Category Archives: Marilyn

Bridges

On this seventh anniversary of Marilyn’s death I reflected on how our pets become bridges to the past.

When I met Marilyn she simply hated cats. So my dear cat Fran had to be rehomed to Albuquerque with my first wife. It was years later and an answered prayer when Marilyn finally decided she wanted cats in our home.

No dogs. But cats were now ok. It was a quantum leap in our relationship and her spiritual life.

After her death Kink helped keep my heart alive and then Tammi joined me. With Tammi came dogs (Kona and Sugar and eventually Dozer) and one of our cats simply couldn’t adapt (Chloe) and was rehomed. Kink hung in there and now is on a equals basis with the dogs. She’s also bonded to Tammi and there are now nights when my bed is filled with my lovely wife, my cat AND my dogs.

Blessings come wrapped in tragedies. I thank God for my blessings and give honor to those gone beyond who await me now.

God bless you all.

MLW_KinkyChinCuddlebest
Marilyn Bonita Wray cuddles with one of our new kittens, Kinky, soon to be renamed Kinkles. It was a wondrous moment to see her child heart take flame again. I will never forget it.
Tammi petting Kinkles 060914
My third (!) wife Tammi Jean Hofferber-Wray cuddles with Miss Kinkles surrounded by white. To see this sweet creature ever so wisely bridging the gap between my mates is deeply touching. People ask ‘why cats’ – this should help answer that somewhat.

Darkest Days

May 14 is my darkest day and the ones following are a slow climb back up to the Light.

Each year my soul remembers this ordeal, but from a farther vantage, the pain reduced by distance. No longer a searing white spear through my burning heart but a still-sharp red-hot lancet that leaves a small smoking brand on that worst of scars. A cold rushes over me as I remember Marilyn’s last breath. That awful moment of realization that it was her last and the sun in my world literally winking out and the stars shrinking back from my grief. I can hold this awful memory in my hands now, my heart absorbs the blow without flinching. The Darkness no longer frightens me now that I know my beloved Wife is there and surely kicking it’s ASS, waiting for me and reinforcements to arrive. Probably planting a garden and flowers too.

Thank you Didibear for being my wife and my lover. I miss you. There is still a void in the World that you once filled. SO many people miss you.

Thank you for the lessons you taught me – most of all I will drink deep until my cup is stricken down as well.

God bless you Wife.

I come in my own time.

There is still Work to do.

M. Douglas Wray and Marilyn Lawrence at Hoverhome in Longmont, CO - June 28, 1998
M. Douglas Wray and Marilyn Lawrence at Hoverhome in Longmont, CO – June 28, 1998

Amazing Grace

Judy Collins a capella choir (mp3)

Bagpipes (mp3)

John Newton (1725-1807)
Stanza 6 anon.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Remember when it rained

Was thinking about my beloved Marilyn Bonita today (it’s our wedding anniversary today) and this song came up on the radio.

I swear sometimes God is standing right next to me with His hand on my heart.

I’m trying to go on, but when a song touches ‘the one within’ part of me bursts into flame and my grief becomes incandescent agony.

I miss you Didi. Thank you for sending Tammi. She knows this pain and she helps me as I help her grieve for her beloved Scott.

I’m glad you’re someplace where pain can no longer touch you.

Remember when it rained

by Josh Groban

Wash away the thoughts inside
That keep my mind away from you.
No more love and no more pride
And thoughts are all I have to do.

Ohhhhhh Remember when it rained.
Felt the ground and looked up high
And called your name.
Ohhhhhh Remember when it rained.
In the darkness I remain.

Tears of hope run down my skin.
Tears for you that will not dry.
They magnify the one within
And let the outside slowly die.

Ohhhhhh Remember when it rained.
I felt the ground and looked up high
And called your name.
Ohhhhhh Remember when it rained.
In the water I remain
Running down
Running down
Running down
Running down
Running down
Running down
Running down

Thirst

In this vineyard
I have waited
parched of throat
despairing of kinship
hiding in the shadow

Comes a vintner now
eager and joyous
blessed by the light
unafraid of the dark
to lead me forth

Working as one
we prune away the dead
shore up the weak
and harvest together
the sweet fruit of life

When the wine is ready
bloody red and warm
fill the cups
brimming full
and raise them high

Let us toast this day
and vow between us
to always drink deep
until the cups are empty
or stricken from our lips

MDW 6/98
to Marilyn on our wedding day

To Marilyn: March 2, 2010

Hi Hon,

It’s been nearly a year since you left and sometimes I miss you terribly. I know you’re walking with Jesus now and no longer in constant pain – for that I give thanks. But I keep stumbling across little pieces of our life together and the returning memory of your loss shreds this fragile fabric of my life that I’m reweaving.

