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"

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


  1. the privileged and the pilgrim.

    wow. you are indeed, my dearest friend.

    i am with you, always.

  2. Yes, all of it. Sending love across the miles to you and all of your family, Mary.

  3. I am thinking of you every day during these weeks, right now, when the pain is so terrible.

    She is a beautiful, beautiful girl.

  4. Mary ~ I feel the heaviness of your sorrow as we both trudge through December. It feels like a forced march. I am thinking of you, Erin and your family during these sad days. It is so hard not to relive every last, painful moment isn't it? I try not to, it doesn't serve any purpose, but can't help doing it anyway.

    The horrible memories of their illnesses, the ones that kill us as mothers, that bring us to our knees in tears, don't matter to our girls anymore ~ they are fine. Perfect. Whole and healthy. And one day we will see them again. We will hug them, and hold them and kiss them and never have to let them go ~ ever again.

    But still, December drags on and we trudge through ~ and it is so hard. On December 18, a candle will flicker in my kitchen in honor and memory of your sweet Erin.

    Love and understanding, Carol ~ Caroline's mom

  5. Mary,
    Thank you for the David Whyte poem. Here's a poem by Maya Angelou that speaks deeply to me as a bereaved mother.

    When Great Trees Fall
    Maya Angelou

    When great trees fall,
    rocks on distant hills shudder,
    lions hunker down
    in tall grasses,
    and even elephants
    lumber after safety.

    When great trees fall
    in forests,
    small things recoil into silence,
    their senses
    eroded beyond fear.

    When great souls die,
    the air around us becomes
    light, rare, sterile.
    We breathe, briefly.
    Our eyes, briefly,
    see with
    a hurtful clarity.
    Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
    gnaws on kind words
    promised walks
    never taken.

    Great souls die and
    our reality, bound to
    them, takes leave of us.
    Our souls,
    dependent upon their
    now shrink, wizened.
    Our minds, formed
    and informed by their
    fall away.
    We are not so much maddened
    as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
    of dark, cold

    And when great souls die,
    after a period peace blooms,
    slowly and always
    irregularly. Spaces fill
    with a kind of
    soothing electric vibration.
    Our senses, restored, never
    to be the same, whisper to us.
    They existed. They existed.
    We can be. Be and be
    better. For they existed.

  6. "They existed, be and be better for they existed." So well said, and so true.


  7. Thinking of you, Mrs. Potts.


  8. How beautiful. I am sorry that I haven't been here in a while. I have missed you.

  9. Oh, Mrs. Potts...I am thinking of you.


  10. That wretched day creeps nearer....thoughts overwhelm....memories flood.... how can one print the date on their work/school papers without shaking...12-18-11...Yet Erin was/is so beautiful...with that natural smile...seeing that date can also make me smile...in awe...because of her.