The following entries (from beginning runner to half marathon finisher) represents a continuing journey of tremendous grief and sorrow, and of transformation - largely through the therapeutic power of running. The sorrow that has broken my heart open wide has in time allowed me to experience the beauty of being in the present moment. And of course, without the support of family and friends to guide me, I would not have made it this far.

If you have lost someone in your life, I offer these words and verse (some Kristy's, some mine and others) with the hope it may touch your heart and help you heal.
mailto:clarksonart@gmail.com


Sunday, March 9, 2014

MILE MARKER 1

This granite stone sits in my garden with words from one of your poem


It has been nearly two years since I ran at the lake. Two years ago I had what they thought was a blood clot in my brain and I spent 3 days in ICU. I was just about ready to leave the house for the lake when it happened. A blinding pain that took away everything and brought me to my knees. As I lay in my hospital bed there was a strange calm. I remember thinking I had wished I could die to escape the pain of your loss so many times before and now I felt a sense of serenity and even freedom. Whatever would be, would be.

Today I went back to the lake. It was seven in the morning and no one else was around. The sun was just gaining strength and it was beautiful and calm. I ran to the mile marker where there is a granite rock memorial to "Jessica - The Running Girl".  Jessica was killed by a car as she was crossing the highway on her way to a run. She died on August 14, 2007 - only a few months before you did. There is a lovely quotation from Mother Theresa on the rock.

I know it's a small step - this early morning run. I have had so many reasons for not going. Pretty soon I didn't even need a reason any more because it just became the new normal.  It has been six years now and many things have become routine. Yet this day lurks in my mind all year and when it is practically spring time I am reminded there is also death, another marker of time. Time spent remembering you and trying to show you how much I love and miss you.

Of all the things I remember about you Kristy the thing I most admire is your kindness and your determination.  These things made you who you were. A strong and sensitive person. Today as I ran I remembered these things. My legs hurt and my heart hurt, but I made the two miles. I feel close to you when I run and I don't want to keep making excuses for things I think I cannot do.

Thanks for the kick in the pants. I will try to do better. I love you, mom.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

FITFUL STILL


One of your poems in your own handwritting.  It seems fitting for today as I remember you in dreams that are "fitful still." My own heart beats in your chest my darling just as yours does in mine. You are never far from my thoughts - and I know you have changed the lives of so many. We all remember you - your strength and vulnerability. Everything around me reminds me of you. Today I will smile as I dream a dream of you. One day we once again dream together.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Kristy



Today I celebrate your life Kristy
We will eat pumpkin pie and think of you
Maybe I'll even scoop it out of the shell
and not bother with the crust
Just like you used to do

yum

I miss you dear
You are always in my thoughts
I aspire still to be as brave as you were
To push as hard
Love as hard
and
never give up

mom

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Four Years Later

Laurissa and I talked about you today
You are here in our hearts
and though they ache we can still smile
when we remember you.

My spectacular daughter


Friday, November 19, 2010

EARTH ROOTS

Kristy and Jack

Today is your birthday, and I would rather remember your birth than your death.  I know your family and friends are all thinking of you today Kristy.  This last year was another milestone - and you would have been 33 today.  Who knows what you would have accomplished?  Each time I look at your photo I feel as if I am looking into myself.  It's as if I am holding all my memories of you in one hand and there is so much love. One thing is certain - no one who knew you will ever forget you.  You are connected to us all.


What are Earth Roots, my daughter asked
when she was just a child,
examining each flower in its home.


Earth Roots are a special connection,
a sacred thread that joins our spirits
to every living thing, I said.  Earth Roots
Join me to you, and you to birds and flowers.


In her hand my daughter held a sparrow
with a broken wing.  She said:
Can Earth Roots make the sparrow fly again?


The sparrow can become a rose, in time,
just as the rose takes wing, I said.
Earth Roots make all things possible.


My daughter did not understand these things
until she had a daughter of her own.
Then she saw the way Earth Roots join
The sparrow to the rose.


-  Earth Roots, by Nancy Wood

P.S.  Jack sends you his love.  He misses you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

MY PUMPKIN PIE


Sweet thoughts today of you eating pumpkin pie.  You would scoop it right out of the pie crust - savoring each bite.  But you never ate the crust.  You used to apologize for it but after awhile we would just give each other that knowing look. Your eyes would practically roll back into your head as you ate.  You were transported.

I call my two small dogs "pumpkin pie" - it's a term of endearment that seems to make sense to me.  It's all wrapped up in feelings for you and of watching you enjoy yourself.  It made me so happy to watch you.  

I will always be watching you.

Friday, July 9, 2010

MY CHOICE

Each day before rising
still and loose in my sheets
gently floating in my
moment of freedom

I remember the game
where a dark tunnel loomed
and we held our breath
straining to reach
a childish beacon

The intrusion of light
does not change my path
plodding ever forward
falling ever backward
my breath a volcano

But Hiroshima explodes
and the Nile rises
their strained duet
blinding and hot
demanding their revenge

Finally my eyes open
a hand is before me
my morning coffee
the reaper's bone
or the farmer's plow

Thursday, July 1, 2010

ILLUMINATED TRUTH





















A few days ago Kristy's sister Laurissa came into town and we laid Kristys's ashes in the cemetery.  We decorated the space with flowers from the back yard.  Next to her ceremonial is the plaque we had made with a photo and the words from one of her poems. Laurissa and I were surprised at how cold it was as we sat holding each other.... We spent the next 5 days together, making it a total of seven.  Later Laurissa wrote this beautiful poem:


seven psychic days
of mother and daughter
holding sister
and daughter
close
still
learning
this walk
without her
within
flesh and blood
smile, hands
and eyes
shout of the limb
torn away
and then
there is
beyond
don't know if I will ever
have daughters to gather
to my body
but my sister is gone
I will be alone
that is the dark fear
but never alone
illuminates truth
I tend to my plants all my days
though it is not I or me
nor mine
whisper the soft green breezes:
be gentle with your love

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A PERSONAL AUDITION


How do we know when we are truly interacting in a "spiritual" world.  I like this explanation:  Knowing you are no longer expressing yourself but feeling one with yourself.  For it is a longing to be united within that drives us forward.  But what mask do we wear?

The spiritual fulfillment of a man depends on how he is able to project himself into the spiritual world as he performs.  He really doesn't perform for the third parties who form the audience.  Rather the audience becomes his personal self.  He tries to express to himself his own conceptions about the spiritual ideals that he sees...  He is able to do so behind the (his) mask because he has lost his personal identity.


Sam Gill on the use of the mask in Native American ceremony

Monday, May 31, 2010

STRANGER













A stranger walked into our garden a few days ago.  That evening I was reading Sophie's World (by Jostein Gaarder) and I came across this passage: "Life is both sad and solemn.  We are let into a wonderful world, we meet one another here, greet each other - and wander together for a brief moment.  Then we lose each other and disappear as suddenly and unreasonably as we arrived."  Later in bed I could not help but reflect....

She asked me about the stone in the garden.  She smiled and said she liked the painting of you in my studio.  But I couldn't tell her about your death, for I have learned what it does, this terrible truth.  I could have said my daughter is dead.  I could have said, "My daughter was killed."  I could have said my daughter was beautiful in every way, for these were all true for a brief moment in time.  And yes, this stone bears her picture and her words.  But no it does not contain her ashes.  She walked these garden stones, she watered these plants...sometimes with her tears, but also with her laughter.  She was here one day and now only as a thought.

Thank you for thinking of her.  I have only gratitude.  Tears are not enough.