Close your eyes and rest your sweet head.

It’s time for you to sleep.

I’ll sit beside you and I’ll wait…………...

Together we’ll drift into the Land of Dreams.


Tonight let’s meet beside the Ocean.

The waves are calm. The water is warm.

The setting Sun paints the Sky and we laugh like no time has passed.

Seagulls flock above us, the breeze gently hugs our skin.

We watch those little birds chase the tide then quickly run away.

The deep blue rhythms soothe us and for a moment it’s understood that nothing has been lost.


The Sky begins to deepen as the evening slowly starts to fade.

The Moon appears from behind the clouds and softly showers us with light.

I hold your hand as you start to cry.

You wonder why I’ve gone.


Don’t be afraid, my little doll.

Give your tears away to the Sea.

I want you to know that I tried my best and this is all part of the plan.

Call on me always and often.

I’m here to light your way.

I’m now your great protector, your guide among the Stars.


Our love will last forever, crossing beyond all space and time.

I’m everywhere, all around you.

I’m much closer than you think.

Go you to your Heart when you feel lost, that connection remains the same.

Our Hearts are bound together.

Love is much larger than death.


You brought so much joy into my life.

You made it all worthwhile.

You light up the Sky when you smile.

Keep filling your up Heart with love.

Tomorrow dawns a brand new day.

You have important work to do.

You are blessed with gifts so vast and wide.

Please share them with the world.


You are loved beyond all measure

And I’m always in your Heart.

I’m with your tribe of Angels

You are always safe from harm.


Close your eyes, my little doll.

It’s time for you to sleep.

I’ll stay with you, right by your side.

May you always remember the beauty of your Dreams.


I was in Tuscany in September for a craniosacral training. It was a pretty intense course, lots of old memories of my parents started randomly creeping in. It was deeply healing but also pretty confronting at the same time. During one of the breaks a classmate and I took the bus to Florence for the day. It was the perfect afternoon, the sun was shining brightly and it was warm. Florence is such a vibrant and bustling city. There were people everywhere. Many were walking around eating gelato, others were doing the tourist thing--taking photos in front of the incredible surroundings and the rest seemed to be passionately making out in the middle of the streets.

The last time I had been to Italy was 11 years earlier. I was an exchange student for a semester in college and although my Dad never made it to visit, he enjoyed hearing all about my trip whenever I called or wrote. My Mom had been dead for about four or five years at the time but I was still pretty much a wreck. I was a good student but I definitely enjoyed too much wine to buffer my emotions. Whenever one of my roommate's Mom came to visit I almost felt violated. It was like someone opened me up and ripped that old bandaid off of my heart. It was painful and it always left me feeling extremely alone. I used to enjoy wandering around and getting lost by myself. It made me feel more connected to my Mom and reminded me (somehow) that I was OK.

It was strange and nostalgic to be back in the city that helped restore my heart all those years ago. I was walking around in a daze really missing my Father. So many thoughts about my childhood and then many more about my future without my Dad raced by. My friend and I stopped for a moment near the Duomo. A small crowd was gathered around a cute old Italian man. He was sitting on a stone bench, animatedly playing the violin. I got a little closer and my jaw dropped. The man was playing my Dad’s song, My Way by Frank Sinatra. We played that song at the funeral as his final send off. I stood there with my mouth open in complete shock and awe. There was a feeling of magic in the air. I felt reassured for a moment that I was in exactly the right place, on exactly the right path. I felt a gentle and welcomed tug on that old bandaid. The charm of Florence was mending me once again. I cried tears of sadness and joy as I realized that my Dad finally made it to visit me in Italy.


My Dad’s cousin own a funeral home in Cleveland. Picking out my Father’s coffin was one of the most surreal experiences of my life so far. The place had not changed much in fourteen and a half years. It was like walking into a time warp, only this time my Dad wasn’t there. I vaguely remember being with him to pick out my Mom’s coffin. Mostly I remember what it felt like to be in that cold, dimly lit basement full of display cases and weird decoration add-ons. I remember it feeling awful and heavy and unfair when I was sixteen. This time at 31, it almost felt like a joke.

