You Are Missed

My wife and I are sitting outside and looking at the bay water outside my late mother-in-law’s house. And we’re crying.

The world just hasn’t felt right lately. It feels off-kilter. It feels dimmer somehow. Ever since my mother-in-law, Mother Mary, passed away, everything has gone out of whack.

My wife is all over the map emotionally. One moment she’s laughing at a funny memory, the next moment, it’s full-on waterworks. And I’m usually crying right beside her.

I guess it’s hitting us now. I suppose we haven’t had time to let the grief fully settle on our shoulders. There wasn’t any time for grief until now.

When someone dies you are immediately distracted by decisions that need to be made. The decisions come at you from all angles like gnats. You talk about funerals, wakes, dinners, preachers, you look at photo books, plan outfits, you buy new dress shoes because yours look ratty.

You’re on autopilot. The mud and sediment in the proverbial glass of water haven’t settled yet.

Well, this week, the mud is settling, and I’m remembering too much at once. Such as when I first got married.

The most joyous period of my youth was spent on this pier, looking at this pretty bay with my newlywed wife and her mother. In some ways, my life was just beginning.

My wife and I spent the first week of our marriage in the upstairs bedroom of this house, overlooking this bay. And years later, when my mother-in-law became ill, we moved into that same bedroom to care for her. That’s when our world became all about Mary. And it was like that for a long time.

It was my wife who ran the caregiver show. She wrote the schedules, did the hiring and firing, cut the checks, and covered the weekend shifts. We took Mary to doctor appointments. We tucked her into bed. For cripes sake, I sang the elderly woman to sleep with my guitar sometimes.

What I’m getting at is, every day of our lives involved this woman. I didn’t realize the enormity of her presence until just now.

You spend your life with someone, anyone, and they become a main character in your ongoing story. You wake up and there they are. Before you go to bed, you pray for them. And even when you aren’t together, you’re sort of thinking about them.

Loved ones become a piece of you, almost like a body part. Their names are written on your tongue, their faces live in your brain, and their quirky mannerisms occupy a space deep within your chest.

Then, poof, it all disappears.

No more looking at the same moon. No more phone calls. No more spending months decorating that person’s house for Christmas. No more sitting around the table and drinking malt beverages.

No more watching television and laughing at the clever auto insurance commercials. No more heart-to-heart conversations. No more sharing peanut brittle before supper.

No more Harlequin romance books scattered around the old woman’s house. No more shouting to her from the other room. No more walking into the den and seeing the back of Mary’s silver head, sitting in her recliner.

It’s all over. Every piece of it. Like someone whitewashed over that old life we built and painted over the people we used to be.

I don’t mean to be Johnny Raincloud, but what do we do now that she’s gone? Where do we go? Whose house do we visit? What do we do with all the bags of rice in her pantry? Eat them? That doesn’t feel right. That was Mary’s rice.

Who inherits her old straw hat? What about her house slippers? Do you just throw those away? Her T-shirts? Her stacks of “Southern Living” magazines dating back to the Coolidge administration?

How do you walk into that empty house without remembering too much? How do you not stand in the entryway and remember the young man you used to be when this elderly woman welcomed you into her family?

Back then, you were just a kid, holding the world by the scruff of the neck. You were in perfect vigor. You were cheerfully unwise, and happily ignorant. Life was great.

But today that kid has been replaced with a middle-aged fool who I don’t even recognize in the mirror. And every day this kid wonders, has he lived his life well? Has this kid been a good man? Is he kind? Is he generous? Is he someone his mother would be proud of?

Has this kid told his most cherished people that he loves them enough? How much is enough? Is there such a thing as enough?

I’m sorry this isn’t a more upbeat column. Today this guy and his wife aren’t feeling very upbeat. I promise I’ll get over it and be perky again. But today the young man and young woman sit outside, looking at the mirrored bay water, forehead touching forehead. And they grieve.

You are missed, Mother Mary.


  1. Norma Den - August 27, 2021 7:03 am

    As the song says, One day at a time, sweet Jesus. That’s all a person can do when the rug is pulled from under your feet. Grieve, cry, remember, laugh but let LOVE be what you remember most.

    • Dina Voutour - August 27, 2021 2:25 pm

      Perfect advice.

  2. Jackie - August 27, 2021 7:28 am

    I lost my father today after a month long battle with Covid… the man who just a few short months ago cut 27 pine trees down alone with his old chainsaw. I thought of the words you have weaved so beautifully over the last few weeks about Mary and wished there was somewhere I could pay tribute to my daddy and all his wonderful (and not so) ways like you have. But I don’t have your platform so my words will be on my heart, And I thank you for sharing your grief so those of us is who are grieving too can find solace with a friend.

    • Sandi. - August 27, 2021 9:36 am

      Sean and Jamie, a friendly reminder: Grief comes in stages. Don’t let anybody tell you how long to grieve. Take as long as you each need. Your many subscribers and other friends would dry your tears if we could, but tears are therapeutic. The sun will shine again, and you will smile again.

    • Len - August 27, 2021 12:17 pm

      Jackie, may God comfort bless you and your family today. I am sorry for your loss.