You still haunt me in my quiet moments, moments you would fill with your voice: talking, laughing, singing. I miss hearing you snore at night. When your favorite of our two cats comes to stand on my chest in the night I can see in her eyes she misses you. And I can’t do a damn thing about it. That knowledge tears open the wound in my heart and I lay there in the dark weeping like a child, futilely wishing I could turn back the hands of time.

I’ve found someone new to love, who loves me as well – and who also lost her first love suddenly. I know you wanted me to go on and be happy in the remainder of my life and I’m trying to honor that. She knows all about you – I think you even met her a couple of times because we used to shop where she worked – that’s how I met her.

I love you baby. I feel so bad I couldn’t save you. I feel bad that you went through chemo, even though we’d talked about it and you swore you wouldn’t – so I know you did it for me. And worst of all, after all the pain, the injections, the scans and feeling miserable it came to naught. Most of all that hurts the worst – that you almost made it back but then were snatched away. The hope that proved false was such a blow to you. And yet you faced the end with courage and dignity. You made all your arrangements quietly, not telling me the awful truth because you knew it would shatter me.

I want you to know that our dear friends all rallied to help me, God bless them every single one. They were like lighthouses on the shore, guiding me away from the rocks and showing me the way back to some semblance of a life.

They knew what losing you meant to me and they’ve all been incredibly supportive of my new partner so that we’re hopeful life will return to some kind of normalcy.

So I keep walking across the ice, trying to avoid the cracks that hurl me into the icy water and leave me gasping in pain.

I’m sure you’re looking down at me just now and I hope  you’re proud of me.

I miss you baby.

Unseen Homeland

This is from Marilyn’s friend Kris via her friend Karen and thence her friend Paula to me. I confess I have been remiss in posting this. Each time I looked at the pictures the pain came back – so I filed the message away ‘for another day.’ That day has come, it’s time to say goodbye to my dear wife.

You never got to see Ireland or Scotland as we’d hoped, so I’m hoping your spririt got to see this lovely place. I’m missing you terribly just now hon – and so are your friends.

Here’s the photos and words from her friend Kris:

Across-Dunsappie-web

Loch-Dunsappie-web

This is where I spread Marilyn’s ashes.  Will you pass them along for me?

City-of-Edinburgh-from-Dunsappie-web

Overlooking Edinburgh was taken from the end of Loch Dunsapie where I spread her ashes.  This looks over the city and on to the Firth of Forth.  At the other end, the road circles around to Arthur’s Seat.  Oh, this Loch is in the Queen’s Park, adjacent to Hollyrood Palace.  It’s full of birds and Swans.

Swans-nest-on-Dunsappie-web

The Swan’s nest is again taken from the spot where I spread the ashes but looking across the Loch.

Google map

Marilyn’s first email to me

I have every single email Marilyn ever sent me. I went back to the very beginning and found this.

Sigh. She was 100% honest and right out front – start to finish.

I still miss her and I always will.

Miss you Didibear…


Hi. I am not sure what to write… so here goes. I am 46/f/Swedish/English/Scottish. I have red curly hair and blue eyes with fair skin. I am about 5’5″ and voluptuous. I am currently a graduate student in clinical social work and work with kids.

I love opera, light rock, the mountains, water, autumn, cooking, sewing, knitting, crocheting, quilting, needlework, baking, hiking, swimming, ballet, and am doing quite well figuring out how to use the internet.

I have never been married (too buzy) and I adopt my friends children. I drive a truck (1978 Ford stepside) and will not part with it under any curcumstances.

I write, sing, play the guitar, and prefer cooler weather. My mothers family are all Canadian and I have lived in Alberta as a child. I have a degree in Criminal Justice, Courts and Law and Social Work with special emphasis in Native Americans.

I, too, have life issues that I am working through. I am also a June baby and have many facets to my personality.

I am looking for a friend, companion, and perhaps a special someone who can eccept me for me. I can be crazy and wild, or quiet and shy. I have lots of energy and love life.

Would like to correspond with you and see where it goes.

Marilyn

God, Thou Art Love

If I forget,
Yet God remembers! If these hands of mine
Cease from their clinging, yet the hands divine
Hold me so firmly that I cannot fall;
And if sometimes I am too tired to call
For Him to help me, then He reads the prayer
Unspoken in my heart, and lifts my care.

