Friday, July 31, 2009


Four months right now, and counting.

This is from 3 years ago at Chilkat Lake in Alaska where Tony proposed to Mary. She was taking one of her famous "arms length" snap shots.


Time heals? Time dulls? Time stops? Never
Rewind time into the blessed past

Time doesn’t wait. It keeps pushing and shoving
Swallowing you up as it goes along its way

Time doesn’t lie. It spits out the truth
And waits for no man to understand

And if time has the answers I sure wish it would slow down
So I can catch up and turn back its hands

Time doesn’t sing. It doesn’t make a noise.
Songs of forever are not on the menu for me

Time only keeps moving and moving
Giving me no place to go and no place to sleep

Why can’t it wait till I catch my breath
Wait till I find my love
I know she’s right here on the other side of its face

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Many years ago I was visiting a very close friend when she was informed by phone that she lost her sister. She was killed by her husband. Their religion did not accept divorce and so her sister was told to try to “work things out” with her husband, that was the woman’s place. My friend immediately disavowed her religion and turned to one that believed in reincarnation. I did not understand back then. I do now. Unfortunately, we lost touch with each other shortly after that. I have never forgotten the look on her face or the eerie wail her soul burst forth when she listened to the message. I often wonder if she ever found her sister again. I have looked for her name off an on over the years. She had a daughter two years before I had Julie.

I think I’m stuck in a rut right now. I started listening to music on my way to and from work. Mary and I liked much of the same country sounds so many of the songs remind me of her to the point of tears but I listen anyway. I like the volume up loud to drown out other sounds – mostly my singing – and it helps me not think about the crash. I just can’t get that picture out of my mind. When I’m not listening to music and it’s quiet in the truck thoughts hound me – Mary is gone….Mary is dead….You’ll never see Mary again….etc. It’s almost like someone is stalking me and reminding me, lest I forget (ha) that my life is forever different and can never be relied on again. I can get pretty pissed off arguing with myself but then, almost like a tidal wave, the feeling of loss, that horrible, explosive feeling I felt at 2:30am on March 31st when the police said “there’s been an accident”….crashes down and I’m gasping for breath, shaking my head and saying to myself, No..No..No.. If people in other cars actually took the time to look at me in this state they might call 911 and report someone having a seizure. THAT’S why I wear sunglasses all the time.

It is true that when I am so busy doing everyday things and “taking care of business” you don’t have time to be sad. But the second the business stops, it all pours in, concentrated like clothes detergent, and it’s almost to much. I don’t want to force myself to create busy-ness just so I won’t feel the pain. I know some people do get through life this way. I don’t want to. I want to be able to relax one day.

I can even be comical at times now, and get very animated about current situations in my life. But after the initial conversation, when you pause for thought, my shoulders sag, my face frowns, and I go right back to “that place”. I know my friends can see it when we are together. And I feel bad for them having to look at me this way.

We are definitely going back to NC this weekend. Just couldn’t get going last weekend. What’s left at the house now is like leftovers on the turkey carcass. Not really part of Mary, just pieces of the togetherness they once shared. Maybe it would have been easier for me if Tony had stayed in the house and all her things were still there. He couldn’t and if I were him I probably couldn’t have either. But, Kerry’s dad kept all his mother’s clothes in the closet till long after he remarried and divorced and moved back in to the house. To each his own.


I saw the flowers in your yard today, their scent just like perfume
Herbs and peppers in your garden by the road are growing strong
The cherries and the apples have loaded down the trees
But your house is cold and dark and lonely now that you’re gone

My friends are here to comfort me, I see their out stretched arms
The sun shines bright and the rain refreshes this soul of mine in need
Cookies baking smell of memories made, children’s laughter fills the air
Love is all around me but still I feel an abyss so deep it’s frightening

I listen to your favorite songs on the radio with tears in my eyes
Loud music will sometimes vanquish the ache that hurts beyond words
I go out with friends and talk a lot, mostly about you and life before
But I don’t surrender to the reality that you are now an echo deferred.

Someone has cheated the world of your goodness and smiling face
It was not “life”, not “god”, not “fate” but none, for you, have intervened
Someone made a terrible choice, too horrific to completely grasp
And so the world is a sadder place and the lives destroyed, scream.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Undefinable Peace

Facebook is a very strange and alluring animal. You get a little peek into everyone’s life of those who’ll let you in but not enough to truly understand what’s going on. Sort of like the beginning of a movie, except this one never ends. It connects me with my friends but it constantly reminds me that life is indeed moving on, with or without me. Sometimes I just let it go on by, don’t read anything for days. Then when I do, tons of my friends have sent me hearts, candy, food, hugs, all that FB stuff, reminding me that they know I’m lagging behind and are waiting for me to catch up. Guess I’m just walking a little too slow for the world. But they are walking slow for me.

