The road ends, but the journey continues...

Celebrating a Singular Between-Time

 Today is bd Day.
A between-time of singular personal significance.
February 6th of any year is bd Day – Ma’s birthdeath Day.

February 5, 1929 Marylou Mawicke (married – Bruno) was born.
February 7, 2007 Ma passed away.

In those last two and a half years we had left living in our home in Colorado following her death, I spent countless days visiting her new cemetery home – talking to her, sitting against her head stone or laying down beside her. During those two years after losing her to COPD/emphysema I mostly sat cross-legged facing the grey-streaked white marble marker praying, crying, touching her name, cleaning the engraving, walking amongst her neighbors, sometimes bringing Dad along for his own face-to-face time(s)…always leaving gifts – tightly closed rosebuds from our climbing rose bush in the front of our home in Colorado or small rocks and Indian Paintbrush stems gathered from our family’s mountain property, or other tokens like ticket stubs to movies or concerts or Broncos stickers…Most of the more traditional offerings of floral bouquets consisted of blossoms cut from my own abundant garden(s) in our home in Colorado, especially when those Bruno Purple Giant Irises were in bloom that first Spring after her passing.
Once hubby and I sold our home in Colorado and began our between homes time, we’d return from time to time and I’d visit Ma, leaving bits of where we’d been – a perfectly flattened blue hued skipping rock from the shores of Lake Superior gathered in the Upper Peninsula my first birthday away from family and our home in Colorado; a sprinkling of white sand from the White Sands National Monument outside Las Cruces, NM gathered on respite outings after particularly hard days of elder-caring hubby’s mother; a half-opened milkweed pod found along a meadow path in North Webster, IN; a handful of Leggy Lady’s tail/mane hair from the grooming brush gathered during our time on the compound in the desert; a slice of Saguaro Cactus spine from Fountain Hills, AZ…
Each of the two Februarys we had left living in our home in Colorado, I spent February 6th as a Day for visiting her grave as a sort of ritualistic honoring of her life.
I distinctly remember the first of these two bd Days. 
That day in 2008 was unusually grey with a stiff wind signaling an impending snow storm. It didn’t deter me from my mission, though.  I needed to share something with Ma, alone, without family members who’d be gathering the next day marking the first anniversary of her death.
Driving through the Fort Logan National Cemetery on my way to her gravesite, I rehearsed what I had to say and how I was going to do what I needed to do. Coming upon the curb area closest to her headstone, I parked, opened the door wide and pressed play on the car’s cd player.  Walking towards my destination, I heard the beginnings of the music blasting forth from a few feet away…

“Ma, this is what I wanted to play for you the day before you passed away; I wanted you to be the first to hear it – finally finished and ready to record – I wanted you to know – to feel me there with you, to be a part of your leaving us. Me.
But I was too afraid…It’s taken me this long to understand why.  Somehow deep inside I thought if I could play it for you, it would work its musical magic and you’d awaken – and be back with all of us. I couldn’t face you awakening somewhere else, someplace I couldn’t go along with you.”


  1. Sylvia

    Your post moved me to tears, Laura, but your music was soothing and so peaceful. I love classical guitar. It’s a little less than six months since my mom passed away, and I feel the loss very keenly. Hugs to you.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Such a tender time for you right now. Hugs back…

  2. Dick Bruno

    I cried. Our loss was God’s gain. Beautiful piece.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Big hug, bro…
      (wonder where I stashed some of those tokens? inside the deep holes made by that flower holder stake…)

  3. Jane Chesebrough

    Such profound grief, so beautifully expressed. Love the idea that you opened the doors of the car and played the cd. It is a beautiful piece. I have really felt the presence of loved ones at times like these. Blessings to you…

    • laura bruno lilly

      Jane, your website name says it all: I guess this was/is my own heartsong

  4. Bob Cloud

    A beautiful post and I’m sorry for your loss. My mother passed when I was 12 and a part of me has remained in that moment throughout my life. You never get over it and I don’t want to. She has always been in my thoughts and I’ll be with her again soon.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Bob for taking time to write/type a comment – I believe it’s a difficult task for you that most of us take for granted.
      Losing a parent as a child is so heart-wrenching…grief and loss profoundly magnified and confusing.
      I understand about the ‘not wanting to get over it’ aspect. For me, it’s related to staying close.

  5. Anna Scott Graham

    Approaching a similarly significant date, I found this piece particularly touching, also uplifting. Such a beautiful tune and post, and what a poignant realization, ta love.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh Anna, I’m truly thankful my piece didn’t add to your hurt during this, your own first-year journey through loss. As you can tell, it’s taken me many years to finally write about this singular event…it was strangely cathartic, too.

  6. Donna

    Beautiful guitar work, I forgot to say before I pushed post comment.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you so much, Donna…as an (he)artist yourself, you know it means a lot to learn one’s art has touched another…

  7. Donna

    Your mom passed two years before my mom, but I have such a sad feeling each time I go back to PA. It will last and last. It is hard and I understand your loss.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re right, it’s hard. And yet, she is ever-present in my (he)art, as I believe you understand…

  8. Andy

    As Linda says, a beautiful post. I love the idea of bringing things from your travels to share with your Mom. (For some reason, I couldn’t play the music. But the post was moving even without it.)

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you for letting me know, Andy, I always appreciate your feedback.
      I think the cdbaby musicplayer settles in after awhile since I remember having this problem with my Hatikvah post. Here’s the link to the Youtube version for you if the inability to hear the piece on the post persists.

      • Andy

        Not sure if I never received a notification of your reply, or if I somehow overlooked it, but I have just returned and I’m glad I did. I could listen to the music this time, it was meditative and lovely.

        • laura bruno lilly

          So glad you were able to listen to it…(and enjoy it)

  9. L. Marie

    Oh Laura. What a beautiful post. What a lovely way to honor your mom. Thank you for sharing your music and this special day with us.
    Peace be with you!

    • laura bruno lilly

      and also with you

  10. Martha

    Beautiful, Laura! Your Ma would have been very pleased.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Martha…

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