I dare not fear, since certainly I know
That I am in God’s keeping, shielded so
From all that else would harm, and in the hour
Of stern temptation strengthened by His power;
I tread no path in life to Him unknown;
I lift no burden, bear no pain, alone:
My soul a calm, sure hiding-place has found:
The everlasting arms my life surround.

God, Thou art love! I build my faith on that.
I know Thee who has kept my path, and made
Light for me in the darkness, tempering sorrow
So that it reached me like a solemn joy;
It were too strange that I should doubt Thy love.
—Robert Browning

Rising Trail

Up from the Canyon of Death I climb,
legs weary and burning
I pause at a vantage point
and look back

Only darkness lies below
clouds and fog shroud the trail
my lungs burn from the effort
of such a terrible climb

I sit for a moment
in a quiet place
remembering
shuddering in horror

I feel the clouds part
and the sun pour down
it’s heat welcome on my closed eyes
as the wind tousles my hair like a mother

The wind gusts now, pushing at my back
I open my eyes, shoulder my burden
and resume the climb
rising with the trail.

MDW 6/26/09
To all those who helped me reach this vantage

God Bless You All

Written in Sand

writteninsand1

From our last vacation. Half Moon Bay in California.

Marilyn was as happy as a little girl. She wrote that in the sand with her finger and was literally chortling with glee.

writteninsand2

My homage to my beloved wife, written on the same beach.

06-22-09-mlw3-copy

Taken by my friend DJ as I scattered some of Marilyn’s ashes.

Just as I threw them into the surf a seagull swooped by, inches away.

I watched it sweep, crying into the sky.

Fly high little bird.

Fly high.

Lighthouses

One of the sights DJ and Martha took me to see was Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

WOW.

pigeonpointlighthouse-sm

Reviewing my photos so far I was struck by this shot most of all. (More of this location here)

This has been an incredibly stormy period in my life and were it not for the ‘lighthouses’ manned by my friends (Marty and Kate Beier, DJ and Martha, Todd and Rita Lockwood, etc, etc, etc!!) I would surely have crashed on the rocks.

God bless everyone who’s ‘manned the light’ and given me guidance.

The weather is clearing and I feel that soon it will be safe to raise sail once again.

Dear Dad

I refer you to this post.

Now that you and my beloved wife have all the time in the universe to get acquainted, I hope the two of you can see how much I cared for you both.

Both of you taught me lessons about courage and honesty – and how they’re inextricably linked. You both taught me about love and honor – and how one can’t flourish without the other… and how they transform your life when both are present in large measure.

I’m a better man for having had you in my life. It wasn’t always easy, but the uphill path never is. The altitude you helped me achieve has given me the persepective to see the arc of my life up to now and informed my choices going forward.

Of all the gifts I’ve received in my life, that is truly the most precious.

I wish you were here Dad… and the wishing tears at me.

I hope you’re happy wherever you are and I’m trying to be happy here without you.

The sun’s shining from a clear blue sky as I sit here in a maelstrom of voices and clattering dishes.

Life goes on, just like a river. It’s paddle or be paddled.

San Fran – Day 4

Another whirlwind day with DJ as wheelman. This time his wife Martha came along, trooper that she is. Eight hours and 266 photos later we crash-landed at their house in Fremont. Martha made us a lovely dinner of meatloaf and twice-baked taters. Oh my.

Here’s the evidence, errr photos! (via Flickr)

My favorite shot of the day?

cupertinomecca

Of course.

I’m wearing a shirt from Exploded128.com – to emphasize the ‘Infinite Loop’-ishness of the scene.

It was like being at Mecca. My invisible propeller-beanie was going so fast I felt light on my feet.

SF Day Three

Started off with Grace Cathedral

dsc_0206sm

Walked the Labyrinth – what a wonderful experience that is. I highly recommend it.

Then it was off to the Golden Gate – all fogged in but we still managed to get some good shots – especially from the Marin Headlands. Then we went to the Sea Mammal Rescue Center – set in some of the most beautiful countryside imaginable.

Then we circled back to SF and had lunch in Sausalito. Burgers. MMMMM.

I’m working on getting the pix from day four up, went to the Palace of the Legion of Honor and the DeYoung museums. Truly nourishment for the soul!!

burp

All Is One

allisone

This post is dedicated to Diana Forest, who keeps reminding me that we’re all part of the same thing. ‘Drops in the ocean’

I saw this storefront and immediately thought of you.

All is one.

Burn brightly my loved ones.

I’m off to another day of sightseeing and fun.

Pictures from day 1 are loaded up and I’ll be pushing day two’s imagery while I’m out and about today.