Today Cindy asked me “do you think Mary really died before she was burned?” Kinda took me off guard. So we started talking about the crash site. I do not, and will not, call it an accident. It was an intentional, willful act of irresponsibility, stupidity, and total lack of caring. It is, as the law states, “vehicular homicide”…..that’s a nice way of saying murder.

Anyway, she wanted to know if Mary could have survived the crash without anyone knowing it and was alive but then was cremated. So, I explained the chronological order of events. We did not tell the kids about Mary until the Friday before her party. They were in school and we wanted them to continue as normal as possible even though their mommy was at Grammy’s house and not at home. I stared crying a little while I was telling her and when I turned to face her she asked “Why is your nose red?” (a family trait). She hugged me and said, “Don’t cry Grammy. I don’t want to make you cry. I won’t ask anymore questions”. I told her she can ask me anything she wants to ask but along with answers sometimes come tears because I miss Mary so much. But I love talking about Mary and I want her to remember Mary forever. She asked if I went to see Mary before she was burned and I told her no because I wanted to remember her as the beautiful, happy, loving person she was. Not what she looked like with her body all broken and hurt after the crash. I told her Mary’s ashes were in a can decorated with lots of dancing ladies dressed in long dresses all around the sides. It goes along with the “I hope you dance…..” song from her party. Cindy loves to sing and dance and is constantly humming something if she isn’t talking.

I showed Anna a picture of Julie and Mary with Anna strapped to her back climbing the trail near Mary’s house. Anna called out Mary’s name when I asked “who is that”, without any coaching or anything. She hasn’t seen her in 3 ½ months, the longest it has ever been in her life, and she hasn’t forgotten Mary’s face.

Tony and Nicole are still in Wyoming and scattering Mary far and wide across the mountain tops. I truly hope he can find some peace amongst the trees and clouds. I hope I can, too. I hope we all can.


Peace is a river running through my soul
Sometimes it's raging, sometimes it’s cold
And sometimes the rapids are too big to control

Peace is a mountain guarding the night
Not to be scaled to its endless height
And not to be skirted in the twilight

Peace is a rainbow whose end you can’t find
Always teasing and tricking my finite mind
Constantly changing its colors entwined

Peace is the moonlight serene and pale
Covering me gently like a shadowy veil
Only to have sorrows' darkness prevail

Peace is a rain drop, so small and so pure
One changes nothing while too many obscure
The sound is calming but doesn’t endure

Peace is a willow rustling in the wind
Bending and twisting ready to transcend
Never stopping or resting until the end

Peace is a butterfly that never alights
Always dancing and swaying just like a sprite
And this is the reason I just sit and write.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What say??

As I have perused the internet blogs other people have written I’m finding many by parents who have lost a child. Their children have all been babies or grammar school ages. I have not found any writing about adult children. They are all wondering what would their children have grown up to be, what would they be like as a teenager, as an adult, etc. And here I am able to answer most if not all these questions regarding Mary. Yes, she lived longer than their children but it still wasn’t long enough. It should have been 98 not 28. It doesn’t make it any less painful, less agonizing to loose an adult child. She is still my child, my baby, my sweet little girl. I was 28 when Mary was born. Ironic or piss ant poor?

How many sentences are started with the words “well, at least you had …..”. This is supposed to make me feel better? I haven’t gotten to the reality plane where I can see the positives of this situation. I try to celebrate her life but all I can do is cry for what I’ve lost. I can’t see the other door opening. I can’t see any good that is coming out of this bad. Maybe my point of view is tainted. Maybe if I could have said goodbye. But that would mean she would have had a terminal illness or some such awful thing, which is no more acceptable. Maybe if she would have been 72 and had lived a good long, inspiring, happy life. Of course that would mean I’d be 100 and I’d probably have long gone. But that’s ok – I’m not supposed to out live my children.

It has also been suggested that even if I could change the outcome, if Mary had not died at this moment in her life, she could possibly have had a more painful, lingering, or horrific death than what did happen. I’m not quite sure how to take this statement. What could be more horrific than to have a 7 ton pickup truck land on you and squish you to death by breaking every bone in your body and crushing the life out of you, while you know what’s happening? THAT’S the image I see all the time. I haven’t seen any pictures of the scene but I know, I just know. So, YES, I would change the outcome, in a split second. And why would I even consider the option that this kind of death is better than what could have happened in the future? She would have lived to a ripe old age. I guess people just don’t know what to say so they say something, anything to try to make you feel better. A hug would have sufficed.

