Sunday, March 30, 2008 and remembering

Springtime. A time to clean house, clean the yard, and, as I do so, just another season to think about Marcy and how much I miss her. She has been gone now for 14 years. I clean the house, glancing at the boxes in my closet of what is left of her life. It is compacted into a small corner of the closet. There is not much. Some award, some writings, some childhood items, all the lovely notes and remembrances from others, and most of all, the photos. Photos that are worth a thousand words, a lifetime of memories. I look at them occasionally and reminisce.

In addition to what is in the boxes, I have placed some of those photos all over the house among other photos of family and friends. There is at least one photo of Marcy in every room. Some may think that morbid, but I find it comforting to walk from one room to the next and see her smiling face. Among them are her engagement picture; her wedding picture; a photo of her and best friend Lynn; one of her, me and her father; and one of her in Disneyland hugging Pluto, the dog. I have one showing three generations: my mom, myself and Marcy at age 13 and then the three of us again on a vacation in St. Thomas 10 years later. Best of all, I have a continuous series of 16 photos from birth through age 16 (most are from her yearly school pictures), showing the transformation of what she looked like from birth to her teen years. I wipe them all down as I clean and lovingly hold them all as I think of those times so long ago.

I also have all her stuffed animals. At first I thought I’d give them away to the children’s hospital, since I am not fortunate to have grandchildren, but I’ve found it hard to let go of them, so I keep them all in a special guest room of the house, wiping them off looking at them and remembering where they all came from. Since Lynn’s children are now my godchildren, I occasionally give one to them on a special occasion if they ask to have it.

As I move from one room to the next dusting and cleaning, I come upon some beautiful Venetian glass objects as well as Russian and English objects bought on Marcy's travels that I was sent from her condo after the accident. They are now a part of all my travel item collections, since she and I both loved traveling and seeing the world. I do admire her excellent taste in choosing not the most expensive but simple elegant items.

I finish the springtime cleaning for one more year, glad that I had the opportunity to remember with love many of the good times for all of us. We never forget, no matter how many springtimes pass. There is healing in remembering, and I choose to leave these footprints in my heart forever.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Buiding a web site for your child

Happy Easter everyone. Another holiday without our children. How can we not be sad about that. We always wanted to share everything with them, and now, not only are they not here, but a part of our hearts are gone also...forever.

We always want to remember them and what better way to honor or remember your child than to build a memorial online. There are a few good sites that offer assistance with the construction of a site and will also host it. In most cases you can do anything you want on your site. For example, you can put pictures on, give background info, special dates, special occasions and honors or even have others write remembrances of your child. If this is something you might like to do, read on and choose one of the five ideas I list for you.

One of the best is the TCF Atlanta site I talked about in my last blog: ( The Compassionate Friends of Atlanta offers free memorial web pages on their beautiful web site. They will provide information and online assistance to you in building a web page for your child.

Loving Memory’s homepage ( says, “The loving memory sites have been developed with great care and sensitivity to provide a dignified, lasting memorial to loved ones no longer with us and allows families separated by distance to share and express their feelings.” They offer a wide variety of sites including those specifically relating to children. Included in every Loving Memory memorial site is a memorial candle which lights up on the anniversary of the loved one’s death.

Memorials Online ( publishes internet memorials celebrating life. They also offer links to grief support to help others cope with their loss.

The site ( will specifically go through each step to building a memorial site and explain the hosting of the site. According to the site, it helps everyone stay connected in the face of a death.

Finally, if you just want your child’s name on a site and not bother with writing the memorial aspect, The National Children’s Memorial day ( allows you to just put your child’s name, birth and death date in it’s online site. You can read a poem dedicated to our children and listen to the music. You can read all the names listed of the children who will always be remembered.

Sharing our child with the world is a gift, just as our child was to us.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

TCF Atlanta grief support- a great site

I must give a great deal of credit to TCF (The Compassionate Friends) Atlanta group who have put together a fantastic web site for grief support. Here is a group of parents who want to help in any way they can. And they are doing it on this popular web site that offers support, information, an online newsletter, poetry, memorial sites, reading suggestions, stories from the heart and much more via their web site

If you want to join their online sharing, go to . This email support group, “Cyber Friends,” was begun for parents and families who have lost a child. In September 1999, Web masters Jayne Newton and her husband, Wayne Newton had a vision, a dream to create something similar to “Chicken Soup for the Soul—Online Daily.” Currently the list tops 2,000 active members and grows each day. Most of the material is written by bereaved parents—along with sharings from bereaved families, news of interest for bereaved parents, plus a birthday/angel date listing for the month. The purpose of Cyber Friends is to help connect the newly bereaved with someone who is a little further down the road and can help them by listening, encouraging and caring.