Green Tortoise – Day 2

Another fine night, slept like a stone. The room’s incredibly quiet. Sitting in the ballroom (I’d still call it a refectory, but that’s just me) enjoying a couple of toasted bagels with marmelade and several cups of scorching-hot Earl Grey. Gotta love a place with no less than six choices of tea. The preponderance of English (Australian?) accents sort of explains that. If I’m a bit less pressed for time, I’ll interview some of the staff and post about them before I move on to Seattle.

What a day I had yesterday! Took 170+ photos as I walked along Fisherman’s Wharf to the cable car turntable, then rode to the top of Broadway and walked back down to the Tortoise. Lovely day and sunny. As per usual, I am a fool and didn’t wear sunscreen:

photo-2

I’m thinking I need a nice octagonal hat… would make crossing the street quicker.

Also, at night I don’t need a flashlight… my face glows in the dark.

Off to Grace Cathedral to walk their Labyrinth and say another goodbye.

DJ’s picking me up there and we’ll be walking the Golden Gate bridge, then going north to Muir Woods.

Tupelo Honey

Sitting the Green Tortoise ballroom having breakfast and this came on the radio.

I hear you Didibear.

Tupelo Honey by Van Morrisson

You can take all the tea in china
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail right around the seven oceans
Drop it straight into the deep blue sea
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You cant stop us on the road to freedom
You cant keep us cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor bent on chivalry
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You cant stop us on the road to freedom
You cant stop us cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor intent on chivalry
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You know shes alright
You know shes alright with me
Shes alright, shes alright (shes an angel)

You can take all the tea in china
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail it right around the seven oceans
Drop it smack dab in the middle of the deep blue sea
Because shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like the honey, baby, from the bee
Shes my baby, you know shes alright…..

Green Tortoise – Day 1

greentortoiseWhat a lovely, funky place!

The room is small but well-appointed, right down to a somewhat-battered but quite serviceable box-fan (that was oh-so-welcome since I sleep with a fan at home). The shared bathroom(s) are nicely done, also small but numerous and plenty of hot water… ahhh. These tired old bones appreciated that. Will have to try out the sauna upstairs (roof??? more later).

Only rub: wireless access on top floor wasn’t working. Desk person suggested it might be fixed today. Hope is a good thing. Meanwhile, I’m writing from the refectory (my word, not theirs) and enjoying the pleasant (and surprisingly quiet)(hangovers?) atmosphere.

Well, off to gird these loins and go forth. DJ’s busy today so I’m on my own in a strange city.

I cannot express  my eagerness.

Travel Day

Flew from Denver to San Francisco today.

My seat-neighbor was a delightful woman named Beverly. We had such a lovely conversation that it took both of our nervous-flyer minds off our fears. I bought us both a drink (Whiskey of course!) and we toasted to the great loves in our lives – me to Marilyn, her to her magnificent husband.

Surely Marilyn is helping God surround me with good people.

Even during the terriffic turbulence that forced the stewards to sit down briefly we laughed and talked on.

What a change.

Pretty Ballerina

Marilyn was my pretty little ballerina

Hat tip to DJCline.

YouTube video (audio with image of record player)

Pretty Ballerina by Left Banke

I had a date with a pretty ballerina
Her hair so brilliant that it hurt my eyes
I asked her for this dance
and then she obliged me
Was I surprised, yeah
Was I surprised,
no not at all

I called her yesterday,
it should have been tomorrow
I could not keep
the joy that was inside
I begged for her to tell me
if she really loved me
Somewhere a mountain is moving
Afraid it’s moving without me

I had a date with a pretty ballerina
Her hair so brilliant that it hurt my eyes
I asked her for this dance
and then she obliged me
Was I surprised, yeah
Was I surprised, no not at all

And when I wake on a dreary Sunday morning
I open up my eyes to find there’s rain
And something strange within said,
go ahead and find her
Just close your eyes, yeah
Just close your eyes and she’ll be there
She’ll be there…

Yet a While

My dear friend Mary Pitt sent me this poem she wrote for her beloved husband. He too, has departed and this poem now has special meaning for me as well.

Thank you Mumzee.

