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Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home . . .

Distinctly non-funereal flowers in the bold colors Ann loved

My sister Ann passed away on Good Friday. Her memorial service was a week ago today.

I wanted to give you that news and thank you for all of the support you’ve given me, both in comments and in emails. It truly helps, in the misery of loss, to feel the presence of sympathetic people who wish you well.

I am doing fine, as these things go. I’m back to teaching this week, and back to taking classes.

But I’m not ready to write again, at least not regularly. For the next three months at least, I’m taking it easy and thinking things over.

For a while now I’ve been wanting to reorganize this website, to make the more than 160 posts more organized and accessible. So I’m going to work on that. From now on, I’ll be showing up on Facebook, just to keep in touch.

I also want to think about what Ann meant to me, and how I want to honor her memory.

My big sister had her own nursery rhyme:
“Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home. Your house is on fire, your children will burn – all except for little Ann, who’s hidden under the frying pan.”

I was so envious, and yet I never thought to find out who made it up.

When she was five, she went out with Dad and his buddy Jack Sheen and came home with a chocolate rabbit as big as herself.

When she was eight, she broke into the nearby children’s polio hospital to sit in the painted wooden teacups – by far the most appealing toys in the neighborhood – and was immediately evicted by the horrified staff, despite the sheets she and her friend Olive brought with them as they scaled the chain-link fence, hoping to pass themselves off as little patients.

I used to stare at those teacups too. But when I see a chain-link fence, I think that I’m not meant to be on the other side.

When Ann saw chain-link, she climbed. At least in the beginning. Then something happened, sometime in her forties. She seemed to give up on the possibility of happiness. In one of those odd twists of fate, Alzheimer’s softened her and made her more easy-going and affectionate.

I have written jokingly that yoga wrecked my life.

In truth, yoga keeps me from falling into the family default of helplessness and despair. It’s a vantage point, born, I believe, from fear, fear that life isn’t good, and that if we recognize our good fortune and claim happiness, it will be taken away from us.

Yes, people get old and sick and die. Yes, evidence quickly massing around me says that my body is aging, and yes, someday, I’m going to die. I still think it’s possible to be happy most of the time.

For the past month I’ve been reading and delighting in the poetry of Kay Ryan.

This one, called Age, is one I’m memorizing, hoping to “kinden” as I go:


As some people age
they kinden.
The apertures
of their eyes widen.
I do not think they weaken;
I think something weak strengthens
until they are more and more it,
like letting in heaven.
But other people are
mussels or clams, frightened.
Steam or knife blades mean open.
They hear heaven, they think boiled or broken.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • heather May 11, 2013, 4:02 pm

    i too am sorry for your loss and hope you are doing ok.

  • anita April 27, 2013, 11:34 am

    Thinking about you at this sad time, Eve. The poem in this post is lovely – to me you already know about “kindening”!

  • Mary Bouse April 25, 2013, 8:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing your loss and may the loss be less by the sharing. Your wisdom is a blessing your written words are enriching. Look forward to your return. Namaste~

  • Judy Russell PT April 21, 2013, 5:40 pm

    Dear Eve, Ah sisters. Aren’t they grand. I am fortunate to have four of them and even more fortunate that we love each other profoundly. We are following in the footsteps of our Mom and her six sisters example of gathering in the kitchen, making food together, enjoying each others company, drinking our share of wine, laughing till we cry and crying till we laugh. I am lucky and I know it. Losing someone you love is hard but how fortunate we are to know “that the pain now is worth the love then”. My thoughts and heart are with you.
    Judy xo

  • Eve Grzybowski April 20, 2013, 12:07 am

    I can totally relate to this post, Eve, having lost a sister about 15 years ago.
    Thank you for articulating so well the blessings of continuous yoga practice and the possibility of happiness no matter what.
    Eve G.

  • Traci April 19, 2013, 10:18 am

    Blessings to you Eve. A courageous heart.

  • Carol More April 19, 2013, 4:02 am

    Eve, I believe your brightest and best service is yet to come — truly from your insights of Ann’s life. From the ashes of our despair comes loveliness and I wish that for you. I do so look forward to your inspiring words and will patiently wait for the time when you can write again. God speed to your courageous lady-bug sister Ann and know that your loss is deeply felt. Gratitude and compassion to you and your family.

  • Clélie Rich April 18, 2013, 10:14 pm

    I think you already are one of the ones who kinden!

  • Heather Bolstler April 18, 2013, 6:09 pm

    Thank you for this post, Eve. It’s warmed up my heart for the whole day. I will miss you while you’re away.

  • Claire Malone April 18, 2013, 5:06 pm

    You have been on my mind and I have missed your postings. I wish you well in your process of deciding what is next. namaste!

  • nancy April 18, 2013, 4:03 pm

    Thanks for this Eve. I have been thinking of you and your sister ever since your very moving last post. She sounds like quite a gal. Take good care of yourself as you move thru this difficult and important time.
    all the best, Nancy R.

  • Cathy April 18, 2013, 3:49 pm

    Thank you for sending along this poem, Eve.
    It reminds me that as a kid, I decided I would not allow myself to grow old looking frightened. Where’s the fun in that? Keep your inside smile going strong.

  • Beth April 18, 2013, 3:37 pm

    Of course someone as wise and tuned-in as you needs some time now. Eve, I will greatly miss your wonderful writing, but all I have to do is re-read any of your past posts- fresh as a daisy!

  • melissa April 18, 2013, 3:15 pm

    hugs across the strait, eve. thank you for this loving update with reflections on your sister and self, and the introduction to kay ryan. may we all sit with – and share – our notions of aging, and dare to become architects of our transition.

  • Judi Quail April 18, 2013, 2:43 pm

    Thank you so much Eve for your beautiful post. I’m sorry to hear of your sisters passing. I am glad you are taking care of your lovely self.