I’m so freakin’ tired of my mind playing tricks
I see you in front of me when you don’t exist
I hear your voice when you are no more
I end up on my knees, crying on the floor

The light of day turns dark so fast
I feel your touch but it does not last
I smell your scent when you are out of sight
When will this dark turn into light?

My senses are broken and all confused
I need to borrow a heart that’s unused
One that is hard and not easily broken
One that can absorb the words unspoken

Unused hearts are a dime a dozen
And for that there’s a very good reason
I’ll use one up every single day
Just to keep the freakin’ pain away

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some vague ramblings

Resources for the Newly Bereaved” - this is a reference book on the Compassionate Friends sight. IS there an "Oldly Bereaved"?
Remember the movie “Beetle Juice”? There’s a book in the movie called “Guidelines for the Newly Deceased”. Wonder if there really is a book like that.


I don’t seem to be able to get beyond the current hurdle/road block on this journey. I can’t see beyond the fact that Mary will always be 28. I’ll grow older, watch the kids graduate, move to a new city, break a leg, cook dinner for 40 people, whatever….. I will continue to get older and she won’t. Is this a good/bad thing? Memories will always have the same smiling face even when she would be 60 with gray hair.


I just keep doing things that have nothing to do with her life just to get through the days. How many years can I keep doing that? If I stop for even a second the memories overpower me and I fall apart. If I’m doing something directly related to her like looking at pictures or going through her things, I can last for a few minutes before the insanity of reality hits. Then I have to stop.


It’s storming out tonight. The mighty and threatening thunder is voicing my feelings for me. The rain is the tears I have yet to shed.


I was shopping at Walmart last weekend (Mary did not like to shop at Walmart much but she went with me when I’d go.) and ran into a neighbor I hadn’t seen in quite a few years. She lives down the road a few houses from me. What does that say about my neighborly condition? I think there are quite a few people living in our neighborhood that have been here around 30 years like we have. I only know 2 or 3 of them. And it’s NOT a big neighborhood. That should embarrass me, but somehow I don’t think it does. Life is complicated.


As I watch TV or read a book or article I am drawn to ordinary every day words that jump out at me. These words are common and normally you read right by them. But now they cause instant prickles down my spine. They feel out of place on my tongue.

order, comprehend, prepared, change, stop, time, continue, safe, protect, future, plan, happy, trust, justice, peace, reason, positive and the list goes on and on and on


I cannot feel
I do not speak
Truth is unreal
So I do not think

Monday, July 20, 2009

Trust in who?

Last week was very uncomfortable for me, mentally and physically. I tried to write but happenings just kept bogging me down. I felt way, way out of control, not that I’ve had any control over anything in quite some time. My shoulders ache and feel like they are in a vice. Sometimes I can’t catch my breath when I think about my life. I still cry at inopportune moments. Walking up to the office one morning I saw a friend and burst into tears on her shoulder. Maybe we kid ourselves into thinking we have control over what we do. We make plans for the day, the weekend, next month, next year…. Right now the only thing I can think of that I currently have control of is what I put in my mouth. I do eat a LOT of dark chocolate and what my grand kids call “grammy’s coffee”. There’s no guarantee and no one to keep us safe but trust in our fellow man. Doesn’t make you feel very comfortable, does it? Think about it when you are driving down the road at 65+ miles an hour inches from the car beside you. I try to stay as far away from other people as I can.

I had to find some answers last week to calm myself. So I started with the DA in NC. No news on the blood test. The hearing on Aug 17 will probably be all of 10 minutes because she (the DA) is 100% sure he will plead not guilty. She told us that in May and my mouth fell open. How do you plead not guilty when you killed someone? His lawyer will attack the evidence, not defend the act. But they are ready for him. The grand jury will convene in Sept or Feb (depending on the arrival of the blood test) and the trial will be Sept 2010. I can’t decide if I want to go. I don’t know if I want to see him yet. I’m afraid I’ll have dreams about him instead of Mary.

Then I moved on to Danny’s doctors. I had so many questions about antibodies, their causes, his levels, and what can be done that we have an appt with his surgeon at his next checkup. Haven’t talked to him in 4 ½ years except at transplant functions.

