The following entries (from beginning runner to half marathon finisher) represents a continuing journey of tremendous grief and sorrow, and of transformation - largely through the therapeutic power of running. The sorrow that has broken my heart open wide has in time allowed me to experience the beauty of being in the present moment. And of course, without the support of family and friends to guide me, I would not have made it this far.

If you have lost someone in your life, I offer these words and verse (some Kristy's, some mine and others) with the hope it may touch your heart and help you heal.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Kristy and Jack

Today is your birthday, and I would rather remember your birth than your death.  I know your family and friends are all thinking of you today Kristy.  This last year was another milestone - and you would have been 33 today.  Who knows what you would have accomplished?  Each time I look at your photo I feel as if I am looking into myself.  It's as if I am holding all my memories of you in one hand and there is so much love. One thing is certain - no one who knew you will ever forget you.  You are connected to us all.

What are Earth Roots, my daughter asked
when she was just a child,
examining each flower in its home.

Earth Roots are a special connection,
a sacred thread that joins our spirits
to every living thing, I said.  Earth Roots
Join me to you, and you to birds and flowers.

In her hand my daughter held a sparrow
with a broken wing.  She said:
Can Earth Roots make the sparrow fly again?

The sparrow can become a rose, in time,
just as the rose takes wing, I said.
Earth Roots make all things possible.

My daughter did not understand these things
until she had a daughter of her own.
Then she saw the way Earth Roots join
The sparrow to the rose.

-  Earth Roots, by Nancy Wood

P.S.  Jack sends you his love.  He misses you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Sweet thoughts today of you eating pumpkin pie.  You would scoop it right out of the pie crust - savoring each bite.  But you never ate the crust.  You used to apologize for it but after awhile we would just give each other that knowing look. Your eyes would practically roll back into your head as you ate.  You were transported.

I call my two small dogs "pumpkin pie" - it's a term of endearment that seems to make sense to me.  It's all wrapped up in feelings for you and of watching you enjoy yourself.  It made me so happy to watch you.  

I will always be watching you.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Each day before rising
still and loose in my sheets
gently floating in my
moment of freedom

I remember the game
where a dark tunnel loomed
and we held our breath
straining to reach
a childish beacon

The intrusion of light
does not change my path
plodding ever forward
falling ever backward
my breath a volcano

But Hiroshima explodes
and the Nile rises
their strained duet
blinding and hot
demanding their revenge

Finally my eyes open
a hand is before me
my morning coffee
the reaper's bone
or the farmer's plow

Thursday, July 1, 2010


A few days ago Kristy's sister Laurissa came into town and we laid Kristys's ashes in the cemetery.  We decorated the space with flowers from the back yard.  Next to her ceremonial is the plaque we had made with a photo and the words from one of her poems. Laurissa and I were surprised at how cold it was as we sat holding each other.... We spent the next 5 days together, making it a total of seven.  Later Laurissa wrote this beautiful poem:

Written by Laurissa

seven psychic days
of mother and daughter
holding sister
and daughter
this walk
without her
flesh and blood
smile, hands
and eyes
shout of the limb
torn away
and then
there is
don't know if I will ever
have daughters to gather
to my body
but my sister is gone
I will be alone
that is the dark fear
but never alone
illuminates truth
I tend to my plants all my days
though it is not I or me
nor mine
whisper the soft green breezes:
be gentle with your love

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


How do we know when we are truly interacting in a "spiritual" world.  I like this explanation:  Knowing you are no longer expressing yourself but feeling one with yourself.  For it is a longing to be united within that drives us forward.  But what mask do we wear?

The spiritual fulfillment of a man depends on how he is able to project himself into the spiritual world as he performs.  He really doesn't perform for the third parties who form the audience.  Rather the audience becomes his personal self.  He tries to express to himself his own conceptions about the spiritual ideals that he sees...  He is able to do so behind the (his) mask because he has lost his personal identity.

Sam Gill on the use of the mask in Native American ceremony

Monday, May 31, 2010


A stranger walked into our garden a few days ago.  That evening I was reading Sophie's World (by Jostein Gaarder) and I came across this passage: "Life is both sad and solemn.  We are let into a wonderful world, we meet one another here, greet each other - and wander together for a brief moment.  Then we lose each other and disappear as suddenly and unreasonably as we arrived."  Later in bed I could not help but reflect....

