Ave Maria

This is my mother at age 17, a photo taken 50 years ago.

Today would be her 67th birthday.

In her honor, I was going to take my dogs to the beach, but …

Last week I had to rescue JoJo from drowning in a friend’s pool.  JoJo is fine!  She learned to swim.

I, on the other hand, wound up with some bruises and a pinched sciatic nerve and have been ordered to rest.

Rest = No Beach.


I woke up this morning to a text message from my brother.

The message said, Hey there.  Do you have some good pics of mom you could text or email?  Email is xxxxx.

We don’t talk much, my brother and me.  We text in an emergency.  I didn’t even have his email address.

I emailed the above photo.


I just started reading THE DESCENDANTS by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

I woke up at one a.m. with the sciatic nerve and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I read for awhile.  This is one of the last lines I read before going back to bed:  I have inheritance issues.


If I couldn’t go to the beach, what could I do to honor my mother’s birthday?

If my mother were alive, she would have gone to church.

I went to mass at St. Mary’s at 7:30 a.m.

I do not go to church.

I have walked by this church, a mere 4 blocks from my house, every single day for the last 6 years.  I have never once stepped foot inside.

The priest read from the Book of Isaiah.

He read, Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt.

He read, Break up for yourselves a new field.

I took communion.

I took notes.

I took communion even though I know I shouldn’t have.  I stood right up and got in line with everyone else.

When mass ended, the congregants sang my mother’s favorite song.  Seriously?


On the way out, a man handed me a flyer for an upcoming event.  The event will be held next month, on August 5th.

August 5th is my birthday.

25 thoughts on “Ave Maria

  1. ThreeKingsBooks

    Well, well, well. Messages aplenty.

    And not just for you.

    For me, too.

    I have a THING about Mary and the divine feminine. Your mother’s favorite song is also my favorite.

    My birthday is soon, and I’ll be sixty, which is considered a significant year in New Age circles; I am very close to Mother, and I’m grateful to receive her message through you.

    I wonder what She is telling YOU?

  2. Alecia

    Wow, thanks for sharing…God does not send coincidences. He sends messages in very creative forms. He knew he’d have to get verrry creative with you, honey!! Enjoy your day. Really hope to see you soon.

    1. Teri Post author

      Alecia!! I’ve been thinking about all of you guys so much lately, especially with Gene Patterson’s passing and Christina N.’s injury. I miss and love you all.

  3. lisahgolden

    I’d have to rest after all this. Well, I’d rest my body. My mind would be racing.

    Keep this. I don’t know the timeframe for your memoir, but just in case. Keep this.

    1. Teri Post author

      Funny how things work. How did I know St. Mary’s has mass every morning at 7:30 a.m.? Because I walk my dogs by that wooden sign every single day. When did I decide to go? At 7:15 a.m. I literally threw on my clothes and had to drive there, 4 blocks, to be on-time. Didn’t even brush my teeth first, that’s how fast it all came together.

      I didn’t sit in the back, either. I marched right up the middle aisle and sat in the center. My mother would have appreciated that.

  4. Downith

    Oh Teri. So much I can relate to here. Books speaking to us about the dead, signs from the universe, going to communion when we “shouldn’t”. (I’ve done that twice since my dad died) Signs from the universe. Hold all of it close.

    Hope the sciatic nerve calms down soon.

    1. Teri Post author

      It’s crazy, isn’t it?

      And on another very important subject, I promise to bring some sunshine with me next time I see you. I feel for you.

      1. Downith

        The weather here is quite simply NUTS. This is the worst summer EVER. (capitals completely justified!) I can’t wait to get to the cottage in Canada next month.

    1. Teri Post author

      Exactly. It’s interesting what we see when we bother to look. I’m not sure the guy sitting next to me in church appreciated my taking notes, though. Too bad!

  5. Susan Partlan (@susanpartlan)

    What a beautiful picture of your mother, and what a lovely story of coincidences and connections. Although I’m not particularly religious, I’m a spiritual person and do go to church (Episcopal) almost every Sunday. My husband and I sing in choir. Going week after week we tend to take it all for granted. Sometimes our minds wander during sermons and other parts of the liturgy. It’s always peaceful though and the view from the chancel seats is the best for watching young and old approach the altar for communion. Superior people watching (a phrase I borrowed from the blogger Faux Fuchsia). And there are days when we’re really present with the music and liturgy, the community, and those days make the overall effort to show up seem worthwhile.

