Sunflowers are Coming….


Dear Maya,

It amazes me still, this process.  Do you remember the fun we had sometimes, in nice weather, when heading home from town, we would drive across the bridge onto the flats, open the windows and sunroof and blast the music at full volume?  That was such a delight.  I loved watching you in those moments, the sound, the wind, the speed, you just loved the adventure of it all, a little thrill after  along day at school.   I was feeling that for the first time yesterday, Maya, and I did it, for myself, without you.  I thought of you as the wind pushed back on me and the drums beat their rhythms.  And I noticed that the fields had been planted, the corn was coming up, and of course, that row of brown dirt for the sunflowers was ready.  The sunflowers.  How can something so simple give so much joy to so many?  I looked at that dirt with anticipation, and smiled, and knew you would not see this crop, my dear Maya, but that I would enjoy it for you this time.   

I also was remembering last summer, when we went to Ellis Island and go-carting in New Jersey.  We were parked when a very slow moving freight train went by.  You wanted so badly to hop onto an open flatbed, sit for a minute, and hop off.  To “trainhop”, as you called it. You had asked me before and I always said no without any hesitation.  This time I thought about it for a minute, I analyzed the landscape, the speed, the clearances.  For a brief second, I was thinking we could do it, but I said to myself no, too dangerous.  Actually Elise’s voice said “no”, in my head.  I was almost ready to go for it. More for me than you, but I did not admit that! And I told you no.  You were disappointed, but understood.

Maya, I want you to know that I am doing ok, that I am getting better.  I still miss you so much, but I smile more now when I think of you.  This is what amazes me about this process, Maya.  How can this loss be transformed?  Where does this road lead? What new gifts and challenges await me?

I really do not ponder these questions too much.  Sometimes I still feel “bad” when I feel “good”.  I know this is a normal part of the process, I look at it and let it go.  I remember your little notes one summer, “have fun without me”, and I am trying hard to live by that.

I am still seeing strange little signs, Maya.  I am not sure if it is because I want to see signs, or what, but they are pretty real.  The bird that keeps trying to get into the house, to the point of whacking himself into the window for hours.  You would laugh at that I am sure. “Smart bird”, I can hear you saying, with that funny sarcastic tone. You still make me laugh.  How do you do that?

Love you and miss you,




5 thoughts on “Sunflowers are Coming….

  1. Matthew, thank you again for sharing this big, mixed up, complicated process of grieving your Maya so honestly and openly. I love being part of your conversation with Maya. Your ability to smile more, the wind pushing back on you as you carried on a tradition ‘solo’, the sunflowers: I feel your healing.

  2. So pleased to be able to read these deep an thoughtful posts.
    So pleased that I am, at least in part, sharing this strange and mysterious journey with you.
    So pleased that the dirt is tilled and soon there will be sunflowers.

  3. With a smile I share that I too, would have thought about hopping on the freight train, as I often do. And I’m glad that you heard the other “Elise voice,” that said, “no.”
    Your story also shed light on the different gifts we gave to Maya. While with you, she may have been sarcastically joking about that “smart bird”, with me, I could hear Maya’s voice wanting to save him or her, help it find it’s family or see what is wrong with it. Aside from these different sides, Maya had so many others which she revealed to all that knew her.

  4. Such a touching story about love, connection, healing, hope….
    I imagine that Maya would be relieved to know her dad was able to enjoy memories and experience joy
    XO Jody

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