 

 

Ed Pitt

 

 


Yet a While

Walk with me yet a while, dear heart,
The road is dark ahead
I need your light to show the way
Down the path of fear and dread

Our journey started long ago
Skipping gaily hand in hand
Young and eager to face the challenge
Of great adventure and foreign lands

We often stopped to smell the flowers
And pick up burdens along the way
Confident of our strengh to carry
And our ablilties to pay

Later we walked to slower measure
Due to weight we often bore
Tiring from our mainful labor
But willing still to carry more

Uphill and down, through heat or cold
Heedless of the weather
We presevered and carried on
And always clung together

You lent your strength, I added mine
No mountain was too high
You stumbled, I caught you, I fell, you raised me
We let no challenge pass by

And now we near the fearful end
The greatest challenge of all
I fear without you by my side
That I will fail and doubt and fall

So give me once again that wink
And optimistic smile
That tells me you will find the strength
To walk with me yet a while

Mary Pitt 2004

Marilyn Wray Memorial Program

Marilyn Wray Memorial Booklet (pdf 1.1Mb)

Landscape orientaion, two-sided, letter-size paper 8.5 in x 11 in.

Text contained in the booklet follows:

marilynwray_2008

Marilyn Bonita Wray

June 16, 1951 – May 14, 2009


Marilyn Bonita Wray — June 16, 1951 – May 14, 2009

Memorial Services

6:45 am    Guests gather at 2339 Bowen St, Longmont
7:00 am    Procession departs for Conifer Hill / Camp Weedaho
8:00 am    Guests gather for service at Camp Weedaho
Music by Anthony Lee
Service will be read by James Harris
Moment of silent prayer / music
Reading by M. Douglas Wray
Invitation to others to speak
Lord’s Prayer led by James Harris
This service symbolizes: Marilyn’s birth and childhood

9:30 am    Procession continues to Endovalley Road, RMNP
This procession symbolizes: Our lives before meeting.
11:00 am    Guests gather at Endovalley Road first parking area.
Brief passages will be read by those continuing to the
Alpine Trail crest. Those wishing it will be given an
envelope containing cremains to scatter during walk.
This service symbolizes: Our marriage and life together
11:30 am    Guests not continuing to the top depart to walk
Endovalley Road to the picnic area.
The immediate family proceeds down Endovalley Road
to Fall River Road, acknowledging all those walking in
both directions. This symbolizes: Those come and gone
11:45 am    Procession begins ascent – brief stop at Chasm Falls.
Doug will cast ashes into the falls.
This symbolizes: Marilyn in the maelstrom of illness.
12:15 pm    Final procession group reaches Alpine Visitor Center
and begins stairway climb to crest. All participants will
scatter a small handfull of ashes into the wind.
This symbolizes: Marilyn’s death and ascent to heaven.
7:00 pm    Guests gather at 2339 Bowen St.
This symbolizes: The family of mankind.
8:00 pm    Candles will be provided for guests to light.
This symbolizes: Joy that Marilyn gave others.

 




crest_robertson

 

Marilyn was a proud descendant of the oldest clan of Scotland – Robertson.

Their motto: Virtutis Gloria Merces translates as:
Glory is the reward of valour

She was my friend, my mate, my defender and my heart.

She carried the Cross and now wears the Crown.

The world dimmed when she left, so burn brightly my loved ones!

Burn Brightly!

O Wife

marilynwray_2008

O Wife
for my beloved Marilyn Bonita

God did smile
when we met
happiest either
had been yet

Love had blossomed
we both grew
each made the other
whole and new

The wheel has turned
and you’ve departed
now I finish
what we started

I walk alone
pain like a sun
heart like a stone
almost! undone

Now you’ve burned
and ash remains
to Earth return
in sooty grains

Within my heart
there is a flame
that burns forever
just the same

Now I proceed
and you abide
no longer hand-clasped
at my side

To gateway distant
sure and true
and on that day
return to you

Goodbye O Wife!

I Come O Wife!

MDW

“…I walk alone…”

Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

Green Day

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I’m the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah,
Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I’m walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line
Of the edge and where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What’s fucked up and everything’s alright
Check my vital signs
To know I’m still alive and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone

Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Ah-ah, Aaah-ah
Ah-ah, Ah-ah

I walk alone
I walk a…

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one and I walk a…

My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
‘Til then I walk alone…

The Cremation of Sam McGee

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursèd cold, and it’s got right hold, till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ’tain’t being dead — it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you, to cremate those last remains.”