Another popular resource from this group is their online newsletter loaded with information about weekly meetings, help with grieving, poems, stories, programs and events, grief resources and suggested readings. I was very honored that my book was one of the few on their suggested reading list for parental grief.

On the wall of the memory page parents can list their child’s name and then do a write-up with poems, stories, pictures and comments from relatives and friends ( It is a beautiful site that is a living memorial to that child.

A recommended list of grief counselors and other bereavement resources is also available. Kudos to this group of parent who want to make sure anyone who needs information can find it. Visit this site and view all the work they have done to make this a very special project.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Please ask...

As a bereaved parent, one of the most important things to us is to be able to talk about our children, whether it is with friends, relatives or strangers. Our child existed and we don’t want others to forget that. The only thing we have left is our memories. People should be aware that for the majority of us, we say, “Yes, yes, yes, ask us anything you want to know. Let us talk about our child to you. Let us tell you what they were all about. It means so much to us.”

Below is a poem by Barbara Taylor Hudson that so eloquently describes how we feel.

Someone asked me about you today.
It’s been so long since anyone has done that.
It felt so good to talk about you.
To share my memories of you.
To simply say your name out loud.
She asked me if I minded talking about
What happened to you…
Or would it be too painful to speak of it.
I told her I think of it every day
And speaking about it helps me to release
The tormented thought whirling around in my head.
She said she never realized the pain
Would last this long…
She apologized for not asking sooner.
I told her, “Thanks for asking.”
I don’t know if it was curiosity
Or concern that made her ask,
But told her, “Please do it again sometime…

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Marcy day

Today, March 2, 2008, is a special day for me. It is the 14th anniversary of my daughter Marcy's death.

How could it be so long ago? It seems like just yesterday that she was killed in the car accident. Fourteen years is a long time, and I can tell you that I have grown in that time. I will never accept that she is no longer here; it seems so impossible. But I have moved on as best I can.

It took time; I still tear up and sometimes cry when talking about her; I have different friends now, many who walk the same walk; I have different goals with new meaning; and I have a completely different life than I ever dreamed I would have. I write books and articles; I try to help others by speaking at national bereavement conferences on surviving grief; I leave memorials in different locations when appropriate. I live my life as I know Marcy would have wanted me to, with my husband who has said he not only loves me unconditionally but also understands and empathizes with how I feel at any given moment and wants to always be there for me. He says he can't imagine what I must be feeling (he is not Marcy's father), and he is right. He can't. But he surely comes as close as any human being can as he tries to understand. I can feel it in my gut. I know he speaks from the heart, and it makes me feel special.

This morning I arrived home from a vacation in Maui where Marcy also spent quality time many years ago. I think of her constantly when I am in Maui and remember what fun she had there with Simon, her future husband. They had planned to go back many times. It was not to be.

When we got off the plane at 10 a.m., we headed directly for the cemetery. I go there on every anniversary of her death (and birthday and perhaps a few other times a year) and place new flowers next to her stone (white "silk" Iris flowers, her favorite; they last a long time). I sit down next to her, and we talk for a few minutes. Her picture is etched into the marble, so I can look at her beautiful face as we talk.

Today I remembered what one of her dear friends said to me after her death, "She touched all of us in a way that can never be forgotten." Her friend felt a quote by May Sarton said it all. So I quote: "She became for me an island of light, fun and wisdom where I could run with my discoveries and torments and hopes at any time of the day and find welcome." Yes, a very appropriate quote to describe Marcy.

After a few minutes I tell Marcy one more time how much I love her, something we always communicated, and we leave. Tonight I will be lighting a candle at home in her memory as I do each year. I love you, Marcy, and will never forget your beauty, grace, vibrant personality, smile, understanding nature, and how you brought so many people together. You were one of a kind and will be in my mind and heart forever.