    • Lou Todd - August 27, 2021 12:38 pm

      Sorry for the loss of your father; you do not need a public platform to share your thoughts and memories; you need to write them down for yourself and for those who loved him- for your family z as bd children to come. Something you say may have so much meaning in their lives.

    • NancyB - August 27, 2021 1:19 pm

      So sorry for the loss of your father. Praying for you and your family today and in the days to come.

    • Dina Voutour - August 27, 2021 2:26 pm

      So sorry for your loss.

    • Stacey Wallace - August 27, 2021 2:29 pm

      Jackie, I am so sorry to hear about your Daddy. May God bless you and comfort you.

    • Vicki Hendrickson - August 27, 2021 3:54 pm

      I’m so sorry for your loss Jackie. You just borrowed Sean’s platform to share your grief. I have no doubt other readers like me are sending their condolences to you and all who loves your daddy. ❤️

  3. Liz - August 27, 2021 7:43 am

    The words above from Your reader, Norma Den, say it perfectly. Do not try to ignore or out-run the grief. You can’t. And, believe me, a faithful fan who is MUCH oder, grief can be painful (which you already know) and it can be sweet. 😥😔😌 Love creates sadness AND beauty.

    • Norma - August 27, 2021 8:09 am

      Thank you Liz for your kind comments. My husband has severe Alzheimer’s which is tearing my heart out.

      • Stacey Wallace - August 27, 2021 2:46 pm

        Norma, praying for you. I lost my Daddy to Alzheimer’s in 2018. May God give you the strength you need. He will never leave you. Sending you a bear hug.

    • Sarah - August 27, 2021 11:51 am

      You don’t have to apologize for your grief. You’ve blessed us with your honesty about life experiences.

  4. Edward F Tracy - August 27, 2021 7:48 am

    Beautiful words that mean so much to so many

    • Karen - August 27, 2021 12:22 pm

      Take one day at a time . Grief takes time. 💖

  5. Joan Moore - August 27, 2021 7:57 am

    She will always be there in your wonderful memories, and now that you have shared Mother Mary with her “Internet People,” she will be with us, too. Grief will ebb and flow like the water outside her beloved home, so be prepared for the unexpected. And I will say a prayer for Jamie and yourself and watch HGTV for MM. Love and prayers.Please rest awhile before you start the book about her.

  6. Erica - August 27, 2021 8:16 am

    You do not need to apologize for writing what is in your heart, humorous or not. Your column is powerful because it is real; the fact that you’re usually funny is a bonus. We’ve all grieved, and we’re touched that you can articulate and share how that feels. We learned one thing: don’t make any big decisions for a while, including what to do with that house. Cook up some rice and watch some Naked and Afraid (my favorite Mother Mary column) and let things settle. May Mother Mary’s memory always be a blessing.

  7. Abuelita - August 27, 2021 8:21 am

    You wrote, “his mother would be proud of”. Have I missed something? Your mother is still with us, isn’t she?.

  8. Carole Bishop - August 27, 2021 8:40 am

    Your column hit home today. My father-in-law passed away 2 years ago. I found myself looking over the bayou reliving the same memories. We just sold what used to be a home and now is just a house. So, all that is left are the memories.

  9. johnsteinbach - August 27, 2021 9:03 am

    Sean, I once worked for a fellow whose mantra was, “All you can do is all you can do; and all you can do is enough.” You are living your life well, Sean. You are a good man. You are kind. You are generous. And you are someone your mother — and Mother Mary — would be proud of.
    Grief doesn’t end, but it does flow a little more easily. Give it time.

  10. Debbie g - August 27, 2021 9:13 am

    Asking. Am I a good person. Shows that you are. Because of you. I ask myself everyday. Was I a good person today. Did I make a difference in someone s. Life
    Thanks for making all of us aware of trying to be a person someone looks up to. And we look up to you Sean. Blessings on you and Jamie. We love you and all of us

  11. terry - August 27, 2021 10:13 am

    God touches each of those memories with grace and holiness and joy, healing your hearts.

  12. Heidi - August 27, 2021 10:56 am

    I fully agree with Norma Den and Liz. I remember how everything else felt so insignificant compared to losing my Mother and then, many years later, my Dad. I still wrestle with how to give up some of their special items. My dads robe still hangs in my closet as it’s a comfort.

  13. Chip Aiken - August 27, 2021 11:12 am

    Shaun, go back and read your blog “I am not Dead” and then you and your wife consider keeping ‘Mother Mary’s’ home and all of the memories that come with it! She will always be with you in so many ways, this would be one!

  14. Dee F.Hoomes Wichman - August 27, 2021 11:22 am

    I am sorry for your loss. I am thankful for the many years you had to make memories because they will sustain you in the years to come. I lost my youngest daughter 21 years ago in June at the age of 25. I miss her every day but I am thankful for her music and art. I can listen to Radio Flyer and think of her flying higher than the stars. When she wrote about 14 miles from here to there and when you are there you are really no where, she was talking about the distance between our southern towns. 14 miles from Atmore to Flomaton and 14 miles from Flomaton to Brewton and about 14 miles from Brewton out to Damascus. Amanda now rests in our Hoomes Family Cemetery in the Hoomesville area of Damascus but she also rests in my heart and there she will be as long as I live. Remember as many happy memories as you can and please give your wife a hug for me. I love you.

