Processing Grief: Making Monuments to Those Who Pass

April 2, 2005, London, England. My mother passed away unexpectedly day before yesterday, after a short illness, at our home in South London.

Please keep me in your thoughts as I mourn her deeply, please tell anyone you think might want to know of her passing, so that blessings may congeal from the planet for this wonderful person as her soul rises …

I’m planning a celebration of her life for May 1st . Hopefully a wonderful huge and meaninglful art exhibit, circle dancing, video showing of her work and her, and perhaps a concert/performance of one of her many symphonic music compositions. Readings from her prose and poetry will arouse and uplift, hearts will break in two, as mine, that she was not able to share the central focus of her life: her Telesymbol Project, with the world.

Despite all the pain of the last few years of her life, my mother was a huge joy as well. I miss her so much and feel cheated that she didn’t last as long as I thought she would: forever! I thought she would outlive me, she was so robust and vibrant.

Perhaps you would like to think of joining me here on May 1st? If you even have ideas, photos, wisdom or anything – to send or say, please do. I would so love it if you could come as well.

I hope you will feel free to call me before then- or drop by, if you’re in my neighborhood.

Love, Loanda

Dear Loanda, I just did not expect it. I, too, totally imagined your mom living on an on, in a timeless way. I remember her vital, singing spirit so clearly, and when you said she was sick, I really imagined it was something like the flu…did you have any idea this was coming? It didn’t seem so in your emails. I looked up your phone number in my Palm and saw that not only did it erase your number, but your address. Please send them to me again directly – of course, tho, when you have a moment. I would have phoned you immediately.

Your lives have been so deeply intertwined – like me with my mom and my own daughters with me, only more so, as you’ve lived so often and so much with yours. She was indeed a wonderful spirit – I remember her so well, but I remember her as a younger woman, since I haven’t seen her in so many years.

I wish I could be there on May 1st. I am sorry to say that I can’t be. However, I hope we’ll see each other in Sept. That’s my intention. If you feel like phoning me, I’m here today and this weekend, I’ll be near the cell phone.

Darling, when I read your email I not only felt shock, but I also felt a strong strong feeling of a bird being freed. Something wonderful is happening as well. And her song now can be free to extend and infuse the whole planet.

Xoxoxoxoxox Linda

Dear Loanda- I am so very sorry to hear of your Mother’s passing. She was indeed an extraordinary woman, and a joy to know. I loved her individualism, and I was in absolute awe of her artistic talents.

She was an extremely vibrant and wonderful lady. Her passing is a sad loss to the world.

I know this is a very difficult time for you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

Love Nora

Loanda- For the short time I knew your mother, I learned that she was an amazing and inspirational human being. I send you all my love and my thoughts are with you. I would love to come on the 1st May, if you need any help at all in preparation or with anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Helen xx

Dear Loanda, I’m so sorry to hear of your mother’s death. She was an inspiring lady-so creative and elegant. I’m sorry, too, that her Telesymbol project never came to full fruition. I’m sorry that she is no longer among the living, but her spiritual presence will be felt by many through the years, I’m sure, as she inspires artistic work from the spiritual world.

Meanwhile, I hope you are comforted and supported during this sensitive time. It’s such a difficult transition for those of us left behind. It’s a holy time, when we are aware of the spiritual world. I wish for you the time and peace to experience all your feelings and intuitions, to really go through the grieving process in a way that adds to your life.

I love you. I miss you a lot. I’ve been thinking of you this week, wondering how you are doing. I won’t make it to England by May 1st, but I do hope we will see each other. Please let me know if you have any plans for visiting the states…or moving back!

Love, Judith

Dearest Loanda – Your message came as a great shock … I remember your mother’s strong life-force and enthusiasm and realised I too had not considered her inevitable frailty of years and a long, full life.

I enfold you in loving support and comfort through these days of grieving and letting go of your dear mother, of coming to terms with all that she gave you and all that she brought to life. May you know that you are loved, and never alone, with or without her in her body.

Sadly I cannot be with you on 1 May … I shall be abroad … but I will be with you in spirit.

We are so out of touch … settling here in Edinburgh and hopping up and down to London for my Interfaith course has been my preoccupation for the last year or more and it is good. I’ve been very ill with ‘flu recently …nearly three weeks in bed! …. which has been a great gift in bringing

clarity of purpose and surrendering to what is. I am deeply committed to this training I’m doing, which ends with ordination (wow!) in August, though I have no idea what my “ministry” might be.

