When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

~ Kahlil Gibran, from"The Prophet"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another Birthday Celebration

Watch your way then, as a cautious traveler
and don't be gazing at that mountain or river in the distance
and saying, "How shall I ever get over them?"
but keep to the present little inch that is before you
and accomplish that in the little moment that belongs to it.
The mountain and the river can only be passed in the same way
and, when you come to them
you will come to the light and strength that belong to them.
~ Kelty

This photo, snapped yesterday as we celebrated Dave's and Chris' birthdays, was taken the exact same day as the photo in my previous post was when we gathered a year ago for the same event.

The hours were filled with good food and drink, birthday cake, presents, the girls ruling in the Taboo competition (as usual), a pathetic Bears game on TV, jokes and laughter, and especially, the joy of being surrounded by Chris & Tasha and Sarah and Matty & Beth.
Dave and I love it when all the kids are home,
the best part of his birthday celebration he later remarked.

But as the thrum of yesterday's energy fades into the stillness of today, as I remove the leaf from the dining room table, wash the glassware and try to figure out what's for dinner tonight, my insides ache as I pull these photos into my post and stare at the gaping hole left by the lack of Erin's presence, and I wonder how I'll survive each occasion in the future.

Much of the time it's a struggle to imagine doing so, and I desperately hope that "the light and strength that belong to them" ~ the goodness and love of our beautiful family and the united front borne of our common bond ~ will sustain me through each event that occurs in spite of this chasm left by the death of my youngest child, especially as these days edge toward the upcoming holiday season that I look at with growing dread, and I keep repeating to myself ~ stay in each little moment, Mary. A day at a time... each little inch.


  1. Such a beautiful family. Tears sting my eyes at the gaping hole that you describe - we know it well - and my heart goes out to yours in understanding and support. Thank you for sharing the wisdom of the quote by Kelty, the desire to follow its leading - to stay in the gift of the present moment - and for a tiny smile, that such a quote is attributed to "Kelty," the name of a backpack manufacturer. Perhaps one way to learn to follow that wisdom is indeed to walk in nature. =) Love to you, dear Mary.

  2. Hi Mary, I don’t write often, but I do read your posts, and they are lovely and so true. As we gathered for group photos this summer with family, I wanted to protest, “no,no, Caroline isn’t here...” But I smiled for the camera, the protest ringing loudly in my ears. It is the same when we take photos of our little family; not long ago there were five of us in that photo, and now there are only four. The picture looks so wrong. It does not reflect the picture of my family that I hold in my heart, and it never will. That makes me so sad.

    I love your Kelty quote. It is how I lived for the fourteen months that Caroline was sick, and the 22 months since her death. I have kept my eyes on the ground and I don’t look ahead; I stay in the moment, I enjoy the moment, but I DON’T LOOK AHEAD. When Caroline was sick, I was afraid to look ahead; and now that she has died, it hurts to look ahead. It hurts to see all that she will miss, and how much she is missed. A lifetime of missing. No, I stay in and enjoy the moment, and hope for more good moments ahead. Hope for light and strength. I just won’t look.

    Thank you for writing, I look forward to your posts – I just have to learn not to read them at work (too often tears…!).

    With much understanding, Carol Herrmann
    Caroline's mom

  3. Beautiful family, beautiful post.

    Love to you.

  4. Mary,

    There is literally not a day that goes by that I do not think of you and your family. A great, huge hug from me to you.

    Chrissy Schurla

  5. SORRY - MRS. POTTS!!!! No disrespect!!!!!


  6. I love you so very much Potts!

  7. "Cancer is so limited...
    It cannot cripple Love
    It cannot shatter Hope
    It cannot corrode Faith
    It cannot destroy Peace
    It cannot kill Friendship
    It cannot suppress Memories
    It cannot silence Courage
    It cannot invade the Soul
    It cannot steal Eternal Life
    It cannot conquer the Spirit"
    - What Cancer Cannot Do

  8. LOVE "What Cancer CANNOT Do".....so true.