Monday, June 8, 2009

Milestones

I can't help but mark time in relationship to Maura. One week since she died, two weeks, and tomorrow it will be three.
Or the firsts: First week without having to go even once to MD Anderson. First trip to the market without Maura, first meal I fix without Maura, first trip to the mall, first bike ride in the park.
My visiting sister and brother made sure that I had one contact with the outside world per day and that I ate healthy food.
A first: Today marked the first day without anyone at home besides Danielle (Joel went to work). We still had a couple of visitors, but no one sleeping here to make sure that we get up, get dressed, and eat. So today, maybe as a sort of rebellion, I stayed in bed until very late, didn't change clothes, and ate nothing but fruit roll-ups. I watched videos of Maura. I cried. And I wallowed. There has to be wallowing. I have covered myself in the thick mire of sorrow and just spent time in that mud hole letting myself feel the weight of my loss. And it hurts so good.
Today marked another first: the first day we did not receive a condolence card in the mail. For three weeks I've secretly looked forward to the mail, immediately throwing down bills and catalogs, and grasping at the telltale envelopes containing so many kind words. Even the mailman expressed his condolences. He said he could tell by all the cards coming in that we had had a death in the family. The stack of opened cards and letters on the desk has grown tall. I can't remember who sent them or what they said, but I remember that the handwritten signatures or handwritten words provided a measure of comfort. Note to self: Always, always, always send a note of sympathy. It may not be remembered later on, but for that one moment, I can provide comfort to someone who is grieving.
So, now that the cards have stopped, what do I do? Is that my signal to pick myself up by my bootstraps and get on with life? If it is, I'm not listening--not yet. I don't even know what bootstraps are.
I need a few more wallowings. Maybe at a subsequent wallowing I can re-read the sympathy cards.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Erin, you don't know me, but I have followed your telling of Maura's life and legacy. What a gift of love and life she gave in such a short time -- first, to those who knew and loved her -- second, to those who never knew her, but prayed and believed right along with her, your family, and your friends.

Please, please, please write a book when you are up to it - maybe a collection of just your blog postings would make a book. You have a gift and already a very captive audience.

In His love,
Carolyn Tucker (Tracy Hendrix' mom)

Anonymous said...

Oh Erin I have read your comments day by day and as a 50 year old woman I cannot imagine your pain not for a minute. I attended Maura's services and I was so happy that it was a reflection of her life and yet to imagine what you are going thru it is too much at times to bare. You had a beautiful daughter you have the right to wallow in it to feel the pain and loss that anyone would expect to feel. Live these moments Erin because you were so strong for Maura because she needed you and you need your time. I was the one who hope maqui could help and regretfully it was not Gods plan. I can only hope that thru Livestrong I can make a difference in some way to bring awareness and the need for sarcoma research. I have shared your story and the link to this site and I know that thru my friend Darin Armstrong that this story has reached many who can make a difference. We can only hope that Maura's wishes to bring help to those with sarcoma can be heard.

The book idea is one you need to consider. You have a great story to share Erin.

God bless you!

L. Prada

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful woman this world has lost. I am thankful that her time on Earth was filled with unconditional love. It is easier said than done, but peace be with you all.

Anonymous said...

Erin, thank you for commenting on my husband's blog (cardblueblog.com). Only problem is that it led me here and now I am at work crying for you too. Your words to him show such unbelievable spirit at such an unbearable time for you. I am so sorry. I too have learned in this to send the card, to never stop visiting, calling, anything... so many friends have dropped off of our radar during this long ordeal. It turns out that even simple comments of good will from strangers can mean so much. You will now be much in my thoughts. --L

SLY said...

Erin, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! So so much! I think of you and your family every day. And I know the day that I forget to, I will be mad at myself for it.

I'm so grateful that you share your family's story. I'm so thankful that you do. I wish I could come to you and cook my corn chowder and talk about Maura and you and just life.

I will see you at the wedding though. And I will give you the biggest hug my body can muster!

Anonymous said...

Hi Erin,
I would send a sympathy card, but you don't know me. I am so touched by you and your family. I never met Maura but I feel like I have. I wanted to do something for her and for all those that have lost their lives to cancer so I went to donate platelets last week at Sloan Kettering's Cancer Center in nyc.

Unfortunately, my iron levels were too low so I was unable to make a donation. I will be back there in the next couple of weeks to try again. I just want you to know that someone out there will benefit from my donation, which was inspired by Maura.

Maura continues to inspire and will not be forgotten.

Rebekah Berry said...

Maura was a friend of mine from middle school and highschool...her and Katie used to call me Beyonce'...she was a beautiful person and ALWAYS mnade me laugh. I am praying for your family. I can only imagine how hard it is for you guys. Just know that she really did touch everybody she came in contact with and we all love her. It will get easier. But I will keep your family in my prayers. God Bless you and your family.

Kathy said...

Hi Erin,
I don't always comment but I've been checking on you to see how you are doing. I'm sending huge hugs. Peace!

Dawn Padula said...

Hi Erin:

Just a note to let you know that I am still listening. I think about Maura, you and your family every single day. Her presence, your strength, and the magnitude of this situation and how it has affected all of us who knew and loved her remains palpable.

I think you are doing exactly what you need to be doing right now. You are taking your time to really feel this, to mourn, and to feel the "weight of your loss", as you said. I know in my heart of hearts that you will find those bootstraps when you really need to/want to. There is no rush. There is no timetable for healing. It is such a personal process and there are no rules.