Would love news of you, dear Loanda, if you feel inclined when your life begins to open up once more from this time of mourning.

Meanwhile my warmest love and blessings

Kate

PS: Do you need any help with the funeral/memorial service? There are some wonderful interfaith ministers in/near London.

Oh, Loanda, I’m so sorry for your great loss. Reading your email about your mother made both Stephen and me feel so small and insignificant in our contributions to humanity. I don’t understand the telesymbol project, but is it something you can further, continue, complete, and introduce to the world yourself?

We hold you in our prayers.

xoxo Suzi

Dear Loanda, What a great loss to the world and, I know, to you. What an interesting and wonderful relationship you had. I really admired her and thought she was so incredibly fascinating and alive in the world. My heart is wide open to you and I will send my prayers to you to help you go this pain unlike any you’ve known before.

How I wish I could be in England to help you celebrate but would like it if, when you set the date, you can let me know along with the time, Colorado time, so I can, from afar join this celebration.

I love you,

Patsy

Dear Loanda- I have been trying to call you, but am having difficulty getting through-I am so sorry to hear about your mom passing away. I have replied to you e-mail-but that didn’t seem to go through either-hopefully you will receive this and know that my heart is so sad. It is always hard-but more so when it is so unexpected. She was such a unique person and the greatest influence on you becoming the wonderful, strong, passionate person that you are. I will keep trying to call. This will take a long time-it is alright to grieve. I wish I could be there for you-I won’t be able to come for the 1st-but am planning to come ou the beginning of Oct. I love you, sister.

Gwen

Dear Lo, I am sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. My thoughts are with you and your son. Your mother’s spirit is surely freed to be ever more engaged and active in earthly and universal pursuits. I lost my mother last year and know the deep feeling of loss.

Your planned memorial sounds very lovely.

Remembering your mother’s vibrance,

Mary

Dear Loanda, I was so sorry to hear that your Mother had died and I can only imaging how much you must miss her. She did have that special spirit–the kind you just naturally remember–such a unique personality. I remember her smile, especially, and how her eyes twinkled, and, of course, how much she loved you and Sean; and I will forever remember her visit to my home on 15th Street. She made me feel like it was such a wonderful place. She just had a way about her. Now, my friend, as you mourn, please remember what a wonderful daughter you were to her and how much you did to enrich her life. A mother can’t ask for a more perfect gift. I will be thinking of you and holding you in my heart. I am hear if and when you need someone to lean on. With love and deepest sympathy,

Clara

Dear Loanda, I keep looking for a good time to call you but life keeps moving in! Jinendra and I just returned from South Africa. I thought of Tami as I was there and how she spoke of it. It was an amazing trip! I’ve copied some of Jinendra’s writing about it for you.

We both send you our love and caring at this time of separation from your mom. Tami was always so affectionate to me and the family. I am sorry I won’t be able to see her if I ever do get to England. I’d been looking forward to seeing her.

I hope your May Day Tami Celebration Day is truly wonderfully beautiful and special.

Big hugs to you and much love,

K and J

Dear Loanda,

I fired off the e-mail concerning my try on the telephone before I switched over to my Smartcom e-mail and reading your series of messages. I know it is just horrible for you having this happen and you being there going it alone. I am glad you see the need to postpone the celebration you plan. I felt it way too ambitious for having it soon.

I have Joyce’s address and phone number and will get in touch. Also, I will get an e-mail off to Sean with the address you sent.

I don’t know that I can make it to the funeral but if it turns out that I could work it out are there affordable hotels or motels or some kind of lodging in your area?

You mentioned not knowing Tammy’s bank. This is the last information she gave me: Sort Code: 09.01.26, Account No. 90043562. Bank is called ABBY-in Sutton, Surrey as of 12/04. By the way she didn’t get my last check deposited. You should deposit it if possible, if you can’t, I will rewrite it to you as it belongs in her estate. Check No. 497.

Loanda please do not take on any guilt in Tammy’s death. You haven’t done anything wrong or negligent. What is meant to happen happens. You were a good daughter to stay in the UK because you felt she needed you when being away from Sean has been hard to take. Your mother was blessed from that standpoint.