    I think it’s great you took communion. Why not? It’s good for the soul.

    1. Teri Post author

      Susan, I am not a fan of organized religion and tend to find my god in nature. Hence, the plans for the beach. It was so odd to be in church. All the rituals and sayings come right back to you, no matter how many years you’re away from it.

      The sign of peace here was interesting. Instead of just shaking hands with the person closest to you, everybody waved around at everyone else and said “peace be with you” all over the place. It felt so much more genuine, and warmer.

      1. Susan Partlan (@susanpartlan)

        We pretty much feel the same way about organized religion. I only got attached to this church when chronic tendonitis ended my software engineering career and I needed to get involved in some kind of community. I’ve been a parishioner there for 16 years with many close friendships.

    1. Teri Post author

      Ha, Erika! I actually took JoJo to my friend’s house to get her in the water for the first time. But we’d barely gotten there when her dog jumped in the pool after a toy and JoJo wanted that same toy. Imagine! She dove in for it, and got quite a shock. Ended up at the bottom of the pool having no clue which way was up. It all happened so fast.

      Within 15 minutes you’d have never guessed this. She was swimming like a champ for the next 2 hours. She loved it.

  6. LauraMaylene

    I am so glad to hear JoJo is okay and swimming like a champ!

    I once knew a woman whose dog drowned. It happened while she was at work; her husband, who could not swim, called her in a panic. She ran home and dove right into the pond, but by then it was too late. That story has always haunted me. Sorry; I know that was an awful story, but as I said…haunting.

    Speaking of haunting: That photo of your mom is so, so beautiful.

    1. Teri Post author

      I can’t even imagine! I’m glad I was standing with my feet in the water already, on the first step of the pool, when it happened. I still had my clothes on over my suit, but jumped right in and grabbed her. It all happened in about 5 seconds. Crazy.

  7. Josephine

    isn’t it great when a song comes to you as a gift? tonight, we ate crab legs at a place where the locals eat. there was a guy playing lynyrd skynyrd and out of nowhere he started playing leonard cohen’s hallelujah which is on a constant loop in my head lately.


    i have found comfort in church at the most unlikely times–but not so much in the prayers or sermons or the songs. i find comfort in the ritual. the pageantry. the statues, the artwork.

    i went to grade school at st. mary’s of the knobs. my dad went there. his siblings. my cousins. i got married there.

    yesterday i was floating on my back and imagined my body looking like jesus on the cross without the cross. my arms out straight, my palms turned up, one foot over the top of the other. is that sacrilegious? i don’t mean to be. that’s the one statue i always had a problem with–all that pain and hurt and sadness and grief. and it’s all you can look at when you’re sitting in that pew, on your knees–supposedly trying to say our fathers and hail marys–all i can do is dart my eyes from jesus to the line of communion takers weaving their way back to their seat.

    i do love that picture.

    1. Teri Post author

      Crab legs at the beach! You are living the life, Josephine. Enjoy the rest of this fabulous vacation, floating and all.

  8. Princess Sisi

    A beautiful homage to your mother, Teri. It’s a big deal to do mass when you don’t do mass–all that Jesus’s suffering all around you.

    I am actually about to head to the beach, so I’ll say a little Hail Mary in honor of your mom.

    Be well!

    1. Teri Post author

      Loved your comment yesterday about writing copy. Ha! When are you coming home? Never?? Your trip sounds beyond fabulous.

  9. Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

    Have you seen the movie Jeff Who Lives at Home? Very quirky–I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone–but I enjoyed it. It’s all about signs though… and damn, I think you’re receiving a few.

    I was drinking a glass of wine in Venice last month when it dawned on me that it was Father’s Day. My dad’s been gone for 22 years. He was an Italian-American who loved his wine but never made it to Italy before he died at 53.

    I’d like to think he was watching me there, giving me a wink as he raised his glass. I raised mine back and blew him a kiss.

    I’ll bet your mother was right behind you in that communion line.

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