the time is drawing near

by Anna Huckabee Tull

Each month, for the first twelve months after Marie Pechet’s passing, I will carry her Blog forward, sharing about Marie in ways that I hope you will find meaningful, connective, and honoring of our shared friend.

The days are growing shorter now, and in this earlier-evening darkness, I find myself so appreciating the light.

Once again this brings to mind Marie.

And all of you who loved her so.

And those of you who never met her, but felt buoyed up by her words, and her bright inner light, through this blog.

It’s November now. I set the intention of writing one post a month on Marie’s blog for the first year after her passing, and for the most part, I have done that, and it has been so deeply healing and helpful and connective and uplifting for me. Thank you for this, because your presence, whoever you are, and that thing we have in common – loving someone who is no longer here – has made it possible for me to find new depths in my own voice and message.

I missed a month–October. And I am just squeaking in on my own self-crated deadline with this one. I hear Marie reminding me that she was not “regular” about her posts – she just trusted the feeling when it came and spoke. There is much to be learned from that.

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bittersweet

by Anna Huckabee Tull

Each month, for the first twelve months after Marie Pechet’s passing, I will carry her Blog forward, sharing about Marie in ways that I hope you will find meaningful, connective, and honoring of our shared friend.

Marie had a dream, and it didn’t end up coming true.

And yet, in the strange twinning of my friendship with her, this week her dream is coming true for me.

Marie had the dream of writing a book.

At first it was just a loosely held notion. But in the months and then years that she began emailing regular updates to a small collective of “Fertility Group” friends, and then emailing to even more friends whose names got added to that list, and then expanding into a Blog, which hundreds of you began to closely follow, she started to feel a hunger growing within her to shape those many entries into a “Real Book” that could become not just the story of her journey, but a way of capturing the very best of her message to the world.

She confided to me that this felt important to her. She and I worked together on creating a book outline for her. She met with an editor. We played with various titles and ways of sharing her story. It began to take shape. And then, just like that, it got edged out of the picture, by life, by illness and, eventually, by her passing.

At the same time, I too was working on a book. Marie would write me notes of encouragement, ask how it was going, buck me up with positive words when the writing got tough, and congratulate me when I hit various milestones. She brought me as her guest to a writing convention at her beloved Grub Street, the prestigious writer’s hub here in Boston of which she was an ardent supporter. And when I won a publishing contest and contract for the book proposal I had written, she came to my “Oh My Gosh Now I Really Have to Write a Book” party two years ago, sat in the front row, and beamed up at me as I performed her song, The Days of Your Opening, as part of the celebration. I shared that song on that particular night because of all the songs I have ever written (250 to be exact) it felt–and still feels–like the one that best captures the message of the book I was setting out to complete. It was the song, a countable number of seasons later, that I would also perform at her funeral.

Marie did not live to see her own book idea come to fruition. And she didn’t live to see mine become real either.

But even so, at each twist and turn in the road, I feel her cheering me on. And today, the dream is real.

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where we can’t follow her

by Anna Huckabee Tull

Each month, for the first twelve months after Marie Pechet’s passing, I will carry her Blog forward, sharing about Marie in ways that I hope you will find meaningful, connective, and honoring of our shared friend.

Today marks the one year anniversary of the day my father died.

He died four months before Marie did.

One day, two months after he was gone and two months before she would make her own exit, Marie said to me, “I’ve seen your father. I’ve seen him a number of times.”

This was fascinating and strange to me on a number of levels. For one thing, my dad was not alive. For another, Marie never met my dad. I’m not sure if she had ever even seen a picture of him.

I’m also not sure that matters.

What occurred to me, as she shared this with me, was that it was starting to feel like perhaps Marie’s own time was coming close.

Maybe you can see things that you normally can’t see–be visited by people you normally can’t be visited by–when your own end is drawing near, and when the lines between this world and whatever happens next begin to blur.

I was really happy to know that she had seen my dad, and I told her so. We left it at that.