  15. chris - August 27, 2021 11:23 am

    we grieve with you and for your broken hearts. This is who y’all need to be “perky” I love you both

  16. Catherime - August 27, 2021 11:26 am

    So sorry. Been there and will be there again. The best advice I can share is just go thru it moment by moment, feeling by feeling, experiencing each memory and emotion as they flow thru you. I try not to look at grief as a bad/sad time. Years of memories, good or not so good need to be processed. I think every loved one we lose…even pets….take a piece of our hearts with them….it takes time for that to heal. Some people rush to get thru this, some just box it up and store it in some brain cell never to be looked at again. But, the best thing is living thru it bc one day in the future it will all be so hazy on most days and life will be the new normal. Then other days you’ll think of something in living color and feel happy. And one day, when God calls you home and you meet again, you’ll get all the missing pieces of your hearts back and feel an overwhelming joy. In the meantime……they’re never far from us.

  17. DT - August 27, 2021 11:38 am

    “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

  18. Kathy - August 27, 2021 11:42 am

    Perky is way overrated.

  19. JodyMarie - August 27, 2021 11:44 am

    No need to apologize for the raw emotions you are writing about. Many reading your words are going thru the same thing in their own way. Your words allow them to nod their heads and know they are not alone. It helps put words to how they are feeling since they may not have any to speak of themselves. Grief is like an ocean wave with peaks and valleys then crash into the sand with a break between the next one. For what to do with all her things, no need to make a decision just yet. Mother Mary will give direction just gonna take time to hear her thru those crashing waves till they calm a bit.

  20. Debbie Schmidt - August 27, 2021 11:46 am

    Grief never ends, but it changes. It changes when you get to know it better…when you have a deeper understanding of its evolution……when you accept it as a part of your being…..when you make peace with it.

  21. Rhea Wynn - August 27, 2021 11:50 am

    Right now it is all encompassing; you will be able to move on, but you will find that there are moments (small events, words, sights, or smells) that will trigger a memory. Don’t fight it – let these precious moments flow over you, through you, and out your eyes when needed. It helps! Some may not understand, yet – but they will one day. God bless you as you work through your grief. Thank you for the words that have given me moments to remember loved ones I am missing.

  22. Kathy - August 27, 2021 11:55 am

    We don’t expect upbeat. We want true. And you are.

  23. Helen - August 27, 2021 12:04 pm

    You will always miss Mary, but the grief softens to a gentle tug when you see something that reminds you and you smile. My mother died at 94 , 12 years ago and when I see things around the house that remind me of her, I know I was and am blessed to have her in my life.

  24. Pamela Williams - August 27, 2021 12:07 pm

    Sending you both so much love as you grieve. It is a process and having all these thoughts and feelings are part of that process. Remember all the things and let the grief happen. You can’t rush it along, especially when you loved someone as much as you did Mother Mary. Here is a quote I read that truly resonated with me when my momma passed:
    “Grief is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love.” I hope you find peace in your grief and remembering the deep love you had for Mother Mary.

  25. mccutchen52 - August 27, 2021 12:07 pm

    Time will help.You will never forget but the memories will become part of you like a song you sing. At first you don’t want to sing a song because of the memories but then, with time, every time you sing the memories will come back when you hear the words. Time will let you sing the song and remember the fun times with reverence and not sorrow.

  26. Candace Owens - August 27, 2021 12:12 pm

    I grew up in Defuniak. I lost my father, my mother and then my brother. I held on to the house and kept and repurposed the furniture. Visited it often along with friends and family. People who visit often mention in their own words the sweet spirit of the house. My husband then died two years ago. He had brain cancer in the end and often as he called it “in his dreams” he was often in that house. One time he said he, my mother, and Jesus were leaning against the refrigerator laughing. I am moving back into that house in 2 weeks! The memories will remain and become even sweeter and more comforting. Keep her house if you can. Gather there often. She and Jesus will be there laughing with you

  27. Gina - August 27, 2021 12:22 pm

    Bravo. I understand. – GIna in NC

  28. Shelton A. - August 27, 2021 12:27 pm

    I pray you God’s peace and comfort for you both.

  29. Suellen - August 27, 2021 12:27 pm

    Dang it. I tell myself every day that I’m not going to read your blog and spill my guts to the whole internet. Yet every day you get to me. Today I’m just going to say We Love You Sean because you are real. If you were going through this and writing perky columns we that have come to know you would know that you were holding back on us. When you come to us every day with what’s on your mind warts and all that gives us the opportunity to be real too. You’re building an online community here in the comments and we’re getting so much more out of it than 800 words or whatever.

  30. Lisa - August 27, 2021 12:29 pm

    10 years ago I lost my mother suddenly. And Sean you are right, there is so much to do that you truly move on autopilot. You exist in a fog until everyone leaves, their lives return to normal, and you are left standing with the pieces of memories of what seemed like just yesterday when all was normal. Someone shared with me that grief is not something you get over; grief is something you walk through. It’s a process that becomes part of you the moment you lose someone. However, you will walk through it. You don’t push. You don’t shove. You walk every day and when the memories come, let them come. There will come a day when you don’t feel the sting so sharply, when the tears are just a trickle—and you’ll even smile at the memories that come with them. Mother Mary is never far from you. Grief is the price we pay for loving someone so much (paraphrased from someone, I’m sure). Walk through it. Don’t fight it. Let it speak to you. You and your wife hold tight, close your eyes when you need to and simply remember. Hope this helps.

