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January 6, 2012

The first time I met her, it was her eyes that I noticed first. Warm, sparkling and kind, they held her soul, for sure.  They sparked with a kinetic joy and light for life.

Now, her eyes are mostly closed as she rests, preparing to leave. She opens her eyes long enough to connect with her husband, her children and grandchildren, pouring her love into them. Giving them one more, and perhaps one last, dose of her unconditional love.

Maureen is dying.

She’s the type of woman whom once you meet, you just want to sit with her, talk to her and bask in her. I consider myself blessed to have done just that, many times. I remember an intimate dinner at her and her husband’s home and my mind reverberates with echoing clinks of wine glasses, laughter and meaningful conversation.

I remember a black tie event Hubby and I attended with dear friends, and Maureen was among them. As usual, I fell into a deep talk with her.  Luckily, a friend took this photo while we chatted. I will always cherish it as it encapsulates Maureen. Loving. Connected. Supportive. True.

I remember her toast at Hubby’s and my wedding. I can see her full smile perched just above her champagne flute; I see her Irish eyes dancing along with her joyous  words.

I’ve thought of Maureen and her family constantly the last three days. Many times I’ve found myself crying. My memories entwine with my prayers for their peace and comfort.

Mixed in my mirage of thoughts, is, for some reason, an image from a hike I took with the kids last summer. On this hike, we always stop at a beautiful pond. Abby and Henry gathered stones (as they always do) and threw them into the pond. The sound of the stone breaking the pond’s calm surface was distinct. Then, we stood and witnessed the ripples on the water.

Maureen’s legacies are innumerable, just like the vast-reaching ripples on a pond.  Maureen has a husband and together, they have three children and four grandchildren. Years ago, her youngest son, Mick,  dated one of my dearest friends, Meg. 12 years ago, at a Halloween party in Northern Michigan (Up North as the regulars call it), Mick and Meg introduced me to my future husband. If it weren’t for them, I doubt I’d ever have met Hubby. If I hadn’t met Hubby,  the Love of my Life? Well, I’d prefer not to consider this alternate reality.

I know that Maureen’s life had a hand in mine. Without the random (or not so random?) course of these computations and ripples,  not only would I not have met my husband, but I never would have experienced my children or that moment at the pond.

Eventually, of course, the water stopped coursing. Naturally, the water returned to its original calm, tranquil state as the rock nestled into the thick, organic mud of the pond floor.

Although Maureen’s breath is fading, the effects of her life are forever lodged into the hearts and conscience of all lucky enough to have known and loved her. When she leaves us, a chasm will be left in her wake.


“To live in this world,

You must be able

to do three things;

to love what is mortal

to hold it 

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go.”

-Mary Oliver

Maureen let go this morning. I am still trying to let her go.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2012 10:03 am

    Oh, tears. Lovely. It is so important to think about and acknowledge those people who “had a hand” in our lives, even when it was seemingly small or long ago. Maureen sounds like an extraordinary woman. And those Mary Oliver lines are some of my very favorite. xox

  2. January 6, 2012 10:15 am

    Space, time and the realization that she will never be lost to you, my friend.

    Thank you for this exquisite offering, Denise. It touched me so deeply.


  3. January 6, 2012 10:34 am

    I am so sorry to hear this news, Denise, but very grateful to you for sharing these gorgeous words about this gorgeous woman. I will be thinking of you and holding you in my heart. xo

  4. January 6, 2012 10:35 am

    Such a beautiful tribute to a woman I knew and loved as well. Honestly, you did her love and life incredible justice in this summary.
    Rest Easy, Maureen

  5. January 6, 2012 2:41 pm

    There’s something about letting go that allows us to feel full, to fill up, to experience fullness. I think it took having my kids to realize this completely, but now I know. To let go–with death, with chaos, with everyday messes and stresses–we are allowing ourselves to fill up with the Good of it all.

    It is a gift that you have been touched so deeply by Maureen. And I’m certain that she knows the love she’s given you just as I’m certain she feels the love you have for her.

  6. Judy permalink
    January 6, 2012 6:31 pm

    Wow. What a special tribute. She seems like she was one special lady.
    Thanks for sharing in such a beautiful way.

  7. Kim permalink
    January 6, 2012 7:53 pm

    What a lovely tribute, Denise! Love you, Kim

  8. January 11, 2012 3:11 pm

    I am sorry for your loss Denise. Your words resonated with me and I often wonder, after we let go, what is there? Not quite certain how to embrace that new reality, but am always trying. I will be thinking of you and yours and Maureen. Sending you strength. xoxo

  9. January 12, 2012 7:55 pm

    I am so sorry. And I’m thinking of you as you settle in to your letting go. It is hard. I don’t know much, but I do know that. xox

  10. January 13, 2012 11:19 am

    I am so sorry for your loss. Through your gorgeous tribute, she sounds like an amazing woman, and someone whose life was well lived. And well loved.

    Wishing you (and her family) peace and serenity during this difficult time.

  11. January 20, 2012 2:26 pm

    It is a gift to understand the enormity of a person’s light in your life. I am sorry for last times.

Give me your grit.

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