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows — Oh God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared — such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; … then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear, you’ll let in the cold and storm —
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Robert Service (1874-1958)

Renascence

by Edna St. Vincent Millay in 1917

All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I’d started from;
And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.
Over these things I could not see;
These were the things that bounded me;
And I could touch them with my hand,
Almost, I thought, from where I stand.
And all at once things seemed so small
My breath came short, and scarce at all.
But, sure, the sky is big, I said;
Miles and miles above my head;
So here upon my back I’ll lie
And look my fill into the sky.
And so I looked, and, after all,
The sky was not so very tall.
The sky, I said, must somewhere stop,
And–sure enough!–I see the top!
The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
I ‘most could touch it with my hand
And reaching up my hand to try,
I screamed to feel it touch the sky.
I screamed, and–lo!–Infinity
Came down and settled over me;
Forced back my scream into my chest,
Bent back my arm upon my breast,
And, pressing of the Undefined
The definition on my mind,
Held up before my eyes a glass
Through which my shrinking sight did pass
Until it seemed I must behold
Immensity made manifold;
Whispered to me a word whose sound
Deafened the air for worlds around,
And brought unmuffled to my ears
The gossiping of friendly spheres,
The creaking of the tented sky,
The ticking of Eternity.
I saw and heard, and knew at last
The How and Why of all things, past,
And present, and forevermore.
The Universe, cleft to the core,
Lay open to my probing sense
That, sick’ning, I would fain pluck thence
But could not,–nay! But needs must suck
At the great wound, and could not pluck
My lips away till I had drawn
All venom out.–Ah, fearful pawn!
For my omniscience paid I toll
In infinite remorse of soul.
All sin was of my sinning, all
Atoning mine, and mine the gall
Of all regret. Mine was the weight
Of every brooded wrong, the hate
That stood behind each envious thrust,
Mine every greed, mine every lust.
And all the while for every grief,
Each suffering, I craved relief
With individual desire,–
Craved all in vain! And felt fierce fire
About a thousand people crawl;
Perished with each,–then mourned for all
A man was starving in Capri;
He moved his eyes and looked at me;
I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,
And knew his hunger as my own.
I saw at sea a great fog bank
Between two ships that struck and sank;
A thousand screams the heavens smote;
And every scream tore through my throat.
No hurt I did not feel, no death
That was not mine; mine each last breath
That, crying, met an answering cry
From the compassion that was I.
All suffering mine, and mine its rod;
Mine, pity like the pity of God.
Ah, awful weight! Infinity
Pressed down upon the finite Me
My anguished spirit, like a bird,
Beating against my lips I heard;
Yet lay the weight so close about
There was no room for it without.
And so beneath the weight lay I
And suffered death, but could not die.

Long had I lain thus, craving death,
When quietly the earth beneath
Gave way, and inch by inch, so great
At last had grown the crushing weight,
Into the earth I sank till I
Full six feet under ground did lie,
And sank no more,–there is no weight
Can follow here, however great.
From off my breast I felt it roll,
And as it went my tortured soul
Burst forth and fled in such a gust
That all about me swirled the dust.

Deep in the earth I rested now;
Cool is its hand upon the brow
And soft its breast beneath the head
Of one who is so gladly dead.
And all at once, and over all
The pitying rain began to fall;
I lay and heard each pattering hoof
Upon my lowly, thatched roof,
And seemed to love the sound far more
Than ever I had done before.
For rain it hath a friendly sound
To one who’s six feet underground;
And scarce the friendly voice or face:
A grave is such a quiet place.

The rain, I said, is kind to come
And speak to me in my new home.
I would I were alive again
To kiss the fingers of the rain,
To drink into my eyes the shine
Of every slanting silver line,
To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze
From drenched and dripping apple-trees.
For soon the shower will be done,
And then the broad face of the sun
Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth
Until the world with answering mirth
Shakes joyously, and each round drop
Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.
How can I bear it; buried here,
While overhead the sky grows clear
And blue again after the storm?
O, multi-colored, multiform,
Beloved beauty over me,
That I shall never, never see
Again! Spring-silver, autumn-gold,
That I shall never more behold!
Sleeping your myriad magics through,
Close-sepulchred away from you!
O God, I cried, give me new birth,
And put me back upon the earth!
Upset each clouds gigantic gourd
And let the heavy rain, down-poured
In one big torrent, set me free,
Washing my grave away from me!

