What have I stopped apologizing for?

Hmm. Everything comes to mind. At 63, I have been through more than my fair share of tragedy. However, I have come to realize that I have learned a hell of a lot through some tragic losses (Father’s suicide, brother’s suicide, 25 year old son’s death ).

I believe they are part of my soul’s contract. I also am starting to see how the sharing of my experiences helps not only me but others. That feels good. Win/Win. I’m happy with who I am; I have the confidence that I have the strength to deal with almost anything. That doesn’t mean I don’t get depressed, feel afraid, feel empty, ache with missing physical beings, need help; it simply means that I know I can and will find the energy to find the love, the joy, the beauty in this gift of life. My family, writing, photography, the outdoors and my motorcycle, Stormy, are key ingredients to my knowing.

I speak freely of my memories, thoughts, of my dead son. I have noticed that sometimes people that don’t know me very well are uncomfortable with that. They don’t know how to reply. They misunderstand my intent. I am not looking for sympathy; I am including my son in my life – forever. I know he is still with us. I talk freely about other members of my family, why would I exclude Tommy because he is dead? I use to apologize for making them feel uncomfortable. Now, instead of apologizing, I explain, educate, use humor, to help them find their words or their silence. I encourage others to share their losses, their grief. I share the signs that make me sure he is here, and there. The April before his death in June, my son sent me the following in an e-mail. I read it at his funeral. I share it here unapologetically. How fucking blessed I am to have had 25 years with this amazing soul?

“ Hey mom,
I’m curious to see pictures of us when you came to visit. Do you think you could send them to me?
I wanna go back to Joshua Tree. But for this I’ll have to go much further. Alone with a backpack. I need to meet people, live within their cultures. I need to start a whole new adventure; a new perspective.

Even before the reason of our most recent reunion I’ve felt I was missing or not understanding something greater. Greater than an apartment…..a car….greater even than what I realize to be my life. It’s not a bad life, a gift I wish not to waste. It is mine to grow, learn from, allow forgiveness; mine to love.

I’m writing you this not from a mental state that suits me ill but rather a state of clarity and expansion.
Honestly this letter spawned from a query of pictures. Don’t know why but I kept writing. I suppose I wanted you to know its message and meaning. Maybe I write you this in the fact that you are probably the only one I can say this to. The truest recipient.

Or maybe its me trying to encapsulate all those missed ‘I love you’s’ into an I love you that isn’t said habitually or forcibly.

Least this once you know my words are the truest of sentiments.

I love you, Tom”


Marjorie uses both photography, and writing to heal herself. She has added motorcycle riding to that mix. Her work has been published, won awards, and resides in both public, and private collections.

She is currently writing a book about her solo cross country motorcycle trip to honor her son, who was killed while riding his motorcycle, by a driver that didn’t see him. She hopes to encourage, and to inspire others to see motorcycling, and the natural world as the powerful healing tools they are, especially for grief, and depression.

You can read more at www.tomsmomsride.com