When I Close My Eyes


When I close my eyes, I go back in time

Holding my dad’s hand under the warm, yellow sun

To the piped-in scent of coconut and lime

On vacation years back at a casino with mom

Snowed in during the blizzard of 77′

I was so young but still can recall

Not being afraid for my parents were near

For they seemed so calm through it all

How I wish that they both were here now

What would they do, what would they say?

That our own safety and others are priority one?

That all we can do is abide and then pray?

When I close my eyes, I go back in time

And I’m a child again…

Trying hard not to panic…

But I am afraid…

And I wish that I could hold daddy’s strong hand once more

And I wish that I could gamble with mom and see her sweet smile

Though I’m glad that they’re safe now and don’t have to worry

Rushing to stores in a crazed, frenzied hurry

But, please, mom and dad

Send down your light

Please watch out for us

That we all might get through this alright



I Lost My Person

My mom would’ve been 75 years old today.

As one of my cousins commented on my Facebook post this morning, happy heavenly birthday, Aunt Sandy.

I love that. Happy heavenly birthday.

I snot cried after singing to her today, like I did every year, even though I always (and still) sound like a walrus in heat when I try to carry a tune.


Blame it on genetics, man.

But between us, I think she loved it.

The day she died, I lost my person.

I no longer have a certified person anymore. I’m almost positive that the majority of us can relate to that concept in some way.

I have my daughter, my brother, a few remaining family members, my boyfriend and a handful of good friends. And I love them all dearly.

But the day that my mom passed over to the other side, I lost the only person who always made me feel…tethered to the ground.


Fucking valuable, worth the trouble and effort.

I find myself floating aimlessly often, not knowing who to reach for when I need someone (no, I won’t use the lyrics to Candle in the Wind, I promise), confide in, cry with, laugh with, share with.

Go bonkers with, lose my proverbial shit with. You know, all the fun mental health shenanigans that only she was able to deal with until she started getting really sick.

Ain’t nobody got time for that shit, bringing Mer back to planet chill the fuck out.

If I really think about it, I lost her long before she actually took her last breath. I didn’t want to add to her suffering so I began to swallow it all down. Everything was about her and I kept it that way on purpose.

It was all I could do for her those last few horrible months.

Grief is such a lonely experience and as I’ve found out (always the hard way) these last few months, many people do NOT like to discuss their emotions and the person who died.

Grief is best kept locked inside and all that jazz but not for me.

I don’t do it like that.

Personally, I love to talk about my mom. I bring her up daily to anyone who will listen, usually the two people that I interact with the most, my daughter and my boyfriend. They are (luckily) fine with indulging me.

Sandy O’Leary LIVED. She might’ve left this earth and her physical body but she continues to LIVE on through me, her son, her grandchildren and the numerous people that she touched throughout her lifespan. This is why she remains a continuous presence, by those of us who loved her so much.

Who are not afraid to mention her name and share the memories that she left behind.

I lost my person and they’ll never be another who’ll ever come close to filling that void inside of me. This has been a gigantic pill for me to swallow, definitely not one of my favorite instances of good old radical acceptance.

I’ve become slowly more accustomed to the fact that for the rest of MY life, I’ll always be seeking her again, to come to me in my dreams, leaving me her little signs by way of songs, birds, feathers and her multiple sayings that I’ve now adopted as my own.


This is the feather we found on the top step of our new house the day our realtor took us to see it for the 1st time. We close on March 3rd. The photo was taken by my daughter. We both looked at each other in amazement and awe.

My mom told me to keep an eye open because she’d be around and you wanna know something?

She wasn’t bullshitting me.

Gifts From Heaven

A few weeks ago, my family ended up gathered in my mother’s now sparse bedroom. She had boxes of trinkets, mementos, and photographs, so we all began the emotional visit to the land of nostalgia, almost 8 months after her passing.

Within my father’s wallet, which she obviously kept after his death in 1986, were three photos of the two of us, tucked inside. I had never before seen these pictures of my father and me and I’ll be 46 later this year.

Here are two of them.


Top Photo: Looking happy and handsome! Bottom Photo: There’s an enraptured me listening intently as my dad reads The Night Before Christmas.

The top one is my favorite and made me start to cry! Look at how happy I was and my dear daddy looking so handsome. How I loved him so and still do. The death of my mother last May has brought many old emotions to the top and I find myself missing the other people that I’ve lost even more so.

The idea that my dad had these pictures of the two of us with him in his wallet just amazes me. Maybe they were his favorite?

Whatever the reason they’ve been hidden away for so long, seeing them for the first time was like receiving a gift from heaven.

My daughter is going to get the top one enlarged for me because it makes me so happy.