To/For, About, With

    in loving memory of Tracey McCartney

We balk
at the task of writing
about the life of a beloved
because it seems impossible,
the audacity of eulogizing her
rendering us wordless at first
but we try anyway.

We listen to Neil Peart
for inspiration
to pen stories and poems,
write songs and blog posts,
issue proclamations
using words like fierce
and justice, steady and strong,
talent and uproariousness,
passion and compassion
and love.

We search inside ourselves
for the same qualities,
wondering about the unnamed thing
that draws one person
to another
whether across time
and miles and constant change
or tucked in together
belly to back
every night for eighteen years.

We are drawn to her,
our brightest light.
We warm ourselves nearby.
We curl up beside her,
ever-closer as her flames begin to dim,
fervently scribbling down words
describing how much she means to us.

I wrote this poem for a Celebration of Life this past weekend in Nashville and it was read by Tracey’s spouse Nan. Deep sigh. Much love.

Sharing with the Toads on the Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden.


  1. I'm losing them right and left as well. It's never easy. But it sure makes you reflect upon your own life.

  2. This really hit home. I just cleaned my stove and thought of my mother who passed away last year the whole time. Love the last stanza and know the flame dims and the back to belly doesn't last forever, although we live like it does.

  3. What a solemn and heartwarming piece, like the sun piercing the sky after a storm. We shall rise still. Warm greetings.

  4. Beautiful expression of grief.
    We curl up beside her as her flames begin to dim...a very poignant line... not wanting to let her go.
    Loved this poem.

  5. This is so poignant and beautiful both at the same time. A most heartfelt write, Marian.

  6. Simple, straightforward, honest, fine.

  7. A meaningful and well expressed tribute. ...and as you touched our hearts, a soul lives on.

  8. Love this celebration.. such a positive feeling

  9. The third stanza especially just broke me.. wonderfully written.

  10. It is indeed quite a task – but it seems to me you handled it well, with love and truth.

  11. Eulogies are indeed difficult to write. And you have carried it out so beautifully.


  12. eulogies should move the listener to tears, to remembering, to the closeness of the lost one -and this one certainly did. Excellent writing -

  13. Marian, friend, I am often very close to tears these days and your poem, the thoughts and intention behind it, have caused them to spill over.

    It is no small task to be Speaker for the Dead (see Ender Wiggin) but it is the kind of gift that is boundless and increases in the giving. How wonderful that you gave words to a bereaved person, so she could speak them at a time when words are so hard to find. What a friend you are.

  14. sigh. you weave love so well, Marian ~


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!