My five siblings and I, along with my Dad’s mother and oldest brother, walked around in a haze trying to pick out a box to lay his body to rest. Damn. Coffins are expensive. I guess I didn’t realize it when my Mom died because he was there. I do remember that he only wanted the best for her. She was the love of his life and he didn’t care how much it cost.

His cousin and good friend was helping us arrange everything; again. He made an honest joke about my Dad being furious if we spent lots money on his coffin. He told us our father would be pretty upset if we put him in anything nicer than a plywood box. It was very difficult to hear but it was the truth. He always put everyone ahead of himself and rarely asked anyone for anything. The man was the hardest person to buy gifts for. Every time we asked, he would simply say, “I don’t need anything. If I want something I can buy it for myself.” We chose the nicest low-grade box that we felt comfortable with. We knew better than to disobey him even when he was dead.


A couple days before I went back to New York, most of my siblings and my Dad’s girlfriend accompanied Him to get the test results. We anxiously waited for what felt like hours before they called us in to see the doctor. The nurse joked about my Dad’s fan club as we paraded in behind him and squeezed into the tiny examination room. We were messing around and trying to laugh, totally unprepared for what was to come. The nurse did some routine checkups and the doctor came in shortly after. He tried his best to be as upbeat as possible. He was a kind man and it was clear that what he was about to deliver was going to be painful for everyone, himself included. The nurse tried to fight back tears as she looked around the room at our frightened yet hopeful faces. He told us that things were not looking good and it wasn’t possible for any traditional medical intervention. The cancer was extremely aggressive and had already spread to his lungs and chest. He wanted to scan my father’s head and was pretty sure it had also reached his brain. My Dad refused. He said he didn’t want to know, that it didn’t matter anyway. He was very calm until that point. He told the doctor that he was going to seek alternative treatment. Time stood still. I could feel the empathy pouring out of the doctor and nurse’s hearts. My Dad broke down. He burst into tears and cried for us. “But my kids have already been through this once.” I had honestly only seen my Father cry on a few occasions and each time it shook me to the core. It always stopped my tears because it scared the shit out of me. He was the rock, the one that reassured us everything was going to work out. He was society’s definition of a “strong man”. Seeing him cry shattered my heart and made me sick with fear at the same time. The room was silent as we watched him weep. I remember meekly trying to tell him that we were going to be ok. I still wonder if he heard me. I almost hope he didn’t. My shaky voice was evidence that I didn’t believe what I was saying.   

The doctor went on to say that he fully supported any alternative medicine that would make my Dad comfortable. We thanked the man as my Dad regained his composure and temporarily convinced everyone that things were going to be fine. We left the hospital and made our way home. He called his Mom and brothers over to the house. His mood was extremely light when he told them the news. He said he was convinced that alternative treatment had been the way to go all along. He lit a celebratory cigar in the house and even let his Mom puff a cigarette inside. Smoke filled the living room air. My sister and I hid in the basement, completely numb. Life as we knew it was slowly rising up in flames.


The doctors kept him in the hospital for a few more days after I arrived home. They needed to do some testing and wanted keep an eye on him. Our house felt eerie and strange. His presence was still strong but it was different. The overall mood was pretty solemn and tense. We went down to visit him in the mornings. My brother, an excellent chef, cooked healthy food to counteract everything that was given to him at the hospital. He seemed to be in good spirits. He joked and made friends with the nurses and had plenty of visitors to keep him company until he was set free.

They decided to let him go home on a Saturday. It happened to be the day of my cousin (his godson’s) wedding. He told us that we were all going to the reception, no exceptions. He wanted us to smile and have a good time and celebrate with my Mom’s family. I was in no mood to be around people and put up a small fight. I used the old excuse that I had nothing to wear. He handed me his credit card and told me to go buy something. There was no getting out of it so my sisters and I reluctantly went shopping.