I ceased; and through the breathless hush
That answered me, the far-off rush
Of herald wings came whispering
Like music down the vibrant string
Of my ascending prayer, and–crash!
Before the wild wind’s whistling lash
The startled storm-clouds reared on high
And plunged in terror down the sky,
And the big rain in one black wave
Fell from the sky and struck my grave.
I know not how such things can be;
I only know there came to me
A fragrance such as never clings
To aught save happy living things;
A sound as of some joyous elf
Singing sweet songs to please himself,
And, through and over everything,
A sense of glad awakening.
The grass, a-tiptoe at my ear,
Whispering to me I could hear;
I felt the rain’s cool finger-tips
Brushed tenderly across my lips,
Laid gently on my sealed sight,
And all at once the heavy night
Fell from my eyes and I could see,–
A drenched and dripping apple-tree,
A last long line of silver rain,
A sky grown clear and blue again.
And as I looked a quickening gust
Of wind blew up to me and thrust
Into my face a miracle
Of orchard-breath, and with the smell,–
I know not how such things can be!–
I breathed my soul back into me.
Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I
And hailed the earth with such a cry
As is not heard save from a man
Who has been dead, and lives again.
About the trees my arms I wound;
Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;
I raised my quivering arms on high;
I laughed and laughed into the sky,
Till at my throat a strangling sob
Caught fiercely, and a great heart-throb
Sent instant tears into my eyes;
O God, I cried, no dark disguise
Can e’er hereafter hide from me
Thy radiant identity!
Thou canst not move across the grass
But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,
Nor speak, however silently,
But my hushed voice will answer Thee.
I know the path that tells Thy way
Through the cool eve of every day;
God, I can push the grass apart
And lay my finger on Thy heart!

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,–
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat–the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W.H. Auden

Rescue squad

Working from home this week, trying to re-establish the rhythm of my life.

I have a photo of Marilyn above my home office desk and more than once I simply sat and looked at it. More than once I just sat and wept.

Feeling miserable, about to call for help I saw my friend Jim Harris pull up in his battered white Toyota pickup. I didn’t see his dog Cody, but he did have a passenger:

jimandtag_2009

This is ‘Tag‘ and he’s an English Shepherd.

Wonderful.

This unbridled bundle of joy was just what I needed to see. Life literally ‘springing up‘ – right into my face, licking me and biting at my beard. I literally laughed out loud and my heart rose up like a flower after a storm.

I hear you Didi. I hear you and see you everywhere.

Update – August 2nd, 2010

Tag mated with a dog at Conifer Hill (a Great Pyrenees / Anatolian Shepherd cross) and puppies resulted!

Tammi and Dozer - July 31, 2010
Tammi and Dozer – July 31, 2010. Dozer was born May 14th, the one-year anniversary of Marilyn’s death.

Here’s the one we adopted: Dozer

Mirror and candle

releasingthespirit

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Wharton, Vesalius in Zante
US novelist (1862 – 1937)


Note – everything in this photo is significant: The chalice holding the candle is one that’s been in Marilyn’s family for generations. The candle itself from the supply she used to heat essential oils to fragrance the house. The red-framed mirror a heart-shaped ‘Safelite Sweetheart’ promo she’d had since teens and carried in her purse. The mirror is resting on a ceramic butter dish – Marilyn adored butter. The silver frame has a grapes motif – echoing the poem on the kitchen wall that I wrote for her the day of our marriage. Everything is resting on the top of a glass-top stove she’d gotten a bargain on – she loved that stove.

Folding socks

As I was doing laundry today, I sorted out my sock drawer and paired up the socks. As I did I folded over the neck of each pair to keep them together, unconciously imitating my friend Kate’s way of organizing them.

I realized as I did that I’ve ‘collected’ bits of behavior from all the people I know. A saying here, a mannerism there – each one a small homage to the person it came from.

At that moment it struck me that all the bits of Marilyn I’ve incorporated into myself were hurting because of her absence – and all the rest of me cried out with them.

Bit by bit I sort out the house, decide which of her things to keep and which to cast away. The choices are getting easier. I think partly because she’s slowly fading away.

As I mowed and watered today I could feel her looking over my shoulder.

I think she was smiling because her prized roses are being taken care of.

It’s okay Didi, I won’t let all your work go to waste.

It gives me a chance to touch the thing you loved most after me.

Somehow it was very comforting.

Notes from her desk

I’m combining Marilyn’s office with mine and was dissassembling her desk area – came across these notes up on the wall:

I will Not fear. God IS with me.

(added to one side) Overflowing with thankfulness

If you don’t worship God in the Wilderness, you won’t Praise or Worship Him in the Promised Land (Romans 11:36)

Be an encourager!

Pray for your enemies!

(a found list)

  1. Seek to (do) Good
  2. Repay evil with Good
  3. Enjoy the journey
  4. Love is a choice
  5. Forgiveness heals Us. Me.
  6. Walking Faith and God will bring blessings twofold.

BE a Christian


She was always working on her faith.

Miss you Didi.

Marilyn Wray 1951 – 2009

marilynwray_2008

Marilyn Bonita Wray (née Lawrence)
June 16, 1951 – May 14, 2009

Born to Clyde and Geraldine Lawrence (née England) in Caldwell, ID.

An active equestrienne in her youth, Marilyn was a trained vocalist and enthusiastic guitarist, an active church member and beloved babysitter. She attended Boise State University, graduating with a Masters in Criminal Justice and a second Masters in Social Work. She volunteered in schools as a family services social worker.

