Archive for May, 2011

tears in heaven

May 31st, 2011

After being diagnosed in October 2010 with terminal lung cancer, my mom died peacefully this past Saturday at the age of 83. We had a complicated relationship, but this past 7 months was truly a gift for both of us. Somehow we found a way to re-connect with mutual appreciation, respect and grace, and I feel so grateful for this unexpected blessing. Without recovery and therapy and coaching, I don’t know if I would’ve been so prepared for this last chapter. Instead we shared many moments of laughter, poignancy and bittersweet memories as part of our extended goodbye. Grief is an integral part of life, and I actually felt more alive as we were facing the inevitable end of her life. I trust that my mom has found peace as she has made her transition, and in my heart I’ve found peace as well.

the end is near

May 15th, 2011

When I was in college at the University of Massachusetts, I played in the UMASS Minuteman Marching Band. Yes, I know that Minutemen are a rather unusual mascot, but this was in New England which is the home of the Patriots and other teams based on the history of the region. Anyway, the band and the music department was a family-of-choice for me and was truly a sanctuary in the midst of 25,000 college kids hanging out in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts.

At the end of each football game, there was a band tradition to play “My Way” where we played most of it but actually sang a verse as well. “And now the end is near…” Ironically and sadly our band director, George Parks died suddenly last year while on a band trip on the way to the game at the University of Michigan. I suppose his final days were doing what he loved best — I believe he was the director for about 30 years and he left quite a legacy at UMass where the band was often the highlight of the football games (no offense to the football players who tried their best I’m sure).

My mother is now in her final days and I’ve had the rare opportunity to be with her these last 7 months since her diagnosis in a way that has been vastly different than our recent past. So as she declines physically, her spirit remains stronger with me than I imagined. May she rest in peace in these last days and always…