Since he lost control of his bladder and bowels he was now confined to an adult diaper. They told him before he was released that this function would not be restored. Through it all, he maintained his dignity which will never cease to amaze me. I felt like I was moving through mud getting ready for the wedding. I came downstairs and saw my Dad for the first time since he had come home. He could barely keep his pants up and his jacket swallowed him. He looked like a child playing dress up in his Father’s suit. Looking at him stung, badly. I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and wondered what the hell was going on.

True to style, we were late for the wedding. So much for sneaking in and not making a scene. Everyone was already seated for dinner and we had to parade across the dance floor to get to our table. My Dad wasn’t moving fast, so we dragged along beside him. I felt like we were in an 80s movie. For all I know the music did stop and the room went silent. Thankfully some of our cousins came to greet us which made things a little less awkward.

I was sitting with my Mom’s sister and some of her other siblings. It was reassuring to be with her family and somehow it made it easier to feel her presence. Plus my Grandma’s hugs are always comforting. Our table fell silent as my Mom’s favorite song, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, filled the room. It was the song she requested we play to close her funeral. My cousin wanted her to be a part of the wedding so he chose that song to dance with his Mom. A small piece of my heart shattered as my Grandmother got up and asked my Dad to dance. A red flag was raised in my mind. I tried not to cry as I watched them struggle to maintain composure. They couldn’t look each other in the eye. I could feel the mutual love, sadness and fear dancing between them. When the song ended my Dad asked his girlfriend to dance. Halfway through she told him to take some time with his daughters which I’m eternally grateful for. We each got about thirty seconds with him and being the oldest, I was last. He was uncomfortable and I could tell he wanted it to be over quickly. Emotions aside it was awkward. I now have even more empathy for animals at the zoo. I felt like people had a view into a private moment between my Father and I; a moment I would have preferred not to share. I know he was protecting both of our hearts but it felt like I was dancing with a stranger. I wanted him to tell me that he was going to be ok, that our family was going to be ok. I wanted him to laugh and say that this was all a big fucking joke. I wished he would reassure me that my intuition was wrong, and that nothing was going to change. But deep down we both knew that it would be our last dance together.


I used to visit Her at the cemetery a lot. It was the only place I could actually feel Her presence and the only place I allowed myself to cry. My Dad used to ask me why I was going so much but I could never find the words to give him an answer. I would sit next to her gravestone after school and wonder what the hell the point was. He used to tell me that although her body was there in the ground, she wasn’t there; she was everywhere, all around us. He said I could talk to her and connect with her whenever I want, wherever I went. I didn’t really get it.

Up until recently I could count on one hand the amount of times that I had truly felt my Mom’s presence outside of that cemetery. I remember the first time very clearly. I had been living in New York City for about a year with a good friend. One evening she received an unexpected call that her brother had passed away in his sleep. It was obvious that she wanted to be alone so I went to my room quietly, not really knowing what to do. I felt like an idiot. I thought of all people, I should how to handle the situation but instead I just sat on my bed and cried. After some time, I recall feeling a soft and loving presence fill the air. It shocked me at first but quickly became comforting and warm. It was as if I was being rocked like a baby and I soon recognized that it was my Mom. It felt so familiar and safe. My room turned into a protective bubble of love. She stayed with me through the night as I mourned for my friend, for her brother and her family. She gently wiped my tears and held vigil as I cried myself to sleep. I had longed for her to hold me since she died and that was the first time I allowed it. I woke up the next morning feeling rested and in awe of Her beauty. I realized that the tears for my friend and her brother were also tears for my beloved Mother. They were tears of grief with a touch of acceptance. It was our first solid connection since She left us.

The second time was a couple years later during a yoga class. I was lying in savasana and I drifted far away. I was fairly new to the practice and was surprised to find myself expanding beyond the walls of the room. Before I knew it I was sitting on a beautiful grassy hill directly across from my Mom. We sat together in silence, lovingly enjoying one another’s company. It was a vividly profound moment but it ended just as quickly as it started. I rode the subway home in a daze unable to articulate my experience. I felt confused, like I was floating in time and space. But from that night on something inside of me started to wake up. I began to understand what my Dad had been talking about. I decided not to forget about these moments. I made a promise to myself to allow Her back into my world, to keep my eyes open, and to look for Her wherever I decided to go.  


