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, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas

here's to family
those present and those held in cherished memory

with sunflowers and touches of lime 

our "official" new member
and, of course, beloved furry beasts

hope your day was filled
with lots and lots of LOVE

Sunday, December 18, 2011


in heavenly peace, my sweet beautiful girl

thank you, lisa leonard designs

Saturday, December 17, 2011

angel of God

it's snowing

What a gift it was to awaken this morning to the wispy flakes falling silently from the gray skies, forming a blanket to fortify the shaky ground upon which I'm walking these days.
Erin loved snow.   Loved it.

Those of you who knew her know this about her, and those who've been stopping here from time to time most likely have come to understand it as well.

One of my most vivid memories is from late January of 2007.  Erin had been diagnosed just before Christmas 2006, had completed her first couple cycles of chemo and was feeling fabulous because the drugs were killing the cancer cells that had been making her so very sick.  This was pre-tumor removal surgery time and we often walked at night in the frigid air, both of us needing the fresh, germ-free slap the crisp outdoors provided as we each adjusted to the respective confinements the treatment protocol forced upon our once carefree lives. The darkness provided a comforting veil for Erin, hiding a 16-year-old's self-conscious insecurity about the emergence of the shiny head that had been covered by thick locks since the day she was born.

On this particular evening as we ran into the backyard she shoved me, completely catching me off-guard, and I landed in a heap, surprised.  Laughing.  She plopped to the ground next to me and said, "Let's make snow angels."  I can look at that patch in the backyard at this very moment and clearly see the imprint of those angels as if we just walked in the door now after making them.

angel of God, my guardian dear

Yes, Erin loved snow...   The surrounding community knew that as well.

I pulled a very special box out of the cabinet this morning.

When we brought Erin home from the hospital two years ago, 
the school family that had supported us for three years gave her a remarkable gift.  
Every child, from the preschool through the eighth grade, cut paper snowflakes.
Each one unique.

They came in all shapes, sizes and colors.
More than 500 snowflakes.
Some simple and white.
Others intricate and detailed.

Some held spirited announcements.

Others proclaimed important messages.

Some were decorated with bright colors.  Wishes for happiness.

Others held the promise of prayer and pledges to go forth.
Help for those in need.

Yes Teresa, we were enveloped in a winter wonderland of love.

Erin and I had sat and read each one.
Little by little, I had begun to hang some on the walls of her downstairs bedroom.
We didn't have the chance to hang them all...

On December 22nd, they lined the walls of the funeral home. 
Again, the work of the community's hands. 
I remember children coming through the line.

"Mrs Potts, did you see my snowflake? It's on the wall over there. 
 Do you like it?   Did Erin like it?"
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Erin loved them.
I loved them then.
I love them just as much now.  Maybe even more if that's possible.

I remember that they hung from the Christmas trees on the altar 
of the church on December 23rd.
Alison and Jen sang "For Good" and John sang "Silent NIght".

such an extraordinary and blessed gift
then and now
thank you, all of you, dear friends
I don't know if you understand how much I cherish these treasures
and all the letters and emails that came then
and continue to arrive these days

there is marked depth to the written word that
is borne of emotion and allowed to flow freely

a precious gift
 received with profound gratitude
~ ~ ~

angel of God, my guardian dear ...
ever this day, be at my side

to light and guard,
to rule and guide

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

in hiding

professed intentions of purpose and thought-filled actions and failure and swimming cancer cells and hyperventilation and corn bags and clementines and snowflakes and chocolate ensure splattered on a wall and a volleyball player who was so damn good and biopsies and pine cones and plaster dust and chicken tenders and bags of ugly orange doxorubicin and twinkle lights and chemo farts and gratitude and brain bleeds and project linus tie blankets and oxygen tanks and sprays of red berries and benadryl and commercialism and ambivalence and facebook and wheelchairs and strands of snowflake lights in a bedroom with an empty bed and an ambulance ride in the middle of the night and a wee christmas tree from a bit of earth in vermont and a turkey baster and countless tumors and the phone stopped ringing and rivers of tears and the smell of chlorine and bald heads and a finger lap counter-30 flippin laps! and atrophied leg muscles and a stunning letter dated may 2010 -xo and needles and a silky golden boy and refrigerators in living rooms and #8 and sleepless nights and rain machines and deep-seated anger and diffusion and confusion and saline flushes and pictionary and bombed out platelet counts and a kid who was never sick and a recliner and a school backpack still packed and my lip is numb, your lip is what and 15-18-23 and i have been changed for good and paralyzing grief and regrets and the overwhelming desire to disappear and a poem in my inbox
Be infinitessimal under that sky, a creature
even the sailing hawk misses, a wraith
among the rocks where the mist parts slowly.
Recall the way mere mortals are overwhelmed
by circumstance, how great reputations
dissolve with infirmity and how you,
in particular, live a hairsbreadth from losing
everyone you hold dear.

Then, look back down the path as if seeing
your past and then south over the hazy blue
coast as if present to a wide future.
Remember the way you are all possibilities
you can see and how you live best
as an appreciator of horizons,
whether you reach them or not.

Admit that once you have got up
from your chair and opened the door,
once you have walked out into the clean air
toward that edge and taken the path up high
beyond the ordinary, you have become
the privileged and the pilgrim,
the one who will tell the story
and the one, coming back
from the mountain,
who helped to make it.

-- David Whyte
from River Flow