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Sue on Burr Pond, Summer 2016

Grief is a fascinating, complex emotion and experience. I, like so many other people, have been on a grief journey for years now that has taught me an incredible amount about myself, about loss, and about what it means to love. Part of how I process all emotions, grief especially, is through writing. That’s one reason why I’m working on a collaborative book of writing with my mother.

One of the last “good” days I spent with my mom before she really started to decline physically was after a family trip to Boston to see James Taylor at Fenway Park. It was a lot for her, between the travel, the chaos of the city, and the *amazing* emotional rollercoaster that was the concert. We got back to her beloved mountaintop cabin in Pittsford, VT and did her favorite thing – we floated on the pond.

Trailing our fingers

soft along the surface of the

cooling summer waters that engulfs us

creates ripples

perfect, widening circles

expanding out to the water’s edge.

Our voices

talking of this and that

co-mingle and co-create

this peaceful present moment

our travels complete

unknown horizons awaiting

but right now?

Just this.

Outer August sun

inner tubes



our moment rippling


beyond the edge.


Years later

our voices join once more


to create more


Looking back at that summer, more than three years later, I’m so glad we had moments like this. Moments that really mattered. Moments of peace. Moments of connection. I’m grateful those were the moments that made up her last summer. She was very intentional about the way she chose to live her final months. “I will live until I die,” she writes in one of her final CaringBridge posts.

And I’m grateful that she knew when to let go. That she knew how to say good bye. And that she taught us how to say good bye with grace and love.

This is why I’m sharing her story, and my own. To continue creating ripples outwards from her life, reaching out infinitely to find more people with her wisdom – from her life as well as her death – and to share the beautiful way that she was able to say good bye.

If you’re inspired by our story, please consider donating to make the book I’m putting together a reality! So far, from an outpouring of amazing support in less than a week, I’ve raised just over $5,000 towards my goal of $6,000. That means there’s less than $1,000 left to go! Your contribution will help me bridge that gap, make the project a reality, and amplify my mother's wisdom on how to live and die with grace, love, and meaning - something I think our world desperately needs.


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