Tuesday, December 13, 2016

#SOL16: 60 Triggers

Coming Undone  (M.A. Reilly, 2012)

The holidays brings so many memories of Rob, triggered by a list that doesn't seem to end. Even though each hurts at the surprising moment of encounter, the memories that linger are also soothing. Here's 60 -- one for every year Rob lived.
  1. an ad for a Tibetan singing bowl
  2. reading the Sunday Times and not having you to read to me
  3. finding in my wallet an old comic Rob gave me 
  4. using a hand warmer--knowing you introduced me to them
  5. the triangular box for an ornament that came in the mail
  6. everything in the attic I can't bear to bring down stairs for Christmas
  7. finding the menorah that Dev and Rob lit when Dev was a young child
  8. a man changing a flat tire on the side of the road
  9. finding the last message Rob left me on my phone
  10. latest issue of The Nation that arrived via the mail that still is addressed to Rob
  11. a solicitation call from the ACLU
  12. the spill of weak winter light through the back window 
  13. a radio ad announcing immunotherapy 
  14. an email from one of Rob's former students
  15. a photo from Loch Ness I found in a  drawer
  16. raking leaves
  17. a song on the radio
  18. the smell of pine from the Christmas tree
  19. any navy blue Pacifica I pass on the road
  20. a container of miso soup
  21. a sign for Brooklyn Tech
  22. Mo Anam Cara
  23. the notes Rob was working on that are still on his desktop 
  24. overhearing someone mention Grange (in Ireland)
  25. when I see someone writing with a fountain pen 
  26. At Bed Bath and Beyond seeing a new wooden back brush like the one I bought for Rob every year
  27. thinking about lineage makes me think of the morning Rob and I spent at the Joyce House in Dublin
  28. realizing that an entire football season has happened and I only recently heard mention of the Giants
  29. every time I pull my car into the garage and Rob's car is no longer there
  30. June 16, 1904
  31. a jar with loose tea leaves
  32. West Rutland, VT
  33. seeing a print from that art studio on the Isle of Sky
  34. seeing wine from Montepulciano on a menu
  35. finding Rob's now expired passport in the dresser
  36. the photo of the man I took on Grafton Street in Dublin and realizing now that Rob would live only 8 years after I took it
  37. the roll of a chair on the wooden floor above
  38. winter sunsets
  39. planning Christmas dinner this year
  40. selecting gifts for Dev and not having you here to discuss what to buy and make for our son
  41. the smell of snow
  42. a man with a small braid in his hair
  43. holiday shopping in Warwick, NY
  44. a flannel shirt left on the sofa
  45. the mention of finger painting
  46. seeing the New York Times on a wooden table
  47. finding an independent bookshop and realizing that Rob isn't here for me to buy a gift
  48. the sound of an espresso machine
  49. every time I pass a place I photographed 
  50. loose change
  51. the basket Rob always kept in the back of his car
  52. overhearing someone mention the Serenity Prayer
  53. the smell of a fire when I am out walking
  54. not signing Rob's name on the Christmas tags for Devon's gifts 
  55. seeing someone wearing a Black Dog Cafe t-shirt
  56. the first snowfall 
  57. preparing for a workshop and not having Rob to bounce off ideas
  58. realizing the 28th of this month will come and there is no anniversary now to celebrate
  59. putting on the heat for the car seat
  60. every lone cardinal 


  1. So many memories, each one evoking an entire story. This is a beautiful and poetic list. I wish you well.

    1. Thank you Cindy. The Triggers are constant as expected.

  2. Beautiful and painful at the same time. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. Thanks so much Laura for taking time to,read and respond. I appreciate each.

  3. I hope that it helped to write them down, Mary Ann, perhaps to imagine the story that accompanied them. It's a lovely list with some that touch me too. Our memories are what create our lives, though sad to have them especially when they cannot repeat. Some of your list are those that will warm you more than once, I expect, like finding that old comic, a piece you have that will stay.

    1. Yes, I tucked that comic away again and imagine on a different day it will warm me again.

  4. Your art is captivating.
    Your list of triggers heart-moving.

  5. I'm reading the list like a map ... the contours of memory ...

    1. I will be lifting your line and reusing it. Lovely.

  6. What a powerful, poignant list you have created. I suspect you will add many more to the list and hope that the comfort of these memories warms you.

  7. Striking comes to mind. Bolt of lightning, too. The living side-by-side of the "full of loving beauty" shared. The enormity of the Love equaling the enormity of the Loss. And with all of that Love seems to prevail over all else. This piece of art is particularly moving for me. It draws me in. I want to go there and stay for awhile.
    Thank You for your fine example of living fully. Hugs. Gratitude.

    1. Thank you Carol. Love (in)forms loss. And perhaps, loss (in)forms love as well.

  8. Kevin put it beautifully - your list is a map of your memory and heart...that lone cardinal at the end is so poignant.

    1. The lone cardinal has been with me since Rob died. He keeps showing up.

  9. Mary Ann, the memories are in the recesses of your heart. To me the lone cardinal signifies your guardian helping you walk the road. This thoughts belongs with one of your magnificent visuals: the spill of weak winter light through the back window. Peace be to you.


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