  31. Laura Bevan - August 27, 2021 12:30 pm

    I never felt so alone and emptiness until my mother passed away after a short illness. I had been her primary caregiver for 2.5 years and loved the time we had together. We took short adventures I concocted to help her continue to enjoy life as she adjusted to losing her independence, but her greatest joy was watching the birds at the feeders outside a large picture window. Over 3 years later I still stare at that chair and out that window and can’t believe she is gone. The grief gets less raw, but never goes away completely. Keep focusing on the wonderful memories and let the others flow away.

  32. Vicky - August 27, 2021 12:30 pm

    You & Jamie just hang on to each other-you will get through this together. Sending you both many hugs today.

  33. Ann - August 27, 2021 12:34 pm

    I was a caregiver for my mom until she passed 3 years ago.
    You described that disorienting can everything around me look the same…period of grief so well.
    It gets less roller coastery with time.’s still hard.
    Peace to you and your wife.

  34. Mary Ellington - August 27, 2021 12:36 pm

    What do you do with a loved ones clothes? I make bears. Tangible, huggable memories. I’d be honored to make one for Jamie.
    (This is not an advertisement. Just on offer of love that comes from understanding)

  35. Bill Harris - August 27, 2021 12:45 pm

    Thank you Sean. You have the gift of putting our lives on paper.

  36. Jan - August 27, 2021 12:53 pm

    I believe we can answer some of those questions … Yes, he is kind. He is a good man who is generous, thoughtful and someone his mother would definitely be proud of. As many others have said, take some time to just be together. Grief is difficult but you and Jamie will get through it together.

  37. Linda Trauffer - August 27, 2021 1:17 pm

    “When the storms come, and our trees of delight are bare and lifeless, when He strips us of the comforts to which His love has accustomed us — or more painful still — when He leaves us alone in the world, to mourn the absence of the chief desire of our heart; — to sing to Him then, to bless and praise and laud His dear name, then, this is the work of His free grace only.” Susannah (Charles) Spurgeon

  38. Jennifer Bain - August 27, 2021 1:24 pm

    I’m not sure the day that “Miss Mary” passed away, but I know it was around the 12th of August. Because that is the day my younger brother left this world. I had been his caregiver for the past 7 years when he moved in with my husband and I. I have followed your emails very closely since then. I am experiencing some of the same feelings you are expressing. I am sorry for your loss, but thank you for helping me grieve.

  39. Kim Kennedy - August 27, 2021 1:26 pm

    You have put down in words what I have not been able to. I’m an orphan now that both my beloved parents have passed. I have a hard time saying how I feel. Thank you for doing this for me.

  40. Pinny Bugaeff - August 27, 2021 1:28 pm

    Dear Sean: You ask what do you do, now that she is gone. Well, as someone who has trod that road far too many times, you do exactly what you’re doing. Grieve,cry,sob,wallow,remember ,eat peanut brittle and some morning you’ll wake up and just for a minute you’ll forget she’s gone.. and then you’ll remember and …well I know you already know this but after sometime,the sweet and funny memories will become brighter and the sorrow will slightly fade and then well, you goes on and on and on… maybe less foreground but never really over. And here’s what I know. Someday you’ll see her again .. in the meantime, take your time to stand on the dock and remember . Carry on like you do .and know that her life and her love is now shining in our hearts .

  41. Cynthia Russell - August 27, 2021 1:42 pm

    This letter was much needed as a wake up call to let those we love JUST how much they mean to us!!! Thank YOU!!

  42. Lucretia - August 27, 2021 1:43 pm

    My prayers and energy of love I send to that young man and young woman sitting on the dock,

  43. Christina - August 27, 2021 1:46 pm

    Death really stinks! It hurts so much to miss Mother Mary because you all loved each other so deeply. Makes total sense that every memory of her evokes the aching of the heart. Sending lots of love to you and Jamie.

  44. Patricia Gibson - August 27, 2021 1:58 pm

    Prayers for you both🙏

  45. Gordon - August 27, 2021 2:01 pm

    Such a tender post, Sean from you heart and soul. I still deeply miss those wonderful family members who helped shape my life. They have been gone for years. It never gets easy so you tend to do just as you wrote-remember. May our great God give you and Jaime the strength to carry on one day at a time.

  46. Glenda Busby-Fowler Hinkle - August 27, 2021 2:12 pm

    My first encounter with grief hit me just like you are describing. I thought I was going crazy. I wandered aimlessly in the grocery store not being able to focus on anything and had no appetite for food that I knew I needed to buy to eat. I found no joy in ANYTHING…..actually, had no room in my heart for joy because I was all filled up with grief. After several months of crying until there were no more tears, still hurting so badly, I went to my church and volunteered to bake cakes for their different meetings. They had once a week meetings for all different groups. I didn’t attend the meetings but would deliver my cakes to them once or twice a week. The folks at the meetings sent me all kinds of “thank you” notes and I knew they appreciated my “Betty Crocker” cake mix cakes! lol (I’m no baker, believe me!)……I think this was God showing me that I could find happiness again if I gave myself to others. When the time comes for you and Jamie, you might want to consider doing something like this. It helps……..God Bless you both.

