October 15th

October 15th

I heard of my sister’s death just twelve hours before.  I believed back then that suicide did not end your pain. I had been taught that to take your own life was the most grievous of sins, a deplorable act against both God and humanity and that your despair and personal hell stayed with you on the other side. I was imagining she was still in intense emotional distress that was now worsened with guilt and remorse for the additional wreckage she just left behind for us, her friends and all who knew her from years of past involvement in recovery.



I awake

Pitch black

Alone in the small rectangular spare bedroom of loving friends.


I want to crawl in their bed and be held,

But not sure that would be welcome.


Freaked out,

Desperate for comfort,

I phone a sweet and loyal friend.

Shocked, she struggles to absorb and empathize with my news until

I am again somewhat calm and let her go.


I lie on my back

In that dark room

Unable to see anything but gruesome images

Of her last moments flashing over and over again in my mind.


Suddenly the room fills with brilliant Light.

Gorgeous rays of yellows highlighted with pale rose,

Indescribably more subtle and vibrant than any in our world

Fill me with beauty and awe.


The apparition is completely absent of form

But I know

This is my sister.


She is thrilled,

Beyond thrilled.

I lie there stunned by how happy she is,

She is back Home.


Without word or thought,

She is clearly more than okay.


Later her message dawned on me,

“You are Light,

Remember you are Light”.




My sister died

My sister died

My sister died,

7 years ago tomorrow.

A dramatic passing,

She left the way she had always lived.


“So tragic”, they said over and over,

All shocked and completely horrified.

My younger sister took herself out well,

This beautiful woman wasn’t calling out for help or playing games.


The neighbors heard firing of a gun

As she used her artistic garden’s statues

As targets

until she was satisfied the kick of that weapon was mastered.


An upscale sunporch in northern Georgia,

An elegant patio chair,

Her last Marlboro,

Pools of blood and bits of brain is all she left.


October 14th, her beloved granddaughter’s 6th birthday.

The young child lived there with her.

My determined sister was found in her cozy blue and white fleece pajamas

when they arrived home on that gray and drizzly evening.


My sister died,

7 years ago tomorrow,

The shattering by her dramatic death,

Invited me to stay open, be vulnerable and become more real.


Maureen Frances Siegfried Moltz killed herself in northern Georgia after a four year secret relapse into opiate drug addiction after having a hysterectomy. She decided that life on codeine was easier than life without it and being a nurse was writing herself illegal prescriptions. Maureen had been clean and sober in AA for eight years before that surgery. She had returned to 12 step programs a few weeks before her demise but found withdrawal exceedingly difficult and painful. Demoralized by her inability to withdraw successfully in addition to all the personal problems that were building in her life I imagine she thought she was doing her family a favor by checking out.  Or maybe she had found a way to express her unhealed rage?  She died three months before her 50th birthday. This unique, adventurous, willful, energetic life of the party was living with her husband, son and granddaughter at the time of her death.

We hold you in our hearts and honor you today Maureen and we love you…

A Weird Way to Come Home

A Weird Way to Come Home

She handed me a blue cloth bag,

An institutionally brown box, plastic,

smaller than the ones shoes come inside,

the heaviness surprised me.


They say that is you inside,

Your body I mean.


You were so thin, so sick

Do bones weigh that much?


I placed you on our coffee table,

When darkness came brought you to our room,

My room now.


Set you on the nightstand beside me

You hadn’t been here for so long.


As the sun arose,

I pulled you to my chest,

Wrapped my arms around you,

My heart felt full and warm.


August 16th, 2016

Note: I sent this poem to a close woman friend the night I wrote it. I received her reply the next day:

This morning as I awoke I “heard” Jeff say:

That is not me…and I understand in your material world it’s comforting to have some thing more dense than I am now.

I am here…I have always been here.

I am here…I have always been here.

One Hour

One Hour


Oh Honey,

Please come back.

For one hour,

Just one hour.


I need to hear your soft voice,

I need you to lie with me, hold me,

Be with me.

For one hour,

That shouldn’t be too hard.


“At the end of January he died”, I told them,

Not “his body died” as I was saying before.

My breath caught,

You were gone.


I forced myself to go out as evening descended,

Shuffling along,

Dragging the heaviness of me

Towards the lake.


You were using the power of my desire,

As the pulsating pale apricot sun moved slowly to mate with the evergreen mountaintop.

Now sitting next to me

On that fallen tree.


Looking up into your loving brown eyes,

Sobbing grabbed at my chest and throat.

It hurt more to see you.


Looking towards the lake,

I told you how hard life was since you left,

There was always so much to do.

Each night, as I leave work, the hollowness appears.

No one will be home to receive me,

You wouldn’t be there to share about our day, laugh with me or help me sort things out.


I cried and cried,

The water gratefully absorbing my grief.


Sunday, June 19th, 2016







A Dead Deer

A Dead Deer

A Dead Deer


I came upon her body,

Lying on the asphalt,

Irregularly shaped pools of crimson liquid under her neck.


A sunny day, not too hot,

Already beginning to bloat

Or might there be a fawn inside?


Clearly the doe was dead.

I didn’t like her exposed like that.

I wanted her on the grassy side.


As I contemplated touching her

An image of her leaping up and

Attacking me jolted my mind.


Timidly I approached her hind legs,

Wrapping my hands around delicate tawny ankles

Above her now useless hoofs.


She lie now in the shallow ditch and I felt relief.

Aligning her with the earth’s curves

Dried grass and weeds were her last bed.


