After Mari Lynn passed, my daughters (and granddaughters) were genuinely concerned. I didn’t seem to be experiencing the profound grief they were expecting, and they thought I was not properly processing the feelings of loss I must have. I thought I could illustrate why I didn’t seem crushed, so two months after Mari Lynn passed, I wrote the following for them.


Early in our lives together Mari Lynn and I would often talk about death and dying. We believed it was the next step in a soul’s journey. Not an end or a beginning, but something that was just different. It was something to look forward to, not to dread.

We always hoped we could make the transition together, but we knew that wasn’t practical.  We often wondered which one of us would be first; which one could best survive while left behind? We were sure that she was better equipped to deal with life by herself.

Wouldn’t it be nice if plans like this worked out? But the soul makes plans the mind sometimes can’t know, and on May 11, 2017, at about 8PM our plan was reversed and here I am alone, or am I?

Since that time, I’ve been meditating and reflecting on why and how this happened.   Mostly I think about what we often talked about for over 20 years; “What would death (or dying) be like?”  We could never find the right analogy, but I thought our kids and grandkids could understand this one.

 We loved to take our kids to Disneyland but we both secretly loved it too. On May 11, 2017, Mari Lynn got to go to Disneyland. I would never think of telling her she couldn’t go because I knew she loved it. We had some time before she left to plan and often talked about the rides and exhibits there were and how much fun it would be for her. There were even rumors that Walt had thawed out and was at the park meeting people. “Don’t worry” she said,’ I’m just going to Disneyland.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done, everyone gets to go. You’ll be coming when the time is right.  It may seem like a long time, but it really won’t be.  And besides, I’ll be there waiting.  We’ll go on all the rides together just like we have many times before.

Before she left, we made sure to buy cell phones and since Disneyland gets really good service, actually perfect service, we thought we’d be able to talk all the time. We were so sure our new phones would work that we didn’t even open the boxes.

It was nearly time to go and as she got in the car, she got quiet.  I knew she didn’t want to go alone.  I spoke quietly and reminded her “It’s just Disneyland.  We know exactly what it is, and we know we both love being there. We’ve been there many times before”.

I drove her right to the front gate, let her out of the car, and watched as she entered the park and disappeared down Main Street. I knew how excited she was to go on the rides and see the sites. I was excited for her too. The peace and absolute joy that was on her face as she left told me that this was going to be more than fine; This was right.

For a while, I forgot about my cell phone. Several times I heard something ringing but I was terribly busy, and it was loud where I was. Then I remembered, I HAVE A CELL PHONE! I found it in my pocket, right where we had put it. “NO SERVICE”.  What the hell! I had assumed I knew how to work a cell phone but no matter how hard I tried still “NO SERVICE”. I worked as hard as I could to get it to work and was getting a little frantic. After all, this is what we had planned before she left.  What must she be thinking? I started freaking out and was almost ready to take it apart when I did something I never did. I started reading the manual. Right there on the outside of the manual, in large, bold print was, “DO NOT OPEN UNTIL YOU ARE IN THE QUIETEST PLACE YOU CAN FIND.” I found a quiet place and opened it. The first page of the instructions was simple: 





  I hadn’t realized there was an “On” button, how embarrassing. In the quietest place I could find I turned it on. I got one intermittent bar. Not enough for a call, so I texted “Are you there?” Almost before I finished typing I got a text back.” Where have you been, I’ve been waiting for you, I miss you!”

I’ve read ahead in the manual and if I stay in a quiet place long enough, quiet enough, I’ll be able to make actual calls and even video chat.  If I let things get noisy and loud, I lose service. But now I know where to go to fix that. The quieter I am, the more bars I get and more features work. 

She has a phone with perfect service everywhere she goes in the park. My phone works perfectly too. I can connect with her anytime I want.

I have a ticket to Disneyland too, we all do. I want to go to be with her so badly, but she told me I have work to do. When I get there, no matter what day or time I know who’s meeting me at the gate, and it’s not Walt!