She asked me about the stone in the garden.  She smiled and said she liked the painting of you in my studio.  But I couldn't tell her about your death, for I have learned what it does, this terrible truth.  I could have said my daughter is dead.  I could have said, "My daughter was killed."  I could have said my daughter was beautiful in every way, for these were all true for a brief moment in time.  And yes, this stone bears her picture and her words.  But no it does not contain her ashes.  She walked these garden stones, she watered these plants...sometimes with her tears, but also with her laughter.  She was here one day and now only as a thought.

Thank you for thinking of her.  I have only gratitude.  Tears are not enough.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


My hands are dusty and white
as I sift through the dark blue box 
holding your ashes 

They are heavy and gritty
as I look for a piece of you
scraping the ashes free

A small metal cup 
it's the lining of your new crown
The one I worried about

I tried to get you to go back
to have it done again
I thought it would cause you pain

I am typing these lines
thinking of your broken teeth
my fingers covered in you

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Yesterday I cleaned your room.  Seems like just the other day we sat on your bed talking.  Traces of you still remain.  An ear plug, a barrette, a smudge on the wall.  But my heart smiled when I moved your dresser and saw one lone marsh mellow gathering dust.

Instantly you were standing over the stove roasting your booty.  You craved marsh mellows and I tried to make sure I had a generous supply at all times. That impish grin was on your face.  Your treasure was golden brown and oozing around your fingers as you popped it in your mouth.  Somehow this lone marsh mellow escaped....and you would have been the last to touch it.

Envious, I picked it up and felt it's softness.


I am so used to this feeling.  A deep well of loneliness where I try to tread water.  Sometimes I give in and feel myself descending.  The cold watery hands are always buoyant and gentle....I am floating.  But the primal urge to breathe always interferes without my consent and I am at the surface again...gasping.  Ready for another try at release.  That short pause after descent yet before ascent is my salvation.  I can't bring her back but I can dream her face and for an instant forget.  She can still run, she can still fly, she can still shine.  Yet she can still die....over and over.

Two years ago when you died I became a different person.  It was a way to survive I think.  I was broken open - my old self shattered into a million pieces.  I will never be able to get them back.  And I don't want to.  Slowly I am examining my life.  I am so used to walking around with tears in my eyes and feeling invisible. For the first year I thought if I exhausted myself through running everyday it would make life bearable.  It did.  my mind let go while I was running and I was able to feel again.  When I stopped running and stood still I found the same questions were there.  Where did she go? Will I ever be with her again?  How do I go on?

So far the greatest peace I have achieved has been while sharing with others who have lost their own loved one. It's good to know others have survived having their hearts ripped out.  And yes, they do grieve just as much as I. Why is this comforting?  I don't want others to suffer.  What I think is that trying to comfort another actually comforts yourself.  It's what your heart is secretly trying to achieve in the back ground while you are busy grieving.  I have heard myself saying things to someone else which have totally surprised me.

I have cried for hours alone in my room.  Cries which were really screams. Primal screams - urgent - rasping - desperate.  I have screamed until my throat has pounded raw and beaten within my core. Somewhere inside me I thought it would make a difference.  Maybe it did, but it didn't make me feel any better.  What it showed me was a depth of desperation so full and terrible that I knew there were parts of me I have never seen  before.

Today my mind recreates images of Kristy all the time.  When I least expect it.  A few days ago I was dazzled by the bright sun light and a girl stepping into my presence.  Her silouette was so familiar.  The same strong legs, confident stride...same hair pulled back right to the nape of her neck.  She was graceful and assured.  That moment exploded in my mind.  The joy of being in Kristy's presence was so over whelming.  The after taste so bitter, I burst into sobs. Why can't I come to accept your death?  What part of me am I giving up if I do?  What part of me am I giving up if I don't?

Thursday, January 28, 2010


You are my secret love
like a stone in my pocket
I take you out to see your beauty
Sometimes at night
I feel quickly to see if you're still there

Always on my lips and in my heart
you live steady and silent
like the smooth caress of a worry stone
Your touch is cool
reminding me to breathe

You can soothe me
the invisible touch is our secret
we walk hand in hand
My gentle genie
and I am ready to dream again

Thursday, January 14, 2010


The desert was shockingly cold.  The wind scraped at my face as I propped myself up and rested my elbows on the back of the pickup truck.  The camera lens was nearly frozen shut. Rocks everywhere covered in a light blue frosting of snow.  The only glimmer of warmth was a fleeting orange gap in the slowly dissolving clouds.  The shutter made a crisp sound as I took the last photo. The day ended and I thought of you.  I am back inside the truck now and we continue our trip home.

More photos of the desert