  47. Jim Thomssen - August 27, 2021 2:15 pm

    Grief is a weird thing. It comes back to visit time and time again. Ask yourselves one question though…”What would Mother Mary tell you to do now?” Figure that out, and then go do that!

  48. KK - August 27, 2021 2:18 pm

    Thank you Sean for your openness and tenderness.. I am grieving the loss of my son.. I understand your every word.. grief is up and down.. it is everything you have spoken of.. I pray for you and your wife.. may God give you peace and comfort.. be kind to yourselves.. she is in a better place and know.. God says, Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.. Mathew 11:27.. thank you for expressing yourself so well and honestly.. My thoughts are with you!!🙏🌷

  49. Stacey Wallace - August 27, 2021 2:19 pm

    Sean, we grieve with you. Just take all the time y’all need to mourn Mother Mary. I feel as though I know her because of your wonderful writing. Half of my nieces and nephews are as old as you or older, so you aren’t middle aged. You are a young man. I can answer your question: Yes, your Mama and Mother Mary are very proud of you. So am I. Love and prayers for you and Jamie.

  50. Gene - August 27, 2021 2:24 pm

    Love you two…❤️

  51. Dr. Dennis Stalvey, aka Preacher Dennis the Storyteller - - August 27, 2021 2:51 pm

    Sean, this message is private. Please do not publish in your comments section. You and I are in my office and the door is closed. The only other place where I can be sure we have privacy is in the Okefenokee Swamp. There only the gators and the Cypress trees have ears. As a retired chaplain with a large retirement/nursing care organization across South Georgia (Magnolia Manor), I offer to you and Jamie a word. Notice I did not say preach a word. You don’t need that. I am responding to one sentence you wrote today, “What do we do now?” That is a good question when there has been a loss of anykind. Although Amazon may beg to differ, they do not have any blueprint books on what to do with a loss. So speaking to you as an almost 70 year old man and almost 50 years of ministry having dealt with death all my life, I will share what a sweet elderly lady shared with me when I was where you and Jamie are now. My wife and I lost our only daughter a few days after birth. That was when my wife and I huddled together not knowing spit about what to do next. Then we lost grandparents, uncles, aunts, her brother last year, and our 45 year old son this past January to a fall with a head injury. I think sometimes my middle name is Job. In those 50 years I have lost more friends and church members and yes, even strangers, than I care to think about. When I was called to the ministry, I heard God say to me, “I am sending you to help people who are hurting.” He certainly has kept his part of the deal. Even now serving two churches part-time where the people are the greatest ever, losing just one of them hurts and hurls me into an abyss. Poetic aren’t I. But what that elderly lady said to me many years ago has never left me. She said, “Our loved ones are never really gone, as long as we keep them on our lips.” And to back that up, I had a board certified psychiatrist tell me, “The way you know if you are dealing the right way with something is to keep it out front and not swallowed inside.” He went on to say, “Just be careful when you keep it out front, not everyone wants to see or hear it. Be selective.” So here is my two cents worth: Tell lots of Mary (Mother Mary) Martin Stories. Tell them to each other, tell them to us. Some of those stories will bring a smile and even a laugh or two (in my doctoral research project I proved that laughter can help the elderly transcend above despair and depression) and also that laughter and tears come from the same place inside us. Some of those stories may be sad, some may even trigger anger, but that is okay because it will be real. And like the Velveteen Rabbit was told by Skin Horse, “Real is what we are all wanting.” I’m not there yet, that is why I continue day in and day out listening to your counsel, it helps me get a little closer to “REAL.” But, and preachers are always sticking their “buts” in their messages, some days all I feel like is Eeyore and my tail has fallen off and woe is me. My wife, an educator, came home from a preplanning meeting one year after hearing a speaker say, “Many of us enjoy a pity party. But a pity party is a party of one, and no one remembered to bring any refreshments.”
    So please, tell lots of Mary Martin stories so she can forever in this life be upon our lips. I think she is worth it and I only just met her before she outran us to the Father through Jamie and you. The two of you have had her even longer and your sack has more of those stories than our sacks. That’s what you do now.
    Grace and Peace, Brother,
    Dennis Stalvey
    Americus, Georgia

  52. Dermot - August 27, 2021 3:05 pm

    🙂 I hope peace finds your hearts soon. Just because the hearing fades doesn’t mean the sound is no longer there. Because of you, there are so many people lifting Mary up to heaven!

  53. Cindy Peterson - August 27, 2021 3:05 pm

    I lost mom two years ago sept to Dementia. What I found is Grief is a strange and personal thing that can come in waves when you don’t expect it. It can come liked a raging storm at first then over time it can be more gentle… like when you walk along the ocean beach and a gentle wave covers your bare feet. Grief is your friend allowing you the chance to heal. Love yourself enough to embrace your grief and don’t worry about us. We will be here. Love to you and your wife.