Next call was to my cardiologist to find the results of the echo’s they did on me. I’m fine. Same old murmur I’ve had for years. They just give them very fancy names now. I have a small “mitral valve regurgitation”. Pacemaker change in two years. I did find out that now my upper chamber is pacing also, about 40% of the time. That was news to me.

And on to Julie and the kids. Cindy is almost as tall as I am. She will be by the end of 5th grade I’m betting.

Lastly, I didn’t get to hold on to Mary as much as I wanted to because of all the other stuff going on. Some might say that’s a good thing but I think it horrible. I am still unboxing and repacking her things from our last trip up there. I keep going through her things looking for something but I’m not sure what. Just touching them makes me smile and cry at the same time. I’m finding more of her artist friends are going to donate their work to GTF in Oct. I wish I could get more excited. Maybe the closer Oct comes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

MAC - Sad But True

Mary's email address is MACSBT45. It stands for her initials, Metallica's song "Sad But True", and the number of letters in her first and last name. I just looked up the lyrics to that song for the first time and it's like she is talking directly to me. I've always been a little afraid to read them because of the name. I never did asked her why she liked that song.

So much is going on right now I don't know how much time I will have to write. My poem well has run a little dry - can't concentrate.

Life is sad, but true.

Sad But True

I'm your life
I'm the one who takes you there
I'm your life
I'm the one who cares
They betray
I'm your only true friend now
They'll betray
I'm forever there

I'm your dream, make you real
I'm your eyes when you must steal
I'm your pain when you can't feel
Sad but true

I'm your dream, mind astray
I'm your eyes while you're away
I'm your pain while you repay
You know it's sad but true

You're my mask
You're my cover, my shelter
You're my mask
You're the one who's blamed
Do my work
Do my dirty work, scapegoat
Do my deeds
For you're the one who's shamed

I'm your dream, make you real
I'm your eyes when you must steal
I'm your pain when you can't feel
Sad but true

I'm your dream, mind astray
I'm your eyes while you're away
I'm your pain while you repay
You know it's sad but true

I'm your dream
I'm your eyes
I'm your pain
I'm your dream
I'm your eyes
I'm your pain
You know it's sad but true

I'm your hate
I'm your hate when you want love
Pay the price
Pay for nothing's fair

I'm your life
I'm the one who took you there
I'm your life
And I no longer care

I'm your dream, make you real
I'm your eyes when you must steal
I'm your pain when you can't feel
Sad but true

I'm your truth, telling lies
I'm your reasoned alibis
I'm inside, open your eyes
I'm you

Sad but true

By Metallica

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mary's Plaque

This is the dedication of Mary's plaque from the people at Drake Software in Franklin, NC.


Aside from the new people here in the Development department all of us knew Mary Couey. For those of you that are new, Mary was a programmer in the federal group assigned to the 1120S package. Mary was killed by a drunk driver on March 31 after leaving the visitation for my brother’s funeral.

Those who knew Mary remember the person she was, and the soul she is. Mary embraced everything in life with a dazzling smile. She looked at life with complete enjoyment and the only thing that removed the smile from her face was the fear she felt for her brother. Mary was her brother’s champion in his fight for a second heart transplant. What most don’t know is that Mary was the only person allowed in the room after her brother’s first heart transplant that did not have to wear sterile gowns, masks or gloves. She affected him in no way. Mary and I shared concern for our brothers and cried together over our inability to change their worlds and lighten their loads.

That is how Mary was. She brought no ill towards anyone. She loved everything and everyone. She looked for new adventures and held close to old ones. She was in touch with nature and nurtured all life. Mary was easy to work with and was always doing more than what was expected in everything she touched. I find that I know Mary better and better every day. She remains in my mind with everything I do

I miss her greatly and wish there is some way that I could change the events that lead to her death. I know that is impossible and I know that my life is better for having known Mary. I wish that I could have had more time with her to deepen our friendship.”


Several of us felt, and I’m sure you’ll agree, that it would be wrong to let our memory of Mary fade too much as time pushes us further away from the day we lost her. With that in mind, Drake Software has had a plaque made in her memory. This plaque will be hung in a central place in the Tax Development building.

The plaque itself features three pictures of Mary—two of her in the outdoors, which she loved. All three feature Mary’s remarkable smile. I think having the plaque there, in addition to brightening our days with her smile, can remind us of how precious life is, and how good it is that people like Mary could touch our lives—and how we can do the same for each other.

