Sunday, September 6, 2009


We celebrated our anniversary in Kemah this weekend. For those of you who live far away, Kemah is a small port town with a lovely boardwalk that, although physically recovered from Hurricane Ike, languishes in post-Ike depression.  We helped the local economy just a little. 
I had experienced a lot of on-the-surface sorrow during the week, and had looked forward to a time to rest. 
Maybe I was just tired, I told myself. 
But I had forgotten that the only other time I had been to Kemah, we were a family of five, and the details of our long-forgotten outing came flying back to me. 
Oh, no, I thought, this weekend we were supposed to take a break from mourning! How can I have chosen a location that overflowed with memories of Maura. 
More accurately, how could I have chosen otherwise.
Sorrow cannot be put on hold at my convenience. It sounds cliche to say that I must embrace my feelings, but it's true. I feel much better when I allow myself to wallow or cry or remember deeply or laugh or scream or all of the above. At work, I have to reign in the outward expressions of grief, and, let me tell you: It is exhausting!  
So I think that Kemah was a good choice after all. Rather than try to plug the dike, I just let the dam break. 
And it turned out not to be the flood I expected. I allowed myself to remember each location--the stone staircase, where Joel took our picture from below,each of us on an adjacent, descending step; the shark bench and fountain--more pictures; the Aquarium restaurant, where we spent a long time enjoying the 55,000 gallon fish tank, but left without eating because it was too expensive. I relaxed into the sadness. I rested.
That evening, while in our hotel room on the boardwalk, Maura's high school choir teacher called with the news that the choir booster club will establish a scholarship in honor of Maura. She graduated from Spring over five years ago, and yet, she is remembered, and her name will be remembered for years to come. More tears. I can't describe the emotion. I think it was joy mixed with sorrow, but I'm not sure. Maybe part thankfulness. Maybe, awareness that at the very moment I walked through a Maura memory, others remembered Maura as well. 


Beth Buchanan said...

I often find myself with only a sigh for a response. Sigh of grief, sigh of feeling sorry, sigh of "I wish I had something better to say than a sigh." I believe my sigh today was relief in the understanding of grief and the process by reading what you write, and also in a type of joy that there will be a Maura scholarship at Spring. I've never been able to understand or embrace grief, always just try to suppress it, much to my destruction, and I appreciate you so for continuing to write and, in effect, teaching others about the many facets of grief.

I appreciate you. Very much.

Sue G said...

I doubt that anyone can move on FROM Maura because she captured the hearts and minds of so many. And the beauty that was her life and spirit is not something anyone would want to move on from. Instead, I believe people will be moving on WITH Maura, capturing her essence in their spirits, striving to be a little more like her in the qualities they admired, remembering fondly how she touched their lives.

Life and death. Joy and heartache. It all goes hand in hand. The grief will be as deep as the love you shared. But so will the joy.

SLY said...

Happy Anniversary. The love you two share between you encourages me.

Kathy said...

Happy Anniversary Erin! What Sue said...and it's impossible to remove a part of you. Even though Maura is not physically here, she is a part of you and always will be. As one very wise author wrote, (it's late and I can't remember his name), it would be like trying to separate a breeze from the wind.