Saying goodbye to Holly

As I sit here I am struggling to write this. Normally these kinds of things are easier to write. They fly out of me as I feel them as much as the pain of the loss. But this time, I can’t seem to focus on what I want to say. What I want to focus on. There seems to be so much to say and yet so little.

Yesterday was Holly’s funeral.

I slept bad.

I felt bad.

I hurt.

Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually.

Sean and I both seemed to struggle to get out the door. Three outfits later and I just didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.

Sean couldn’t seem to get his tie right. I’m certain he could tie it without looking but yesterday nothing seemed to work right.

I attributed it to the universe being off kilter. We quietly enter the funeral home and sit, thankfully  early as they quickly need room for overflow.  So many people have come to say goodbye.

As her husband stands to greet us his voice falters. He admits early on he struggles with this task and the longer he continues the worse he gets until he really can barely speak. His love and grief threaten to overcome him until they do. And of course, we all cry, too.

Her son spoke, he read one of her poems. She was an accomplished poet and found solace in writing, especially after her older son died.  He spoke of having a simple relationship with her. One comfortable in silence but one in which he hoped she knew he couldn’t have a better mom.

I have always thought he was so like MT and this was hard to listen to.

Every mom hopes they are doing a good job. Hopes their kids think they are ok as moms. What a gift for him to speak these words.

Because you know she is with him.

Her mom called her a princess. Said the night she was born, the baby of five…the rest boys…they cried all night with joy.

She told me after she didn’t know if she should be sad she lost her or full of joy that she had her for 52 years.

As we sat and listened to each family member and friend speak, the crying in the crowd was all around us.

I’ve been to my share of funerals.

I’ve said goodbye to the elderly and the far far too young.

This was excruciatingly painful. 

When I left the house I gave a cursory glance around for Kleenex but knew it was on my grocery list so I just hoped the funeral home would provide.


Oh the mess we all made.

The tears that flowed, thank the Lord for my sweater. All decorum was gone. I was unabashedly a sobbing mess.

It was two hours.

At the end of the two hours I came away with this:

She was little but she was fierce

She loved deep.

She was brutally honest (with humor ~ that was one of my favorite things about her actually)

She was beautiful

Oh, the sarcasm

She was all in, all the time~ always present

If she loved you…she loved you. There was no middle ground.

She was a talented poet

She could have been a decorator

She could have been a therapist

She chose to be a mom


My daughter once told me how angry she was that we had told her she was special.

We had convinced her (and apparently an entire generation of her peers) they were special.

When in fact, they were just as normal as everyone else. Nothing special. Nothing different.

Not extraordinary.

What makes someone extraordinary?

Is it their gifts to the world?

Their talents, their legacy as an artist, a teacher, scientist?

A mother?

or can someone be extraordinary who is simply present?

Can someone be extraordinary simply because they touched peoples lives.

We said goodbye to Holly yesterday.

It was a hard day.

There were so.many.tears.

There were stories upon stories.

As I sat in this service listening to family and friends tell these stories of Holly and what made her Holly…

I thanked God for bringing her into my life, even if it was in such a painful way. I am better for knowing her.

And I silently prayed that at the end of my life I will have hundreds of people lining up to say how full of life, love,  honesty, sarcasm, joy and grace I was. 

What a beautiful legacy.

That would mean they understood me…if even a little bit. Right?

Maybe a little bit.

My dad used to call me that. Lil Bit.

My friend, Holly, was extraordinary.

6 Replies to “Saying goodbye to Holly”

  1. That was beautiful, sweet and so touching. I’m sorry for you and everyone that is grieving, Holly.

    1. Thank you so much Diane. It was one of the harder things I’ve had to do. I feel very blessed to have known her.

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