Read from plaque -

Mary was a trusted co-worker, a good friend, and a gentle soul who touched our lives in so many ways. She will be missed and remembered eternally.

Some people pursue happiness; others create it. Mary created happiness wherever she went.

Hi Mom!

Last week while at Emory I went to visit the parents of a 6 month old boy waiting for a heart transplant at Egleston. I told them how fantastic the people at Egleston are and they have the same doctors and coordinator that Danny had his first 6 years with his new heart. I told them Danny needed a new heart and that transplants were NOT a cure (something I forgot after the first few years because Danny was doing so well). Transplants are a way to manage life with heart disease and not a promise. No, I didn’t tell them about Mary when they asked how many children I have. Why make myself cry and them feel bad. They have enough to worry about. The baby is in and out of CICU and is on the 1A list. He needs a heart badly. The cool thing about transplanting a baby is they don’t have to match blood types. Ever since they discovered that a few years ago, almost all infants are transplanted, very few on waiting lists for very long.

I have added two songs and a video to this site. The first song I wrote when Danny was in the ICU after his first heart transplant. I am not the same person I was back then but I still like the song.

The second song is one I found after we were told he needed another transplant in 2004. It still helps me when I walking down Danny’s path. Not so much with Mary’s journey, not yet.

The video is of Mary Skydiving. You can tell how nervous she is by how many times she opens her mouth to take a deep breath and lick her lips. You, too, can hear her say “Hi Mom!”.

Poem for Mary

This is by one of Mary's oldest friends from childhood.


by John Lattier
July, 2009

One more goodbye and then
One more good cry and then
I can let go and you'll
Take to the skies and I'll
Turn to the mirror
My face becomes clearer:
An infinite sorrow
How empty my heart, what's the
Point of tomorrow when
You aren't a part of this
World we grew up in
This thing we called life
Now that you're gone I
No longer see why. Can I
Tear up the articles
Round up your particles
Fuse you together and
Guard you forever
And never let go
And watch you grow old?
I still hear your laughter
It's part of my own
I can still see your face
In the mirror
But no...
One more goodbye can I share with you now?
One more good cry and then maybe somehow
I can let go
And I can grow old but I'll
Never forget you
For so long as I live
I'll never stop asking myself
What if
Goodbye Mary Couey
Forever your name
Will remind me that life
(Whatever that means)
Will never
The same

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tread lightly

Today (Sunday) is Tony’s 26th birthday. He and Nicole are in South Dakota heading to Wyoming.

We packed up a lot more things from Mary’s house and brought them home. It was even weirder this time to be up there. Packed up the towels, sheets, quilts, pillows, etc…stuff that isn’t quite as personal as say your toothbrush or dental floss, or prescriptions. Going through the bathroom stuff felt like ….well… like I was looking down someone’s pants with them in them. Very intrusive, very sacrilegious for some reason. I shouldn’t be doing this but I’ll be damned if someone else is going to do it. Even in the kitchen, her kitchen, going through her spices, the pantry with all the organic, natural, whole wheat, etc foods she bought, cooked with, and ate. Tony packed up many of the glasses he and Mary had from their days at UGA, ones that had memories for him. He must have also packed the dishes she bought for them when they moved into the house. There were only some cups left, with a butterfly on the inside, so Bonnie, Carol, and I took them. So much for keeping the set together.

Once again I felt like I was dismantling her essence, that which made Mary, Mary. Yes, she IS in everyone’s heart, she is alive in our memories, but there were things she did, things she had that probably no one but Tony knew about. Even things he didn’t know. Once when he went out of town on a job over the weekend I did my best to talk her into coming down after work on Saturday. She patiently told me several times that “it was a long way for one night”, “too tired and wanted to rest”, etc…. until she finally just said, “MOMMA, I want to be by myself for awhile and just sew and stuff. When Tony’s around and I want to sew I feel bad that he has to just sit there and watch me so now I can just do what I want and not worry about anything. I’ll be FINE.” Yes, I finally got the hint.

Everyone has a little piece of themselves for themselves. And THAT’S what I felt I was intruding on. If I were to leave this earth today, I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone to go through my things. I have so much crap lying around, much of it would either go in the trash or off to Goodwill. But I did keep most all the birthday and mother’s day cards my family gave me. So did Mary. Even things from grammar school days. I found things I gave her that she seemed really excited about…..still sitting in boxes on the shelves in her closet. Wonder if she was excited or didn’t want to hurt my feelings. What would people find in your house, your room, your closet, if they went through it? What would you NOT want them to find? Better think long and hard about that question.