Just know that we are here and listening, and we will continue to be here for you as long as you need us.

You are wonderful...

In Sympathy,

Dawn Padula

Sue G said...

I only started following Maura's story shortly before her death, but I have gone back and read every journal entry and have been captivated by her beauty, inside and out. What an amazingly gifted young woman. In our earthly understanding we can only imagine how purposeful her life would have been had she lived (since she had already accomplished so much in such a brief time here). I do pray that God will give you revelation as to the purpose in her death. It is unimaginable to me, but I am committed to believing that God has purpose in every decision. Perhaps in this time you call wallowing--and I call being still and allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you when the time is right--you will find your purpose in carrying on Maura's legacy. That is my prayer for you.

I heard a minister officiating at a funeral, and he said something that has stuck with me for years. He said we cannot lose something if we know exactly where it is. And we do, don't we? We know that Maura is with God right now. making heavenly music a little sweeter, making the colors of nature's bounty a little richer, making the heart of God's love a little brighter.

You haven't lost her. She is right where she always was...in your heart. Waiting patiently for the day you will all be reunited for eternity.

My prayers are with you. May you hear God's voice prompting you for your next step forward as you move closer to a new purpose in your life.

www.caringbridge.org/visit/sueguenther

dhbryan said...

Not that I recommend fruit roll-ups as a diet plan, but I think what you did was perfectly healthy. It's not just wallowing, it's recovering. Caregiving is exhausting, marshalling the troops that loved Maura is/was exhausting, loving is exhausting, the emotional rollercoaster from hope to despair.... Posting to the blog (and getting feedback) is healthy. It may take you months to learn to take care of yourself again (your hobbling in the hospital broke our hearts). In the meantime, eat fruit roll-ups, watch the videos (we still are), and know we think of you daily. ~ Diana

Meg Maedgen said...

We're all still listening. All still praying and all still concerned about your family and how you are doing.

I second the request to eventually write a book. You and your family have inspired so many people already...I can only imagine what a book could do and how many people it could help.

--Meg Maedgen

Christi Hilborn said...

Hi Erin,
I don't often comment but I do frequently read the blog to see how you are doing and how Maura was doing over the past year. My heart breaks for you in this time. It is perfectly normal to take some time to 'wallow'. In this time, let God carry you and get you through the days. Maura life was an incredible testimony to so many as was your strength throughout the past year. Praise God that one day you will see her again.

Amanda said...

i love you. and i love maura. that's all i want to say.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. DeSouza,

I was a friend of Maura's and have constantly checked your blog posts everyday...almost religiously. Even now that Maura is singing with the angels, I still like to read about memories you had with her and how your family is doing. You are all constantly in my prayers. I can honestly say my life has been changed by Maura's story, and your writings seem to captivate me.

Not only as a regular audience, but as an English major as well, I have thought from day one how awesome and powerful this story is. Not that you should publish it for fame or money, but I think writing is a wonderful channel of energy and the more emotion you have, the more involved your audience is. I couldn't think of a better way to raise awareness of Sarcoma cancer than a best-selling novel about Maura. Just saying....it's a great idea! I can promise I'd be the first one to buy it and share it with everyone I know so that like any great literary piece, Maura's legacy and cause may live on!

God bless you and your family, I hope your pain will be eased with God's love and kindness very very soon.

Blessings!
Meagan Mosley

Beth said...

Oh how my heart breaks for you every time I think of your family. Which is every day, certainly. I love you guys, and I barely know you, but I knew Maura and loved her so, and can only love the people that raised her to be the way she was. I often wish I could hug you all, and that hugs could be the simple answer to feeling better, but I know they are not.

I (as well as most others here) have thought from the first few posts that you might be called to write a book about this.
I do hope that you'll continue writing blogs. We all feel so connected to your family and want to be able to mourn, wallow, live, and eventually celebrate again with ya'll, even just through online words. I wonder if you might be able to post some of those videos online? I would love to be able to hear Maura sing again, laugh again, talk again. Something I certainly took for granted in my last four years at Sam. Maybe Matt could figure it out, if he is up to it?

I do love you all so, and pray for your hearts and minds protection from the one who comes to deceive. I do hope you feel the arms of God around you.

Love you so much,
Beth Buchanan

Anonymous said...

I love you, Erin. Though I may never have the chance to meet you, my heart is with you.

I have had my toes painted teal for 3 weeks. For me, Maura's story is about joy, not defeat. And every time I look down, I remember so many things that are important to me-God, loved ones, and strength.

I wrote Maura a message on Facebook last year, shortly after she became very ill. Sometimes I wonder if she read it. Maura, if you can see this, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Erin,

I do not know you and you do not know me. I found your blog through a friend of mine who knew Maura. Just want you to know that people you don't even know read your blog. I read the whole thing the day I found it (which was subsequently the day before Maura passed). I was so touched by your writings and by Maura's story. Stay strong and know people are thinking about you. You are a wonderful person and have a wonderful daughter.

God bless you.

Brittany Gibson said...

Every time I feel like I'm wasting my day, or not being productive, or not using my God-given abilities to better the world, I think of Maura. Her amazing life will continue to inspire me to live my life to the fullest as Maura did. You are an amazing woman and mother, and you too are an inspiration to so many people. Thank you.