looking for furniture. But mostly, watching the remnants of someone’s life displayed on a platter while someone quibbles over the 25 cent price of a measuring cup. But, like Mary says, “don’t judge that which you don’t know”.

These are the things that your loved ones should sort through, or separate, or bundle up. These things are memory generators.

I made it into Mary’s room a few hours later. I laid across her bed and held on to her pillow. But it had been too long since she had slept there for me to perceive her scent. That made me cry. Some of her clothes were still packed in the bag she had brought with her to visit us. She hadn’t had time to unpack. Her jammies were on the bathroom floor along with her slippers. She could have just run out to the store for milk and we could have been waiting for her to return. We could have…. We should have been….

The Christmas decorations that she just took down in the middle of March were sitting in boxes in her closet. The red checkered house coat she wore all through college that Tony made fun of was hanging from a hook. I could go on and on and on….

We all ended up sitting on the floor in the bathroom going through her clothes we found, holding them, rocking back and forth, sniffing them just to see if we could feel her presence. I hope none of us took a picture of us. Between cries of sighing and hysterical laughter and moans and just plain sobbing, it was quite a sight to witness.

Almost everything was just as it should have been if she was in the garden weeding. I kept expecting to see the telltale “incense burning in the ashtray” or “tea kettle whistling on the stove” telling us she’ll be right back. She’ll be right back….

I found the case for the Jewel CD she was playing that night. It was the last thing she heard……..I hope, I really, really hope it was.


I didn’t know you long enough to appreciate your beauty.

I didn’t see your smiles enough to comprehend their message.

I never could see the world through your warm brown eyes.

I only caught a glimpse of my life with you in it.

I didn’t get to hold your hand long enough to hang on.

I didn’t get to walk with you through the trails of a lifetime.

I never had a chance to dance with you on your wedding day.

I only caught a glimpse of my life with you in it.

Sorrows stain the promises of what could have been.

Regret distorts the memories spinning in my heart.

I didn’t get to hum with you while you were sewing.

I didn’t get to fly with you across the cloudless skies.

I never heard you say a word that wasn’t filled with kindness.

I only caught a glimpse of my life with you in it.

I didn’t get to help you make that dinner we were planning.

I didn’t get to visit you across the ocean blue.

I never saw your dream come true, making handmade treasures.

I only caught a glimpse of my life with you in it.

I only got to see the beginning of what was to be

the wonder, joy, and sharing of love with the girl named Mary.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mary and Tony's house

I have just witnessed the dismantling of the rest of the physical manifestation of the being we call Mary. It was unnerving. I couldn’t get out of the truck when we got there. Couldn’t open my eyes. I didn’t want to see the house without Mary standing on the porch, with her arms wide open, saying “me-ma! You’re here! Yeah!”. Kerry left me alone and went on to make his peace. He was here when we met with the DA for the first time. This time wasn’t any easier. I didn’t want to go, couldn’t go.

After awhile I crawled out, with eyes down, and walked around the yard looking at all the trees and plants. The grass was tall enough to play hide and seek in. It has rained so much in the last two weeks Donnie wasn’t able to cut it. I met up with Julie and Melissa at the garden. There in one of her raised garden boxes amid the grape vines were lettuce plants. She told me when she was here for Julie’s birthday that she had just finished planting lettuce, sweet peas, and pepper plants. Big beautiful lettuce plants ready to eat. Carol had already picked a few last time she was there. We picked the rest, ate the pea pods from the sweat peas, and picked some wild flowers that had grown up. All this amid our tears, drippy noses, breaking hearts, and sighs of anguish.

I kept walking around the yard. I found “Choda’s spot”, as Mary called it. It’s not marked but I could tell where it was. She would lay her flowers over him once in awhile. I walked over to the rock fire pit where I was once attacked by yellow jackets. They flew up my long dress I was wearing. That was quite as sight to see and remembering it made me smile even though I didn’t want to. Finally made it to the porch where yellow jackets had made a next in their grill. Usually there is daily activity on the porch, coming and going, doggies playing, cooking out down below…. No time for anything to make a nest. But not anymore.

Walking in the house took my breath away. I can see why Tony almost passed out. It was just as if she was in the bathroom and I waiting for her to come out. Sewing machine poised ready to sew her purses. She had taken up spinning and the “yarn” she had made was laying on the table ready to be picked up. We all sat in the living room looking at everything, soaking in what the essence of Mary, of Tony, of their life together. We looked at the books and cd’s on the coffee table. We were babbling on and on, remembering moments with Mary, laughing and crying at the same time.

On the table beside the kitchen door lay her gloves, hats she wore, grocery list on a torn piece of paper, spare keys, pieces of her every day life. I wonder if she was wearing a hat that night. The only piece of clothing I got from her car was the jacket she had brought. It was probably lying in the seat beside her with her purse, her black and silver handmade purse she loved. The funeral home destroyed everything she was wearing including her shoes. They said we would not want them back, they were unusable. Just like her. People often talk about “the body” instead of the person after they’ve died. I can’t separate the two. I ask myself over and over, where was that special spiritual connection we think we have with people in our lives that should have told me INSTANTLY that something happened. Should have woke me from my sound sleep that night at the instant she realized what was happening. I should have heard her cry out in my dreams and sat up in bed. It’s a common question I’m told. Why couldn’t I feel her in my soul?

This is all I can write for now.

The stars in the sky are my eyes watching over you.

The sun in the day is my smile shinning down.

The breeze on the hill tops are my hugs surrounding you.

The songs of the birds are my laughter floating around.

And with each breath you take, my love abounds.