She met M. Douglas Wray in 1997, and they married June 28, 1998 at Hoverhome Mansion in Longmont, CO – the first couple to be married in that historic location. They had no children.

Marilyn worked at Lyons Elementary in the after-school ‘Kid Zone’ program and did organizing work for Boys and Girls Clubs of America. She attended Lyons Methodist Church in 2004. Unable to work full-time due to health issues, she was a dedicated wife and helpmate to her husband Douglas, managing his personal affairs and private consulting business with distinction and skill.

She was a gifted seamstress who created innumerable embroidered works including quilts and custom clothing. She loved sewing and her workroom was filled with excellent tools, fantastic material and happy voices. She lived to garden and do yardwork, cook and entertain her numerous friends. Hiking in the mountains was her second passion and she was famous for ‘marshalling the troops’ for a walk.

She was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma in October 2008, underwent chemotherapy and was declared in remission in April 2009. Approximately two weeks later cancer was detected in her spinal column and her condition deteriorated rapidly. She made the decision to spend her remaining time surrounded by loved ones, and departed swiftly and mercifully at 11 PM on May 14th at her home in Longmont, CO under Hospice care. Her ashes will be scattered in places dear to her, her friends and family.

She is survived by her husband Douglas, her sister Tanya Johnson of Carmel, CA, brother Vernon Golden of Boise Idaho, niece Ruth Hendrix of Rockvale, TN, brother Sonny Lawrence of Hope Sound, FL and uncle Leon Robertson of Nova Scotia. She was a proud member of the Robertson clan of Scotland and a living embodiment of their motto: Virtutis gloria merces.

Preceeded in death by her parents.

Contributions can be made in her name to:

Hospice Care of Boulder and Broomfield Counties
2594 Trailridge Drive East
Lafayette, CO 80026

and

Rocky Mountain Cancer Center
7951 E. Maplewood Avenue, Suite 300
Greenwood Village, CO 80111

A chronicle of her final days can be found here.

Private services will be held on June 14th in Rocky Mountain National Park where she and her husband dearly loved to walk together.

She was a devout Christian and true believer. Carrier of the Cross – now wearer of the Crown. She is sorely missed by all.

Lights

Marilyn was the light of my life. Things got so dark when she went.

Today my Uncle Les called and we talked about life and how things went in his life after his wife Bobbie died. It was wonderfully reassurring and comforting.

Thank you Uncle Les. You’ve always been my image of the perfect husband. I’m so happy I had such an outstanding reference.

That’s all, just wanted the world to know.

Marilyn’s Room

20081208-kinkyguardsmarilyn3-sm

December 11th, 2008

Marilyn got a hospital bed for her back, which had been really acting up before her diagnosis with lymphoma. She had been using the oxygen concentrator for some time and I’d just had cable service installed in her room. Looks just like a hospital room.

I’ve said how much -I- didn’t like being in the hospital, but the truth is, for months, she *lived* in one. And never complained.

You can see Kinky, her favorite of our two cats, ‘on guard’.

Tyger

My wife was an amazingly strong willed woman. When we argued or fought outright she was like a tiger. She was always fiercely protective of me, but she brooked no nonsense and tolerated no disrespect. She taught me to be a good husband.

This poem is dedicated to her.

THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

1794


Mortality +6

The house stands half-empty. The majority of Marilyn’s belongings have been bequeathed to those she wished. The remaining fragments of her life are in various places around the house. Some photos have been moved due to change in significance. The deck is finally cleared and will be cleaned soon. Marilyn literally took over the back porch and it was her gardening workroom. It will return to its original purpose, gathering place. Her plants will grow on, but I’ll have to press myself into service as a novice gardener and enlist aid. Her dear friends Sue Hackett and Kate Beier did literal yeoman’s work trimming roses, hauling out a truckload of razor-thorned rose canes, weeds and accumulated crap. The front yard is shipshape but not yet Bristol-fashion. Knowing Sue and Kate, it soon will be.

The garage is slowly clearing out. Several (but not all) of Marilyn’s array of appliances have been taken to new kitchens and her energy will imbue the food they make. I hope the diners on said food are ready for a thrill, her energy was infectious.

The transfer of financial duties continues slowly. Her skill in that area rivaled mine in the computer sciences. It took only the merest flip of switch to change over the various systems she had set up.

My greatest fears are being allayed.

All.Because.She.Planned.SO.Carefully.

Fare thee well O Wife, surely you’re marshalling angels and ordering up sunsets. No wonder the last few have been so lovely.