Wednesday March 20th, 2002

Her presence surrounds me though many years have passed. The sun shines on me and she tells me: go on. At times I still feel regret. Can I be happy when she isn’t here to share? At times I wonder if she feels the sand under my feet, the breeze that cools me on a sunny afternoon, the words I speak when I’m pleading with her? Does she feel it when music touches my soul? Will our souls always be connected or is she just a figment of my imagination. Did she really exist or were those happy times a facade?

It would be easier to say that she never lived; easier to block her out and pretend that she wasn’t the center of my world. She still is the center of my world and will continue to have that place in my heart. I am sick of lying to myself when the sun beats down on my body and replenishes me. When the scent of the ocean is so strong, it burns. She is the sun, the ocean, the moon, the stars. God created this beauty as symbols for the world’s beloved ancestors. They remind us to move on, to be strong.

Look for signs, keep your eyes open and breathe. Day by day you will see things and know that you are loved and protected. The old saying, “out of sight, out of mind” does not apply here. Take the time to let your body feel. It takes a while but when the time comes, it will hit you. A weight will be lifted from your shoulders, you will exhale and be at peace with your thoughts. Acceptance doesn’t ever mean that you’re comfortable with your loss. It simply means you are in tune with the spiritual world. Although your life will never be the same, it is still your life to live and you finally made the choice to live it. It becomes easier to speak and share their name. You can finally laugh as you remember. You feel healthy again, ready to take on the world. The fear of change and resistance no longer pain you. You are ready to charge through life. You realize how short life really is. It’s much too short fear the unknown. Entirely too short to ignore the voice directing you toward your dreams. Your dreams are the only thing that will keep you sane. Do not ignore the voice. It lives deep inside your heart and fights to teach you every day. All the good who have gone before us sing in unison with the voice.


May 1999

How can it be that she is gone?
One year this September­­ – how can it be?
I’m learning to live with the emptiness, that’s all I can do.
That’s all I can do until we meet.
Until we meet, my heart is hollow.
When I embrace her in heaven, I will be whole.
I will be whole for eternity if I have her.
If I have her I will long for nothing.
Nothing shall I long for when my hand is in hers.
When my hand is in hers, I will be free.
I will be free from sadness, anger and loneliness.
Someday we’ll be together and that alone will keep me awake.
I will stay awake until it’s my turn to go.
When it’s my turn to go, I won’t be afraid.
I won’t be afraid, she will welcome me in her arms and together we will sleep.
Together we will sleep at the feet of God.


February 4, 2016  In Writing


September 13, 1998

Around Christmastime when my Mom was really sick and I told her that I wanted to do this, she said that she thought it would be too hard for me. Well I guess I inherited her stubbornness or I wouldn’t be standing up here today.

She understands but doesn’t want us to be sad, so I’ll start with some happy memories. She loved bright colors. We would laugh at her bright orange lipstick and her ugly red shoes (which by the way she only bought because she knew I wouldn’t try to steal them). I remember how she would strut along the beach in her fluorescent pink bikini without a care in the world. What other people said didn’t bother her. All that mattered was that she felt good.

She wouldn’t pass up a chance to go to the ocean. She was amazed by the beauty and peacefulness of it each and every time she went. That is where she got her thinking done. We knew she really needed to think when she woke us up in the middle of the night to go to North Carolina. The next best thing to the ocean was being outside in the sun. She would sit there for hours but get tan within minutes.

She had the strongest will and a good heart. What a combination, she was remarkable! The person in need was always her priority and that person was never her. She never once asked why me, even at the very end.

She is the bravest person I’ll ever meet. She did everything to the best of her ability and her motto was NEVER NEVER QUIT! And she never did, although she passed away she never gave up. She fought tooth and nail every day for almost two years. She maintained a positive mindset as she endured constant pain. Her spirit will be with us forever.

Mom, now you officially have your wings, even though we knew you were an angel here on earth. Help us to remember you and to laugh, for you are only in the next room. Thank you for all your love. Until we meet again, may you rest in peace.