Paranoia kept Tammy away from getting good medical attention for her circulatory system which showed signs of clogging before we moved to Florida. By the spring of 2001 she had consented to a certain amount of testing that resulted in the cardiologist recommending an angiogram to ascertain the extent of the problem in the heart. After we made the appointment she balked and wouldn’t go. She said it was a setup to do away with her. I talked her into going back and having a conversation with her regular Doctor, the internal medicine Doctor she had always thought was OK.

He was the one that recommended she see the cardiologist in the first place. At that visit she told him doctors had been trying to do away with her starting way back in California and these attempts on her life followed her wherever she went. The Doctor came out into the waiting room where I was and wanted to know if Tammy was really giving me a bad time. I said no she wasn’t. He said she is paranoid. I said yes I know she is a little paranoid but it was not a big problem. He said I have to diagnose her condition schizophrenic and you should get her to a psychiatrist soon. ( I think I told you about what the Doctor said when you were in Florida.)

Needless to say that really upset Tammy and she wrote that Doctor off. She never consented to see any more Doctors that year. Then came the divorce.

I would be proud to have one of Tammy’s paintings some day.

I will be in Mission, Texas until about April 25 when I travel to Abilene, TX for a week at Linda’s and then on To Palisade the 1st of May.

My Palisade number is 308 xxxxxxxxx.

There is so much we could talk about and I hope we can some day. I will sign off for now and hopefully will talk to you soon now that I have an additional phone number to try.

Love

Dick

Dear Loanda – the duck salad restaurant sounds great – we really must go there – I love duck too! Lush Foods is such a Landmark type of name! I had ‘luscious flowers’ as a project name for one of my Team Management and Leadership course projects! It involved having myself painted in the nude! And naming a salad after your Mum is SO lovely – she would have been thrilled I am sure!

Is all your mother’s stuff at your place at the moment? It makes sense to store it but I see what you mean about the cost- take a little time to think, you may be able to sell it instead of storing it as you say. It will be quite an undertaking and time consuming though and you will want to be getting on with YOUR life now and finding that new man and having loads of lush sex etc etc Isn’t it just astonishing how productive individual human beings can be – your mother sounds quite extraordinary! I can’t believe that we never met her – just doesn’t make any sense at all.

I hope you have managed to contact your son – maybe he has a girlfriend or is out staying at friends. Will he be shocked about your mother’s death do you think?? I should think he would be, even if he hadn’t seen much of her recenlty. Children can be very close to their grandparents.

It will be so great to have him over here – I can’t wait to meet him.

Lots of love, feeling better but still tired – performed well at work today – my team were very complimentary to me which was gratifying – they don’t want me to leave in July when it’s the end of my fixed term contact. I told them that I want to be a famous photographer but they give us 2 more years and then we’ll all lave together!

Warmly too, and Fred sends his love

H

Loanda – I am still thinking of you but haven’t phoned as not up to much tonight – had my wisdom tooth extracted last thursday and have an infection – went to GP today so now on anti-biotics so expect quick recovery. Still going to work and being told off for doing so by Fred and my daughter Debbie !

Much love and hope you are still enjoying planning the funeral – I enjoyed planning Janina’s (my sister’s) funeral – everyone said it was really inspirational and moving!

We ‘burnt’ a CD of music for it by the way – Chopin piano music – can’t remember exactly what (my Mum’s favourite – she was a child protege piano player before the war!), Cliff Richards – the Young Ones (my sister’s favourite when she was younger) and Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World (Fred’s favourite). My youngest Nick downloaded the music from the Internet of course!

With deep sympathy

Bye for now, Anna

Dear Loanda, With the time difference, by the time you read this it might already be the day of your mother’s funeral so know that I am and will be thinking of you. I enjoyed the eulogy. What an amazing life your mother had! I had no idea. It was rich, full, and creative. The loss of her presence must leave a tremendous void but she has apparently left much of herself behind for you and Sean and others to savour in the years to come. And I know you will. Love, Clara

Loanda, I wanted to let you know that your mother was remembered at the Sukhavati at the Shambhala Center here in Boulder today at 10am. There was a brief introduction to the chants that were said and tonglen practice, which we did for 10 minutes. Then there was a burning of the names. I especially remembered Tammy playing the piano for me when I visited in 2003. I hope that you had a meaningful ritual there in Bedzed and that you felt supported by everyone whether present or not. I hope all the best for you and Shawn as you move into your lives without your Mom. Take good care of yourself. Love and hugs, Carole