Friday, June 3, 2016

#SOL16: I Could Not Follow

from my art journal: 6.3.16, (gesso, acrylic and gouache paint)

“Absence is a house so vast that inside you will pass through its walls and hang pictures on the air.”
                                                                                                ― Pablo Neruda


Most days I try to remember what Rob and I were doing a year ago.  I try to call up a day prior to Rob's diagnosis of cancer as if calling up such a memory might restore a bit of what has been lost.

How were we living our lives? With what intensity did we greet life? Were we as complacent as Emily from Our Town says all humans are? Did I make time to show Rob how much I love him?

I check the calendar and note that a year ago, Rob and I were at a school in Newark. More than likely we drove together as we did most days, stopping on the way in for a cup of coffee and to drop Devon off at school.  Last June was a super busy time for both of us as we were completing work for three clients that involved lots of teaching and curriculum planning sessions. We were in a rhythm and looking forward to the long stretch of summer ahead.


A year later and Rob is gone and in that immense absence I am weakened, unsteady, broken. I have bargained with God until I'm mostly mute and I see now that the passage of time does not ease the pain, does not make the loss of Rob any easier.

Sorrow remains. Well planted. Vocal.


Keep busy I've been told, but know this: No series of activities can fill the gap his absence leaves. Rob is the missing weight from my life, the familiar love I turned to over and over again across the last three decades.

The weight of the paint on the brush, the word on the page, the voice of a friend--these sometimes anchor me to this earth, this life, this unknown place that I now reside.


  1. Dearest Mary Ann, no doubt one day I am going to have to follow in your footsteps my dear friend, I cannot imagine the agony! Hang in there, be strong, stay close to Devin, he needs you at this time. From what I understand, it is a very long haul until you reach the light at the end of the tunnel, I am sure that you will though, have faith in you! Sending love!

    1. Thank you Sonia for your words and thoughts. One thing Rob's death told me is that nothing is gained, nothing at all, by anticipating or worrying about a future that simply isn't present.

  2. Mary Ann I read this post just before I fell asleep the other night and My dreams were filled with flashes of those casual moments Tuvia and I experienced together but what's hard to articulate is how much I feel for you as you sift through the hard months to get to the place of memories you want to cherish.
    On this widow's journey,


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