Three tiny dandelion flowers placed on her neck,

Three where the front legs met her chest

In that indentation, as in our bodies.


Three more carefully arranged on her hindquarters.

I thought I was done,

but the blood on the road disturbed me.


A tiny bouquet of yellow flowers now graced her blood,

please forgive our fast-paced lives.


My work was done.

If there is no death

If there is no death

There is a spiritual truth that “there is no death”.  Clearly life is eternal and though bodies die the essence of that person continues on forever.  I have been aware of quite a few people after their physical deaths.  There was the man who I tended to after witnessing an early morning head-on collision in which he died instantly of a broken neck.  But that did not impede him from following me home and frantically trying to connect with me.  He didn’t understand what was happening and I was aware of him for weeks after that tragic crash with a drunken driver.

My sister came to me the night she died to remind me I was light.  I knew the gorgeous yellow and rose apparition was my younger sister though she only appeared as a being of light with no semblance of her physical appearance.  My mother came to me after her death to let me know she loved me.  I have been intermittently aware of Jeff’s presence since his body died at the end of January in UCSF’s palliative care suite.  I believe he is always with me but I am only aware of him when I tune into him.

I find it very comforting to know that “deceased” beings are very aware of us.  I am fascinated by how they communicate in their unique “spirit ways” that are often quite subtle.  I know they continue to love us, assist us and guide us. I have heard that people who believe in life after death find mourning easier and that completely makes sense to me.  I have, in the past, attempted to comfort distraught grievers by informing them that their loved one lives on and that they can learn to be aware of and validate these communications.  Spirits communicate in a myriad of ways and often appear in dreams, visions, feeling sensations etc.  Now however, having experienced Jeff’s passing, I will no longer attempt to tell this to people as readily.  I will be more likely to just acknowledge  their intense pain.

Jeff’s death has forced me into the very human experience of loss and the heartbreaking period of grief as we “survivors” attempt to adapt to their no longer being physically us. Jeff may live on but he will never again kiss me on my lips, come to greet me when I arrive home or carry up the 5 gallon bottles of purified water.

After my friend Mick died two months after Jeff’s passing I spoke to a mutual friend.  He was excitedly sharing his knowing that all beings are immortal and live on.  “There is no death, it is an illusion” he informed me.  I told him I knew that but there is also the very human experience of them being gone.  We need to honor all of it.  I read him the following poem I had written a few week into my “grief times” after my sweetheart and partner left this world.

If there is no death

If there is no death,

then where have you gone?

If there is no death,

why am I alone in our home,

my only comfort small dogs?


If there is no death,

why am I here and not with you

and my younger sister,

and my friends who also left this place, this realm?


If there is no death,

why is there no one to cuddle with at night

or to listen and help me sort things out

like you always did.

Where did my reliable companion go?


If there is no death,

what am I doing here?

I don’t like this world.

I remember another more sweet and loving,

I remember one that was easier, more blissful.

Deeply connected, not alone like this.


If there is no death

I don’t get it.

Grief and an Otter

Grief is no stranger in my world. I have completed three to four structured and involved grieving processes through the years. Our society is learning to respect and be with grief in healthier ways;   we can all be grateful for this evolution. But despite my previous experiences with grieving I still struggle with the mourning process and I often don’t like the experience.

“What does grief feel like?”, she asked early one morning through e-mail.

The following is my attempt to share my experience followed by her loving response.  Then, a few weeks later an otter came to save me. These experiences demonstrate how we need others and a vibrant and thriving nature to help us through.

I walk around

Constant low-level sadness

My built-in companion and support are gone

Loneliness overtakes me especially in the evenings

Patterns disrupted.

Constriction in my throat

Tears in my eyes



Too much effort to try to stay connected to others at times

Zombie Land


Who cares?

Jealousy of people with seemingly full lives.

What is the point?

Not unlike my childhood

A familiar feeling

Working to accept the grief

Accepting I don’t like it

Death sucks

Let the loneliness be there when it is there

I feel shame about feeling lonely

Question? Does grief really needs to be felt or do I create it with my thoughts as with other things?

Grief seems bigger than me, a process larger than me



So much to do

So much to do is boring

Piles of black and white papers

Jeff’s paperwork for taxes on dining table.

My taxes a forming dream

Try to stay grateful

Deeper breathing

Shallower breathing

Something like that.

 My friend’s reply:

 My instinct is to tell you:

Let go,

Allow the river of grief to take you away.

You are in the arms of the Goddess, embraced.

You will get to the other side, if you just let go,

Not fighting the current.

You are love, sweetness, kindness and warmth.

You are loved.


An Otter Came

She appeared suddenly,

Her wet, smooth, dark fur excited me,

Watching her slip over a boulder,

Springing me fully into life.


She scrambled swiftly down the steep rocks,

Alongside the waterfall we were perched above,

Carrying her treasured small fish,

As she aimed for the fast-moving river of snowmelt.


I hadn’t known these agile little beings

Rode the whitewaters

Until she disappeared in the torrent

Swiftly carrying to her destination.


The little animal’s dramatic arrival

In my life

Ended my sad morning

Suffusing us full both with fresh aliveness.


Other otters have graced my life,

The still one who greeted me back to this county,

The one perplexed by the tall concrete dam

That blocked her way.


Stop killing these delightful creatures,

Polluting and destroying their homes,

They are our soul,

We need them for a life worth living.


One small otter, fish in her mouth,

Came to show me I was still alive.