  54. Paul Moore - August 27, 2021 3:23 pm

    It’s hard Sean. But one day way too soon your gonna realize they are all gone. No more parents no more grandparents no more aunts and uncles maybe even a sibling or two. Your father left you by choice. That’s hard. Mother Mary gone that’s hard What’s the hardest Sean I lost my only child. My red headed reason to live is gone. My wife lost one of her identical twins when they were seventeen. It’s hard. You know what you do Sean ? You keep going. You find a reason every day. You hold Jamie’s hand and look at that sunset over the bay. And you move on. Take comfort in your friends and family and laugh through the tears every chance you get. ☮️ Wordman. Keep writing. Good medicine

  55. Judy - August 27, 2021 3:29 pm

    if you can find a quilter who makes scrap quilts they can take MM’s clothes and make a beautiful memory quilt.

  56. Carol ROTHWELL - August 27, 2021 3:30 pm

    When you finally get to that age , never sure when that will be , but you’ve been living with grief all your life, friends die , and you grieve , and then it really hits you , thoes who are the closest to you begin to die , husband at 52 , no more future for you
    Lonely days and Lonely nights !!You think you’ll never stop crying and you don’t, sometimes outside, sometimes inside!then your momma and two weeks befor that your first husband , the father of your children !! It’s not gonna stop until it’s your time !
    And then there’s more grief for the ones you leave !
    The circle is never unbroken!
    I pray for Jamie and you , hold tight and know Mother Mary is not alone , shes back with everyone she grieved for and now she’s not sad inside anymore 🙏❤️

  57. Deborah Robbins - August 27, 2021 3:35 pm

    Its almost like I am grieving for my m other all over again with you. Thank you for sharing!

  58. Diane White - August 27, 2021 3:44 pm

    Sharing in your grief.
    God Bless!

  59. Dawnie B - August 27, 2021 3:57 pm

    My heart is broken for you and Jamie, and all of your family.

  60. Dawn M Monday - August 27, 2021 4:05 pm

    After losing my boyfriend to suicide, a very wise friend told me “cry every time you feel like crying, because those tears are going to water something inside you that’s going to make you grow”. I did and it has. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

    • Susan D Cobb - August 27, 2021 5:03 pm

      Thank you for sharing that, I will remember

  61. Mary - August 27, 2021 4:09 pm

    Sean, there’s a time for everything under the sun, sonthe Bible says, so give yourself that time. My momma has been gone since 1960 but I still have my memories. Now I am dealing not with death but separation from my youngest child, dealing with Covid and I’m to far away to help but, we can talk and respond. God bless you and your wife as you walk through this. 🙏

  62. Fran E Jackson - August 27, 2021 4:27 pm

    Beautifully said. I sit here grieving the death of my son three months ago, and I feel what you’re feeling only I am the mother. Your columns are so poignant and I live them every day. Thank you and my heart is with you and your lovely wife. Mother Marya loves you as do all of us who wait foar your next words. I weep for you and yours, and my son. Life is not for the weak.

  63. JAMES W NEAREN JR - August 27, 2021 4:47 pm

    Its strange. The rest of the world is the same and keeps spinning along. But your world is altered and everything is tilted. You know it will never be quite the same ever again. It’s peculiar, and yet, no one else realizes that you have changed. You have aged. You are now the adult.

  64. Susan D Cobb - August 27, 2021 5:01 pm

    I hope sharing lessens your pain, in my experience it does. Google “ball in a box grief”

  65. Robin - August 27, 2021 5:04 pm

    I had the great privilege of caring for my mother in her last days…Sometime after she passed I was cleaning her bedroom (that she hadn’t been in for months) On the floor I found a scrap of paper about a half inch by 2 inches- cut from a newspaper from years past. The words on that little scrap were a gift to me from my mom. It read, ‘Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you for an interval, somewhere very near- just around the corner. All is well. ‘

    I hope these words bring you comfort too.

  66. Cynthia - August 27, 2021 5:25 pm

    Very well written. Touches all of our hearts that care for our elderly parent(s). God Bless.

  67. Lucinda Harding - August 27, 2021 5:36 pm

    Grief is like a deep flesh wound, extremely raw at the beginning. Then it begins to heal and sometimes the scab gets rubbed off and the healing process starts all over again. Sometimes the pain is so excruciating one can barely endure the agony. It just takes time. So cry those tears, and I pray there will be some good days mixed in with the sad ones as you continue your journey toward a full and happy life. 🙏🏼

  68. Cindy R - August 27, 2021 5:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing your grief. Experiencing grief is unique to each of us – and that is good because God created each of us to be unique, so let yourself grieve for as it takes. My dad passed away 4 years ago – last March as my husband and I were preparing to move to a new location, I was cleaning out cabinets giving away things I really didn’t need anymore and came across an old large empty jar that once held maple syrup. It’s really just a simple silly thing, but instantly I remembered the day that Dad brought me that big jar of maple syrup, and I started crying….I would never again have the pleasure of him giving me simple gifts…. I moved that empty jar to my new home.