Saturday I packed a box, drank some beer, walked around the house, drank some more beer, walked in the yard, ran back to the house and drank some more beer, ran back out to pick some blueberries (the bushes they planted when then moved in FINALLY bore some fruit!), came back inside to finish my beer. I walked in her garden, mostly weeds and wild flowers now, admired the grapes (once again finally bearing good fruit now that she can’t enjoy them). I swung in the porch swing, sat on the sofa, and laid on her bed. In between all these esoteric visits I did manage to pack some more boxes. We cleaned the bathrooms and tidied up under the porch. Sunday we tried to fit all the things and boxes into the car. Not as easy as it sounds. Still have to come back for a few more things.

Now “the house” looks more like “a house” and not Mary and Tony’s place. Saddens my soul even more.

That man’s court date is a month and two days away. The closer it gets, the harder my heart gets. Do you think I’d go to jail if I walked up and punched him in the face? Probably. Would it be worth it? Hell, YES. Wish I could stab him in the heart.

No poems from me today. My heart is empty.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Too much stress

Mary went skydiving with her new UGA roomies of 4 weeks on 9/7/2002. I was scared to death for her until she finally told me that you don’t jump alone. She had someone strapped to her back and someone in front of her taking a video of the entire trip. And what a trip it was. I have watched that video over and over and over. Her roomies found the VCR tape in her bedroom downstairs in April. They had it copied and put on a DVD. I hadn’t watched it since 2002. She is staring right at the camera and not once but twice she says “Hi Mom”. So, I keep it in my computer and watch it, watch her talk to me, over and over and over and over…. Gabe watched it with me and now he wants to jump out of a plane.

Tony called tonight. They are either in Wisc. or Minn. I can’t remember, camping on the shores of the lake and hiking while the doggies run around. It’s cold at night. At least they each have a doggie to snuggle with at night to keep them warm. Hope it too cold for fleas.

I thought last week that something was changing on my journey. Something felt different but I wasn’t’ sure what. It lasted about one day so I didn’t’ say anything. Unfortunately the feeling of horror I get whenever I think I’m letting her go flooded over me and whatever was new disappeared. Does any of this make sense? Most days there is so much going on around me that the only time I get to wrap myself up in Mary is when everyone else is asleep or out of the house. If I don’t do it I’m afraid I will start to forget all the little things. And I will NOT allow that to happen. Some say you’re supposed to keep busy so you won’t have time to dwell on the past. Busy stuff just passes the time until I can spend time with her.

I have filled up her toy box completely downstairs and still have more boxes to go through. We’re going back to NC this weekend to pick up more things. I gave Mary an antique treadle sewing machine for a college graduation present. She repaired it last year so she could have two machines to sew on. Both were Singer machines, one is around 60 years old and one around 80. She was teaching Cindy how to sew. Now Cindy is half finished with an apron Mary gave her the material and pattern for.

Mary’s work (Drake Software) dedicated a plaque in her honor last Friday at their company picnic. They are sending a picture to me and the dedication speech. During their busy season they work 50 – 70 hours a week. Mary would get migraine headaches, stomachaches, chest pains, etc stressing about if she’d get her programming done on time. She wanted the things she did to be done right. After Christmas she’d leave her tree up through late February because she didn’t get to enjoy it in December. Life’s way too short to spend it stressing out that much. I hope when they see her looking at her they’ll remember that and enjoy life even it is the busy season. . There’s always time for a 10 minute tea break, lunch with a friend, a short walk at lunch time, or a phone call to make some one smile.

“When you have the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.....”

Slammin’ down memories, arrows in my heart
Breakin’ up visions, images of love
Sharp and dull alike twisting in my back
Walkin’ on the edge, give a little shove

Wipin’ way the tear stains trailin’ down my face
Poundin’ on my chest to get my heart to beat
Pills for my head before it splits in half
Kisses for my family before I am too weak

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wild Ride

Unanswerable questions:

Why do bad things happen to good people?
There’s a book by that name I read long ago. Can’t remember why I read it. Maybe I was searching for a reason to have faith in religious matters. It may have helped then, I can’t remember that either.

Is there a reason behind the occurrences of life on earth?
I can’t find one.

What is the definition of reality?
I looked up the definition on line and was hoping it would have something to do with truth. But I found the same definition for both “world” and ‘reality’. What is really interesting are the examples of the definitions below. None of them are positive or uplifting.