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cutting free

by Anna Huckabee Tull

Each month, for the first twelve months after Marie Pechet’s passing, I will carry her Blog forward, sharing about Marie in ways that I hope you will find meaningful, connective, and honoring of our shared friend.

One late spring day, years ago, Marie and her (at the time) very young boys came for a screened-porch-picnic at my house. I supplied a meal and, also, my two sons to play with her sons. She surprised me with a gigantic, tissue-popping bag full of super fancy cheeses and multiple boxes of gourmet crackers. Down in the very bottom of the bag was a cutting board, exactly like this:

She explained to me that this was a new invention – a dishwasher-safe wooden cutting board. Hmmm, I thought, and pictured myself happily throwing it into the dishwasher and enjoying the low maintenance aspect of being able to do so.

I have to say, this gift she brought was elaborate. And lovely. Very unexpected. The cheeses were unusual and exotic. The crackers were bursting with fabulous, fibrous seeds. The cutting board was a significant hunk of beautiful striped blonde wood. It felt like she was giving me a piece of furniture!

In sharp contrast to all this, I am one of those people who, when backing out of my driveway en route to a social engagement, will suddenly think, “Oh, crap. I probably should have gotten something for the host.” But by then it’s too late to do much more than just run back to the kitchen in my bare feet, grab a bottle of red wine, and fork it over to the host in the most low key way possible when I arrive at my destination.

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whose love can you feel?

by Anna Huckabee Tull

Each month, for the first twelve months after Marie Pechet’s passing, I will carry her Blog forward, sharing about Marie in ways that I hope you will find meaningful, connective, and honoring of our shared friend.

I was visiting with Marie’s mother-in-law recently. She has become a good friend.

We were looking through pictures on her computer and we stumbled upon this collection of shots of Marie and her family, all from, essentially, the same moment. Not so very long ago.

For me, it was like discovering a little oasis of magic in the middle of my loss of Marie. There she was! Alive. Vibrant. Surrounded on all sides by love. I felt at once relieved and excited to see it.

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Small Miracle

by Anna Huckabee Tull

Each month, for the first twelve months after Marie Pechet’s passing, I will carry her Blog forward, sharing about Marie in ways that I hope you will find meaningful, connective, and honoring of our shared friend.

The other day, something happened to me that was just exactly the kind of small miracle Marie was always pointing out to those of us who lovingly followed her blog. The serendipity of it was amazing. And the really incredible part is, I believe, in its own unique way, that this little bit of wonderment came through Marie. Or at least, most certainly, directly because of her.

The story, like all good stories, has three parts: something wonderful, something hard and overwhelming, and then something wonderful, just in the nick of time!

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Unfinished Business

by Anna Huckabee Tull

Each month, for the first twelve months after Marie Pechet’s passing, I will carry her Blog forward, sharing about Marie in ways that I hope you will find meaningful, connective, and honoring of our shared friend.

Not too long before she died, Marie and I sat on her couch and talked about a hunger she had to explain something to her boys. I listened carefully, and tried to make room for her to fret and stew a little, not because I like to leave people twisting in the wind, but because I believe all of us have within us our own answers, when we are given a loving ear and enough space to feel our way through that which is challenging.

What was challenging that day for Marie was that she was aware she was not always able to present the version of herself she most wanted to, for her family in general, and for her kids in particular. “The truth is, I am in a lot of pain, a lot of the time,” she had said. “It has this strange effect of leaving me feeling distracted, short, rushed. I want so badly to present this calm, centered, very focused version of myself to my kids. But sometimes the way things come out of me is not like that at all. Sometimes, despite my efforts, I show up as someone I’m not proud to be. My tone comes out all wrong. Words fly out of me and they aren’t anything close to the words I wanted to say.”

I know Marie had pain in her body, but sometimes I think the pain in her heart, about discrepancies like this, was the more challenging burden. We brainstormed together and eventually came up with a “script” for what she wanted to say to her boys, when the moment presented itself. She was so excited about the script she asked me if I would write it up and email it to her, which I did.

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