    • Cynthia Cowling - August 28, 2021 9:48 am


  69. DeebytheSea - August 27, 2021 6:03 pm

    “Is he someone his mother would be proud of?” I can answer that without hesitation … ABSOLUTELY! You actually have many, many mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters and friends right here with you every day. You don’t know our names, our faces or our stories but we know yours. Most importantly, we know your heart because you have shared it with us and so it is without question that you can be sure that we are all proud of you!
    You and Jamie hold on to each other as you make this painful journey together … one day at a time. It will most certainly get easier … one day at a time.

  70. Andrea - August 27, 2021 6:12 pm

    To me when you are writing from the real emotions in your heart it is absolutely your best.

    We have all come to know and love her through your loving descriptions of her.
    We all feel the loss.
    My sympathies and prayers to you and Jamie in the loss of her precious mother.

  71. Michael Hawke - August 27, 2021 6:19 pm

    May God comfort you in your time of loss. The hurt never goes away, you just learn to live with it.

  72. Brenda - August 27, 2021 7:26 pm


  73. Rebecca Souders - August 27, 2021 7:30 pm

    I had 44 years with my fine gentleman of a husband and another 44 would not have been enough. Take your time with the decisions. Talk to Mother Mary and I’ll bet you can conjure up her answers to most of them. When I was saying the same words you wrote, “What do I do now?” a very good and wise friend said “Put one foot in front of the other.” Yup… and sing along the way.

  74. Maggie Priestaf - August 27, 2021 7:40 pm

    Sean, go ahead and press into the grief…

  75. Nancy Wood - August 27, 2021 7:44 pm

    Sean, I hope you get to read all these wonderful comments someday. Someone said “grief comes in stages.” I believe grief comes in waves. Go with the waves and you will be OK. When you wrote this another wave had knocked you off your feet. I await the day when you will again write your usual inspiring columns. You have a special gift and we love you for the way you have chosen to use it. Here’s to happier days for us all.

  76. Susan - August 27, 2021 7:57 pm

    Continued prayers for you and Jaime. Thank you for sharing your real feelings. You articulate so well how I felt when I went through all of that with my parents. You sharing your journey has helped me a lot. Thank you for sharing your gift.

  77. Robyn - August 27, 2021 9:03 pm

    I ❤️ You Sean & Jamie…🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  78. Linda Moon - August 27, 2021 9:11 pm

    I was crying when I lost my mother and held her body for hours until her warmth left. There’s a metaphor here: her expressions of warmth and affection for me ended at her death, but the memories of them didn’t. We can never remember too much, Sean. Memories may be painful for you and Jamie now, but I promise they will bring peace, love, and even laughter…even though Mother Mary is forever gone. And perky doesn’t matter at all right now. I understand the grief you two are sharing.

  79. Anne Parrish - August 27, 2021 9:20 pm

    I know MM was so proud of you. Especially those
    “clever insurance commercials.”

  80. Joyce Prosser - August 27, 2021 9:36 pm

    I’m speechless… I’m so sorry. May God give you both peace and comfort that only He can. Praying for y’all!

  81. Chasity Davis Ritter - August 27, 2021 10:01 pm

    You grieve all you need to. You wrote all the not so upbeat columns you need to. We’ve all been there. We all understand. We all care and have been and will continue to pray for you as well. You have been an everyday presence in my life for the past almost 3 years that my Dad has been gone. You make me laugh (sometimes at myself). You make me smile and almost everyday make me cry too. I may say it’s allergies but we know the truth. WE ARE HERE for YOU Too Sean. Just like you are always always there for us.

  82. Liz Watkins - August 27, 2021 10:08 pm

    My husband’s Mom died and 4 days later, my Mom died!
    The loss and grief is overwhelming! But it does get better. It takes a Long time- so be gentle with yourselves!
    Love and prayers to you and Jaime❤️🙏🏻❤️

  83. Pyrthroes - August 27, 2021 10:34 pm

    Having reached a certain age, memories crowd in, and with them a glimmering, faerie-like sense of “times past, and passing, and to come.” When all else fails –we recently lost a beloved twin brother– we seek the Poet’s word:

    “Though I am old with wandering
    Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
    I will find out where she has gone,
    And kiss her lips and take her hands;
    And walk among long dappled grass,
    And pluck till time and times are done,
    The silver apples of the moon,
    The golden apples of the sun.”

    Yeats, “Song of Wandering Aengus” (1899)

  84. crawfish09 - August 27, 2021 10:38 pm

    I have heard it said, and I am sure you have also, that grief is the price we pay for love. Mother Mary must have been a beautiful person. It is appropriate that you grieve for her. Prayers!

  85. Shirley Jensen - August 27, 2021 10:55 pm

    So very sorry. Continued prayers for y’all.

  86. cshabluk - August 27, 2021 11:14 pm

    Sending hugs. After the arrangements have been made and guests leave, the memories are all that remain. Your wonderful memories of her will give you and your family strength for the days ahead.