“Truth is relative. Find one and run with it”, quote from a TV show. I tend to agree. I can have my own reality based on my experiences in life. One occurrence can be seen by two people and their reality or truth of the situation can be completely different. Thank goodness for cameras.

Definitions of reality:

• noun:- the state of being actual or real
Example: "The reality of his situation slowly dawned on him"
• noun:- the state of the world as it really is rather than as you might want it to be
• noun:- all of your experiences that determine how things appear to you
Example: "For them demons were as much a part of reality as trees were"

Definitions of world:

• noun:- all of your experiences that determine how things appear to you
Example: "His world was shattered"
• noun:- people in general; especially a distinctive group of people with some shared interest
Example: "The grieving world"

Hang on tight for this ride is wild
Are your arms strong enough to bear the weight?
Is your will forceful enough to survive the storm?

These mountains are not for the fragile
Can you grasp the concept of reality as it truly is?
Do you have the courage to take one step after another?

These valleys are deep and it is twilight for sure
Are you ready to struggle for every inch you gain?
Is your heart a mallet to crush the opposition?

Anger and hate are rungs of the rope ladder
Can you listen to the echo's of terror without falling?
Are you able to hold on to those in front and behind you?

Regret and sorrow are holding the rungs together
Will you overcome the shadows of reflections?
Can you keep from vanishing into the looking glass?

The slope is steep in both directions
Love is all around but can you see the peace?
What if it’s just another train at the end of the tunnel?

This is not an opportunity of life but a contest for survival

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Holidays suck

Holidays suck. I used to hate the work suck. Now it defines my very life at this moment. So, does that mean that at the very next moment it will change? Get better? Get worse? What are the words I write? Definitions of the moment, prophecies of the future, or just a whole pile of bull shit that I come upon on this marvelously sucky adventure.

My holidays are spent waiting for Emory to call because more accidents happen on holidays than at any other time. Remember the call on January 2nd? Someone had a really sucky New Year’s eve or day. I wonder if a drunk driver who dies in the wreck with the person who he killed gets to donate his organs? I wonder if that makes his soul feel any better about the devastation he has created? I wonder when you get to the other side if you even remember what you did on earth? I wonder if he dies if he gets that “trench warfare” moment of repentance and is saved for all eternity? I wonder what would happen if I were god and I said” oh no, my fine fellow, you are going straight to hell. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.” You made your choice. Isn’t murder a sin?

Ok, ok, back to holidays. Try enjoying Christmas with those thought rattling around in your head. How do you “pray” for a heart for Danny when you know someone else is “praying” for just the opposite. That’s why I quit praying. I do not pray for life, I just let it happen. Then I complain about the bad times. Yes, I could make a choice to put on a smile, make lemonade out of the lemons in my life. But, I can’t.

I could write chapters of what the 4th of July was like with Mary but I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say it was much happier.

This 4th of July was spent at the poolside of our friends. We floated in the water, tried not to get burnt, had a cookout, and talked for hours. Tony and Nicole were on the Michigan peninsular trying to stay warm. This is probably the first Peachtree Roadrace they have missed in years. His family is just as ripped apart as we are. I read about another family who lost their two preschool boys in a car wreck. The article didn’t mention anything to do with alcohol. I wonder which life is worse, mine – having someone to avenger my anger upon for ever, or theirs – just having to live with an “accident”. Neither is very appealing.

Yep, holidays suck.

I’m moving kinda slow today
Can’t quite see the rainbows between the tears and sunshine
Nothing’s making sense anymore
Just for a moment things were straight, but now they are askew

Every day the pain is there
Making me think it’s never going to get any better
People say it won’t go away
Just gets different as time rolls thoughts into memories

I don’t want to live on a memory
I don’t want to live on a chance
I want to see her walking in front of me
Dancing on a grassy field of love and romance

I’m tired of making excuses
Saying I’m fine when I’m really just a shell of thanksgiving
They don’t know what to make of me
So I pretend for the living that I’m carrying on with grace

I walk the steps each day
Moving along the path that someone else designed
I don’t look left or right
Just keeping focused waiting for reality to be erased

I don’t want to live on a memory
I don’t want to live on a whim
I want to see her sweet smiling face
Looking at me to break me out of this trance

I’ve never had a prayer be answered
It’s all been smoke and mirrors
But if it were that easy
I could have her life back and we could all be friends.

