Thursday, April 22, 2010

Far Away


That's me at times.

Last night was no exception.

I was invited by my good friend Donna to attend Dr Oz's posh

Garden of Good and Evil Gala
in NYC.

Though very excited at the possibility of meeting Dr Oz and his beautiful wife, Lisa, I did question which side of the room they were going to seat me, good or evil?


While contemplating the fundamental dilemma, I found my way to an ornate and beautifully decorated table filled with fruits, chocolates, flowers, and feathers.  In less than two seconds, I had rifled through the table centerpiece and absconded with all the chocolates and effortlessly managed to never even touch the fruit...At this point I’m thinking evil side, right?

The event was fabulous.

Dr Oz was as endearing as one would assume and the wine flowed all night. Credit to the endless flow belongs to my new BFF Barry who cajoled our server into granting us two bottomless wine glasses.

Close to midnight I air-kissed a few new gala buddies “adieu” and heaved the huge goodie bag over my shoulder. Donna plucked a white rose and a white feather from our centerpiece and handed them to me.

“Here, take this” she said.

I was wondering how I was going to squeeze the items into my already overflowing stash. I looked back at her, perplexed.

“For Jena…” she said “her presence is so strong here tonight and I want you to take this to her.”

Now Donna knows how much I abhor going to the cemetery.  I just can’t meld the fact that Jena’s spirit still lives larger than life, yet her physical body is buried 6 feet beneath the earth.  That concept doesn’t gel for me. It never will.

Still, I took the rose and feather and promised to give it to my mother-in-law who religiously “visits” Jena.

I gave Donna a tight hug and kissed and thanked her for such a wonderful and memorable evening.

This morning came way too early and my head was hurting. I speculated Barry’s condition to be the same as I caught a glance at the enormous goodie bag overflowing with treats, lotions and assorted samples of really cool products I would never buy.  Then I see the rose and feather.


Listening to my iPod on low, I get ready for work.  My blackberry buzzes and it’s an email from Donna saying she had a blast last night and that she had Jena on her mind this morning.  The email is very touching and my eyes well up.

Now I have to re-do my make-up…again.

I put the phone down, grab a tissue and notice the song playing in the background. It’s Nickelback’s “Far Away
It’s one of my “Jena songs.”
The lyrics I hear are:

“...Keep breathing 'cause I'm not leaving you anymore
 Believe it
Hold on to me and never let me go...”

I wash my face and realize it’s going to be a “natural” make-up free it or not.

I clutch the rose and the feather, swipe my car keys and take a detour to work, via the cemetery.  I’ve been there twice and both times were for reasons that I couldn’t explain.

Within minutes, I pull into Jena’s cemetery, find her section and shut my car off.  My tears haven’t stopped streaming since reading Donna’s email and they roll faster the closer I get to where “Jena” is.  A few more steps and then I can clearly read her name etched in stone and I lose it completely.

This is why I don’t come here, yet for the third time in 3 years, here I stand not knowing why.

I look around and see “gifts” all around her tombstone.  I see pennies, cards, and bubbles.  I see remnants from the Junior Prom.  Mike and the Milton Girls must have stopped by to make sure Jena was a part of their evening.  They certainly are very special friends who'll never forget to include Jena in their lives and I love them for that.

I sit on the grass, in my suit, and I am just about to place the rose and feather among the other gifts when I am startled by my car radio that suddenly starts blaring.

I’ll give you one guess as to what song is playing….
...and one guess what the lyrics are.

“Keep breathing 'cause I'm not leaving you anymore
 Believe it
Hold on to me and never let me go”

I look up at the bright blue sky as see a bird fly above me.
I’m laughing and I’m crying.
I’m still holding the rose and feather and I start talking, out loud, to Jena

“Hey there Baby Girl, I’ll keep breathing as long as you never let me go, okay?”


  1. WOW Margarete !!! That is powerful and amazing !!!

  2. You have a beautiful way of reminding us all of the big picture with CF.

  3. Thank you for sharing this with me Margarete. I am truly moved.

  4. As usual, you have me bawling. What a powerful moment for you. Thank you for constantly reminding me to cherish those I love and let them know. And for reminding me to count my blessings. You are an inspiration.


  5. Oh, Margarete, this one really got me. Love you...

  6. Margarete, I am blown away, by your thoughts, your writing, and especially your spirit, there are no words to explain what this meant to me on so many levels, but that I am in awe of you, and you continue to be my inspiration to be more courageous and more "Margarete like"each day.
    As long as you are here carrying the torch, I have hope.
    Thank you, "Beyond Breathing,"beyond words, it is a priviledge to know you.
    God bless you and Jena and your family, and keep you close... all my heart.