  87. Karen Ranney Wolkins - August 27, 2021 11:16 pm

    Oh Sean. I’m right there with you. My own Mom passed just two days ago, and she leaves a void so very deep and wide. I’ve followed your journey with Mother Mary, not realizing that my own Mother was right on her heels. My heart breaks for us both. Being present at her passing was both devastating and a profound honor. And of course I couldn’t help whispering in Mom’s ear the very selfish suggestion that perhaps she could leave the back gate to heaven ajar for me…just in case. I’m hopeful that we all can find our Mom’s around each corner. Women like this leave an indelible mark on our hearts and the world. It’s a powerful thing to hang onto. God bless, Karen RW

  88. Gayle Wilson - August 27, 2021 11:54 pm

    Sean, no need to wonder if you have done enough, said enough. There are stars in your and Jamie’s crowns just for what you did for Mother Mary. My word, you made her famous with all of your readers! And those times that you tried to fool us into believing that you were just doing all that you did for Mother Mary because it gave you good writing material…Ha, we were not fooled. We could see right through that! How much you cared for and loved her. And it was very clear how much she cared for you.
    So, that gigantic void that Jamie and you are feeling. My word. I’m not sure how you are putting one foot in front of the other. It’s okay that you don’t feel like being writing an upbeat column. You are writing from your heart and we need more of that in our world right now.
    And one last thing. My husband and I are feeling a giant void because we had to have our dog put to sleep two days ago. And I keep thinking – how can a dog make you feel like the world just tilted slightly off its axis?

  89. farmmom - August 28, 2021 12:47 am

    my favorite song right now… it’s old but so comforting, so I’ll share it with you. “My Jesus has broad shoulders! His back is stronger than mine… He was there the first time I called Him, He’ll be there any place anytime!”

  90. Celia Harbin - August 28, 2021 2:04 am

    My sincere condolences on the loss of your Mother-in-law and Jamie’s Mother. I’ve been there and it is difficult. May The Lord comfort you and your wife during this time.

  91. Karen Snyder - August 28, 2021 2:06 am

    Grief doesn’t leave, but we learn to navigate through it. Take all the time you need and then maybe a little more. ❤️🙏🏻

  92. Sonja Overstreet - August 28, 2021 2:42 am

    You won’t get over it. God will carry you through it. It doesn’t end this way. Mother Mary lives through you, your wife and this story! It’s a painful temporary separation. Prayers for you and your wife. 🙏

  93. Linda Perry - August 28, 2021 4:20 am

    Take your time and don’t feel like you have to be upbeat and perky. You sharing the journey through your grief is helping me through mine. We said goodbye to my dad a couple months ago and then to one of my best friends a couple weeks ago. I can relate to the tears and laughter and missing them.

  94. Cynthia Cowling - August 28, 2021 9:38 am

    Mother Mary will always be missed, and in our hearts as well, because you have been so generous and have shared her with us, too. 💔 I lost my beautiful Mother 6 months ago, to cancer, at age 73. She meant the world to me and my family. Her loss means so much more to me than any loss I’ve endured thus far… I cry daily for her, yet I know she wouldn’t want me to be so sad… Sean, I cant share any magic cure for your heartbreak. Life will never be the same. I do know that the wonderful memories we keep and those we share, of our dearly departed, are all part of our getting through our grief, tho never getting over their absence in our lives. Sending strength to you and your lovely wife xo

  95. Melanie - August 29, 2021 2:30 am

    After my mom passed in Ozark I boxed a few of her things up and shipped them from Dothan back to my house on the other side of the country. Sean and Jamie, that box has been untouched for five years. I can’t bring myself to open it. You do not need to do anything until you are good and ready. It’s an ocean of feelings and thoughts and we just keep swimming as best we can. Hugs to you both and extra scritches for the critters.

  96. Freddi Rein - August 29, 2021 2:37 am


  97. muthahun - August 29, 2021 4:55 pm

    May her memories be your blessings. And from the sounds of it, you and Jamie and Mother Mary were each others’ blessings for years. Don’t wonder if you were good enough or did enough or your Mom or Jamie’s mom would be proud. They were/are. You’ve brought loving words, thought-provoking words, to thousands. You’ve tended out on the people and hounds you’ve loved. You’ve noticed and pointed out the little things, the loving, kind, sentimental, HUMAN bits and pieces along the way to the rest of us. Mother Mary’s body may have passed on, but her memories are vivid within you and your wife and her friends. This is our eternity. This is the power of your love. Be well.

  98. Amy Allen - August 29, 2021 6:52 pm

    I totally relate to these emotions. Thank you for writing it. I just don’t have the ability to put into words what’s going on in my heart and mind after losing my Mom July 18, 2021. Your description hit the nail on the head perfectly. Heck, I burst out in a hurricane of emotion in front of a couple I did not know. My moms death was heart wrenching, yet beautiful. She left this crazy world to sit at the feet of her Creator. She is sitting where we all long to sit. I rejoice and grieve. My life has been consumed with caretaking for the past 10 years. I felt it was my calling. Now what?? I didn’t have time to grieve my Dads death 4 years ago. I moved right into caring for my Mom. I can’t imagine what that couple must have said to each other as they drove away after witnessing my uncontrolled tears. It was the kind of tears that snuffed out my ability to communicate why I was crying (honestly, I needed a paper bag to breath in). I think at that moment I grieved both my Mom & Dad. That couple lovingly stood there saying, “you’re gonna be ok.” The world does seem so different without them here. Thank you again Sean.

  99. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - August 30, 2021 1:38 pm


Leave a Comment