Sunday, March 28, 2010


Last month I had lunch with someone I don't see often. The time before was at Maura's funeral.
"How long has it been since Maura died. Two years? Three?" she asked.
"Nine months." I said.
"No, I mean, since she died."
"Nine months. It's been just nine months."
I felt something between panic and anger.

A few weeks prior, in early February, Tim launched his album. I couldn't go to the release concert, but Kara told me that prior to his singing Starfish and Coffee, he talked about Maura, and how he had sung this song at her bedside just two days before she died about a year ago.
"What?" I think I looked astonished.
"Yes, Erin, it's coming up on a year."
Again-- panic, irritation, confusion.
"It hasn't been a year. It's not even nine months. It's still not even nine months!"

I don't want time to pass, taking me farther away from Maura, from the last time I held her. The last time she stood up--was it the night before she died? Two nights? I don't know. But she wanted to take a walk in the middle of the night. It took all my strength to lift and support her, as her arms and whole body draped around me. There were others in the room who helped lift her to me. She got to the edge of the bed, then, feet barely brushing the floor, and all her weight pressed against mine, she stood.
"Okay." she whispered.
"Did you walk enough? "
And I laid her back in her bed.
I will never forget that sweetest of hugs.

I often wonder if I am stuck in time, unwilling to heal or move forward. Move forward...what does that mean, anyway? My life is forever changed. I'm not moving backward. It's all just different. But Maura died at an age and a time when she was on the brink of adventure. And so were her friends. I see them moving forward in such dramatic ways, it's no wonder that nine or ten months ago seems far away to them with so much life stuffed in the cracks. Matt and Kara are teaching English in Korea. Amanda and Scott are having a baby. Mary and Sean got married and moved to Arizona. Adam is teaching and will go to grad school in Colorado. Chelsea is studying in France. David is singing opera and planning grad school. Several have begun teaching careers. Several continuing their studies around the country. I enjoy hearing about their lives. I stalk them on facebook.
I admit that I weirdly welcome the sadness, the grief, the overwhelming emotion because I can say, ah, yes, it has not been too long since she died. I held her just a little while ago. I remember her. She is remembered.
Those of us who have lost children--we want them to be remembered.
When Selena, the Tejano singer, was murdered in the mid-nineties, our household supported Danielle, a huge Selena fan, in her grief. We drove around with our headlights on. We listened to Tejano stations and Selena music non-stop. We visited Selena's boutique in San Antonio. Danielle saved Selena memorabilia of all kinds, but Danielle moved on, and the box of Selena stuff is either in the attic or has been thrown away. A year or two later, Selena's father released a new album of Selena's music: several remixes, and I think some new songs that had not been previously released. At the time I thought how sad it was. I don't believe he was trying to make a bunch of money; he just wanted his baby to be remembered, just as I want mine.
I blog because I don't want people to forget Maura. I post her videos, I want her college scholarship foundation to be realized, I secretly or not-so-secretly hope all of her friends will name their babies after her. (At least one is for sure). But time moves on, and Maura will slip away from the consciousness of most, and occupy a non-intrusive spot in that of many. What about me? Or her dad and sisters? What will grief and memory be like next year? In five? In twenty? When the girls tell their girls about Maura? What will be Maura's legacy?
Just yesterday a friend of mine commented that I look good: hair cut, a touch of make-up, shirt and jeans that fit well, a smile. "Dare I say 'happy'" she asked. Yes, I was happy. I am often happy. I am basically a very happy person, although I don't believe I'll ever again be happy without sorrow in the shadows. I know that my blog entries are often sad and grief-laden, but the blog is simply a series of snapshots in time, not my entire life. I've returned to work. I've visited with friends. We are in the process of downsizing and getting a new place. We've traveled a bit. I am planning for the future.
I suppose that is "moving forward."
And as I move farther away from when I last held her, I move closer to when I will hold her again.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Little Women

After my second daughter was born, I began to develop what I call my Little Women Complex--a desire to have four girls like the ones in Louisa May Alcott's semi-autobiographical novel. After the third one, I began to wish that I had started out naming them Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Although I never got that fourth daughter, I frequently commented to the girls that they were similar in birth order and personality to the Little Women brood. Danielle was Meg--the oldest, sweet and beautiful. Lydia, the next, was Jo--the writer, feisty, gangly until she grew into her height. Maura, I would say, was the perfect combination of Alcott's third sister, Beth--the peacemaker, the musician, the pet of the family--and Amy, the beautiful, the brat, the impetuous youngest sister.
"I don't want to be Beth," Maura would say, "She's the one that dies."
"That's okay," I would reassure her, "You won't be like her in that respect. You'll be like Amy, who got to travel the world."

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I am going to be in NYC next weekend to see a fabulous actress (the one I gave birth to) in The Seagull. Something special to look forward to.