I don’t want to live on a memory
I don’t want to live on a question

Friday, July 3, 2009

To die or not to die, that is the question

Here’s a question. Who would you die for? Who would you be willing to give up your life for without the slightest hesitation? As a parent I would say my children. Yet there are plenty of parents who abuse and even murder their children. So, just being a parent isn’t the answer. As a wife I would say my husband. But, once again, the same goes for spouses. Maybe it’s not the position you hold in life that matters but the person you are deep down inside. Could you give you life for a stranger (perfect or not)? Many people do in times of disaster – 9/11.

After you have decided who you would die for, the question becomes – Why?

So much has been written about this subject but have you really, really considered it? Have you gotten a pad of paper and listed the people or reasons you’d die for someone?

What if you didn’t have to die to save someone. What if you just had to give up something. An arm, a leg, or a kidney or lung? A lady I know is a living donor. She gave a kidney to a 12 year old friend of her son’s. She didn’t know him that well but her son, also 12 wanted to give his kidney to his friend. He was too young. So she did. Interesting the way people think, isn’t it.

I would have given my life for Mary in a blink of an eye. I would trade places with her this instant. I would trade places with Danny right now. This July 4th weekend someone one is going to die and someone else is going to get to live because of them. But it won’t be a choice, it will just happen.

This “journey” (for lack of a better word) that I am on would be so much easier (really bad word) if Mary could have saved someone else. She would have done it in a heart beat. Her eyes, her less than 20/20, more like 80/100, her beautiful eyes could have been donated. But the autopsy tests, or whatever, ruined them. I wish she could have given her smile to someone. Love that smile.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Banana's and steel

Today I finally went to see a cardiologist. I’m supposed to go every year but haven’t been lately. He’s one of the doctors in the group that takes care of Danny. Seems like all of our doctors see all of us at one time or another. So I’m sitting on the table when the nurse takes my blood pressure. Mine is usually pretty low (90 / 60) so when she tells me it’ 148/75 I almost fell off the table. “Oh, hell no” – actual quote from my lips. So, she takes it again in the same arm and of course it comes out even higher. Great way to start off a doctor visit. 10 days ago at my family doctor’s office it was 115 / 70. When the doctor came in I asked that he take it again. He used the old fashion “pump and listen” process and of course it was less – but still higher than normal. Visiting doctors offices can be stressful and that can cause your BP to go up. Yes, it can.

I’ve been seeing a lot of doctors lately. I think my body is catching up to my age. Mary had been getting on to me earlier this year for not keeping up my checkups. My pacemaker only has 2 more years left and it was just changed 3 years ago. Now I do check it every 3 months over the phone. I used to get on to her to eat more ice cream to gain more weight. She was doing real good with the big banana milk shakes every night. So we used to be each other’s watch dog when it came to our health.

When Mary was 11 months old she got an intestinal virus and couldn’t stop throwing up. All the way home from Kerry’s parents house we drove with the windows down in 40 degree weather to keep the odor from making the rest of us sick. This was before seat belt and child restrain laws so she sat in my lap in the front seat cuddled to my chest with a look of “oh my god what is happening to my tummy?” look on her face. And I couldn’t do a single thing to help her. (Sound familiar?) I was in tears all the way home as she gagged and had dry heaves every 15 minutes. This continued through out the night no matter what we tried to let her sip on. She ended up in Scottish Rite children’s hospital with IV’s in her tiny little arm. She lost almost a quarter of her weight. And so started the annual visit to Scottish Rite in December. From then on she was the “tiny little person” in our family. Around every Christmas for 5 years and twice one year she would get sick. Then there came a vaccine that wasn’t covered by insurance but would probably help her. But it cost (are you ready) a whopping $25 (in 1986). She never returned to Scottish Rite after that. I gave Mary the Christmas stocking she got when she was there one year. It still has the note in it from the person who made it. Even some of the Georgia Bull Dogs came to visit the kids.

Kerry and I would walk up and down the hospital halls with Mary and look at the other parents with their kids so much sicker than Mary and wonder how they made it through each day, so amazed at their strength. We were so lucky to have healthy kids.

I don’t know if you’re born with “strength” or you gradually acquire it over time. Is it like crocheting in that with each stitch the yarn gets stronger only because it’s part of a vast group of stitches that are held together by each other? Or more like a Chinese finger puzzle – the more you pull it apart the tighter and stronger it gets? Then there’s the example of the banana and the steel rod. One is soft and one is strong. But get both as close to absolute zero as possible and the banana is strong as steel and the steel crumbles like cookies. There’s the willow and the oak tree. One is small and flexible and one is big strong, until something heavy breaks the oak limb and only makes the willow branch sway in the wind.

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Hummmm, who wrote that?