Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Name of the Blog

Well, here we are in the new blog spot. I'm intimidated and unsure of myself. I know some of you are laughing but I really am not good at this computer stuff.

I want to explain the name of the blog "SOLO". I chose this name for two reasons. When I first met my husband of 31 years, Jim, he had an eight year old golden retriever named Chelsea. He got her when he was a 19 year old college kid. When Chelsea was young and came into her first heat Jim bred her. This first litter only produced one little puppy. Jim named her Solo. I always loved that.

The other reason I have chosen this blog name is because I read this book years ago titled SOLO. It is a collection of short essays written by several different women who were challenged to identify an activity that, if they were to do it alone, would throw them in a lot of fear. One woman wrote about taking a backpack trip by herself and all the fears that came up for her in doing this. Another woman wrote about spending a weekend in New York city and the fear of navigating around by herself.

I admit the backpack is NOT a fear of mine. I've done that many times but traveling in a big city by myself is a huge, huge fear for me. I remember after I read this book I thought about other fears I might have if I was alone and the biggest one was if my souls mate, my best friend, my partner in life, Jim Daniels, was to die and I would have to face this life all alone.

Jim died on May 7, 2010 from a glioblastoma, brain cancer, that he fought like a true warrior for 16 months. And I am now solo in this life .... and writing my essays about it and facing my biggest fear.

This blog is the first step in sharing with anyone else who may be going through this now, who must face this same fear. Or for anyone who has thought how they might not be able to live if they lost their loved one .... but live we do. And I find myself with no other option - I have to face this fear of being solo.


  1. Well Miss Mary, thank you for taking this step. For being willing to share your hopes and fears with the wider world. I have, and will continue to, hold you in my thoughts.
    I'm with you. xo Margo

  2. Oh my dearest dearest Mary, I am sitting here in tears. I have been so out of the loop with traveling and work that I did not know Jim died. I give my deepest apologies for not being here sooner. I am so so sorry.

    After reading this post and experiencing the depth of your genuineness and courage, I feel anything I could say would be drivel and pale in the light of who you are. So please forgive me again because there are no words that can honor you in the way you deserve to be honored right now.

    I have bookmarked your site and added it to the top of my RSS feed. I want you to know that I am with you, and since our reconnection this last year you have always been in my thoughts, prayers and heart. Jim too. Reconnecting to you has changed my life and reaffirmed the deepest part of me. You are one of the most courageous, compassionate, authentic and beautiful souls I could ever know.

    I read this whole post and relate to all of it. I think my biggest fear would be to lose my beautiful soul friend, my husband, who has been with me for 13 years. He and I are so close, kind and loving with each other. We have a whole language and understanding that has BECOME who we are together. He has made me such a better person, and says the same about me. We are at deep peace and love with each other.

    I hope if I ever need it that I have your courage. I just can't even imagine it and must admit that most times I think about it I want to pretend that he and I (and "us") are forever. And of course on a soul level we are. It is in DAILY recognizing how BEAUTIFUL and rare he is that makes me make use of EVERY single moment we are together. We both are aware of the utterly precious gift we are to each other, so much so that we never waste time on petty "stuff". We always forgive and love and soothe and listen and understand and encourage and so so much more.

    Oh dear Mary, if you were here now I would just hold you. Know that in my heart held in the highest love and respect. You are a rare soul and I feel sooooooo deeply honored to be part of your life even in a small way.

    I love you,

  3. Hi Mary. It's good to be in touch again. I'm in Florida where I've been the past 3 weeks with my sister who died of pancreatic cancer yesterday. She's been sick for 9 months. Sorry I missed Jims death. I loved that guy. Will show this blog to my brother in law. Thank you for writing this blog. I am with you. Love and blessings. Leo

  4. hi mary - you are off to a great start here.
    I read all the comments and am not surprised how many wonderful people out there caring for friends and family members with cancer. I too, am here in Long Island helping out a friend who just came back home after his second 5-day-long chemo treatment. He's doing fine.
    I am with you and plan to peek in often... Diana

  5. Dearest Mary,
    You are a beautiful and brave woman full of courage. I felt honored to witness only a tiny piece of your connectedness to your dearest Jim and that short time I experienced was very beautiful. Your love and compassion for Jim was palpable and will carry you on... YOU will thrive, Mary, and this blog will feed your spirit and soul! Your reverence of the natural world will continue to feed your soul.

    Losing Sweet Betsy just six months ago gives me a very special connection with you; one I look forward to nurturing! I am so grateful our paths have crossed.

    Thank you for blogging - sharing your precious journey with us!!!


  6. SOLO : Strong One, Living On! I'm sure you already know it, but I admire you so much I can't possibly put it into words. It's ironic that although you felt so drained so much of the time over the last year and a half, your friends, myself included, have drawn so much inspiration FROM you!!!

    And of course, the other irony is that although you are solo now, nobody doubts that he is right there with you in everything you do!


  7. Lots of love and hugs from Lukas, Jesse, and Victoria. We're thinking of you.

  8. Dear Mary,
    You are truly amazing. Your blog writing brings tears to my eyes as I read, for your clear spoken thoughts continuing to describe what must be the most difficult of challenges anyone could face. I must say you have, along with Jim, become a warrior in my mind as you continue to write about your life with/to others. You are an inspiration in your steady focus. Though I have not seen you for a long time, I have keep abreast of yours and Jim's fight since it began through your writing and have often thought deeply of you both. Thank you for continuing to to reach out to a larger community compassionately and inspiring us all.
    love to you in your journey forward,

  9. Mary, not sure if you ever saw this, but it was a post that I sent to the Portland Velo Club (Bike Club) in May 2010:

    "In today's paper (Portland Press Herald) there was a nicely written tribute to Jim Daniels. I was horrible saddened to hear about Jim passing this past week. As many of you know, Jim was a long time member of the cycling community. He had been riding for years at a racing level, starting out with the old Back Bay Club, were he rode with his wife Mary. In later years he rode with our Portland Velo Club and got to know many riders in our area.
    Jim was a talented athlete with a riding style that was classic. He could keep with the best on the Saturday morning ride and even occasionally broke ranks on the Tuesday night ride. He could stay in the saddle and spin right up a hill while I worked out of the saddle. I think he learned that move from Lance Armstrong.
    Jim was always a great person to ride with, he was fun, and touched many of our lives. He could talk trash with the boys after the Saturday ride and always be a smiling friendly classy person to any new rider.
    The Press Herald article discussed Jim's professional and photography passions, something that many riders never knew. I always find it amazing that there are oh so many onion skins to a person. Jim exemplified this. I always remember talking with him on a weekly ride and then him nonchalantly saying, "oh yeah Paul I leave tomorrow for Guatemala" or some other obscure place in the world! I was eventually fortunate to see some of Jim's photographic images in a photography tribute show this past year. I was amazed. If you think Jim was a classy rider, well he was also a top notched photographer.
    Jim of course was a wonderful husband to Mary, and a good friend to me, and many others. We will all miss him. I know that he will live on in my, and many other peoples thoughts.

    Paul Weiss
    Former President of the Portland Velo Club"

  10. As it turns out these blog things really do have a purpose. Your postings on Lotsa and now this does help all of us share and stay connected to you on an intimate level. What a great thing. So technology does have its advantages.

    I love your SOLO story. It's given me food for thought. What would my alone fear be....humm?

  11. Wow, such encouragement from all of you. This truly means a lot to me. This stuff is intimidating but good Lord, knowing there continues to be such a hugely supportive and loving community buoying me up ... well, it makes it worth doing.
    Paul, I DID read that tribute you wrote and it made me cry when I read it. And it made me cry when I just read it again. So many people knew so many different aspects of Jim - so many reasons to love him and thus, such a vast community of diversity. He was an amazing human being.
    Thank you all so very much!

  12. Mary,

    I don't know if I would be out of bed YET... if my partner died. That IS the fear that will make me crumple in an instant. I give you so much credit for having the courage to move forward.

    We had to put our 16 year old puppy, Moxa, to sleep a couple of weeks ago... and I still can't bear to enter the empty house at the end of the day. Our lives revolved around that dog... everything is upside down... schedules are off... habits come back to haunt me.

    As I said, its not the same as losing your partner... but I do get an inkling as we are trying to re-frame our lives, of what you are going through.

    And it does help to be able to express the roller coaster of emotions that fall under the umbrella of "grief" with others going through it. Thanks for doing this.