Last night I went with a friend and her seven-year-old daughter to see the Pixar movie “Up.” I thought “Ah, what better than a nice, animated children’s comedy to finish off the week!” Turns out, it wasn’t quite the pick-me-up I was looking for. The previews are quite funny and bill the movie as documenting an grumpy old man’s haphazard adventure with an accidental friend when he floats his house off the ground into the big blue yonder by inflating a bazillion of colorful balloons. Now, I won’t spoil the movie for you (it’s a Pixar film – not much to spoil, really) but the previews only told part of the story. The story is actually about a once very happy man who loses his wife to illness and then spends the rest of his days coping with her loss, ultimately deciding to pursue their mutual lifelong dream as a final tribute to her. Oh, man. And it hammered the point home all the way though the movie. Gawd. Continue reading Tough Time, Cont’d
Today marks three weeks since I, or rather, we lost my sweet Maggie. It’s been a tough day for me, definitely the toughest in a while by far. It feels like I’m peeling an onion of emotion, one layer at a time. With each successive layer, the deeper the pain and, presumably, the longer it will take to work through it. Today I think maybe for the first time, or at least the most intensely, I felt the thick and sticky permanence of her absence. Continue reading Tough Day
An article in the Waco Tribune mentioned Maggie yesterday.
EDIT: The article was taken down from the Tribune web site along with all the comments so I’ve removed the link. I’ve posted the article in its entirety here. Hopefully the Tribune won’t get mad.
Memorials in Waco: Finding new ways to honor those lost
Waco Tribune-Herald (TX) – Sunday, May 24, 2009
Author: Carl Hoover Tribune-Herald entertainment editor
Friends and family of Baylor Law School graduate Maggie Weaver knew they couldn’t replace her dazzling, trademark smile after her death this month from colon cancer, but they could provide something living and beautiful in her memory: a tree.
A magnolia tree, at her request, informally called the Maggie Tree.
They’re raising money to plant one in memory of the 33-year-old Austin attorney and ’07 Baylor Law grad, among other unnamed magnolias standing between the Baylor Law School and the Mayborn Museum Complex’s Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village.
Memorial Day, to be celebrated Monday, traditionally is dedicated to remembering American servicemen and women who died for their country. A look around Waco, however, finds a lot of remembering of loved ones and influential persons going on every day, with their names attached to buildings, streets, statues, memorials, scholarships, trees and even animals.
How do we remember those who’ve touched us and our community?
The Maggie Tree, it turns out, has lots of company.
Of the 900 to 1,000 named streets in Waco, roughly one-third carry a family surname or first name, though only a few name an individual outright, like J.J. Flewellen Street, Jack Kultgen Freeway, the George W. Bush Memorial Parkway or Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
New streets are usually named when land development plats are submitted to the city’s planning department and planning commission for approval, with final approval coming with the city council. City planning director Bill Falco said suggested names are checked to avoid sound-alikes with existing streets and lengthy names, in part to minimize potential problems in emergency situations requiring calls to 9-1-1.
Someone wishing to rename a street must apply through the planning department, which sends notices to residents on the street in question about the possible name change. City council members have the final approval, he said.
Heritage Square in downtown Waco lives up to its title with names of the city’s leaders, educators, businessmen and women and more engraved into its bricks, pavers and fountains.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the west bank of Lake Brazos carries the names of 64 McLennan County soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. A half-mile away, a black marble monument features the names of those who died in the 1953 Waco tornado.
Red granite lamp posts dot the Baylor University campus in memory of Baylor students killed in action during World War II and subsequent American wars. Some posts bear commemorative plaques with the name of a deceased veteran or honored loved one.
The most famous statue of an individual in Waco sits on the Baylor University campus: Judge R.E.B. Baylor, the campus’s namesake, whose bronze likeness at Founders Mall has posed for cameras with generations of students. The university also has a bronze statue of Baylor President Rufus C. Burleson, who stands on the Quadrangle bearing his name.
In 2007, Baylor added a bronze memorial to the Immortal Ten, the 10 Baylor students killed in a 1927 bus-train collision on their way to a Baylor game in Austin. The Bruce Greene work is located in Traditions Square.
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum also has a bronze statue honor- ing an individual: Texas Ranger and early Waco surveyor Major George Erath, while a bust of famous Waco baritone Jules Bledsoe is exhibited in the Waco Hippodrome Theatre foyer.
Several Waco city buildings and facilities carry the name of civic leaders or notable citizens: The Miller-Bledsoe Recreation Center, named after World War II hero Doris Miller and singer Jules Bledsoe; the Oscar DuConge Pool, named for Waco’s first black mayor; R.B. Hoover Library, named for longtime library supporter and board member Brad Hoover; and the Dr. Mae Jackson Development Center, named for former Waco mayor and city Councilwoman Mae Jackson, who died suddenly in 2005.
Buildings are named or renamed by city council action.
Waco Independent School District campuses A.J. Moore Academy, J.H. Hines Elementary School and G.W. Carver honor leading black educators in their names, while Cesar Chavez Middle School honors the Mexican-American labor and civil-rights activist. The WISD school board has the final say in naming the district’s buildings.
Federal buildings, too, can be renamed in honor of an individual. The downtown Clay Avenue Post Office was renamed the Army Pfc. Juan Alonso Covarrubias Post Office Building, after a Waco Army paratrooper and Bronze Star recipient killed in action in South Vietnam in 1969. Congressman Chet Edwards, D-Waco, authored the House bill renaming the post office.
Of the 105 buildings and facilities on the official Baylor University campus map, 46 bear a donor’s or honoree’s name, including Floyd Casey Stadium and the Ferrell Center.
Baylor’s Division of University Development handles naming requests, with campus buildings, classrooms, laboratories, endowed scholarships and faculty positions available to donors for naming. The Board of Regents, however, must approve any naming of new and existing buildings, said Jill Scoggins, assistant vice president for media communications.
McLennan Community College’s campus has buildings named after former presidents Wilbur Ball and Dennis Michaelis, but those contributing more than 50 percent of a new or rehabilitated building’s cost can name that structure, said Harry Harelik, executive director of the McLennan Community College Foundation.
Texas State Technical College regents earlier this year renamed the college’s Aerospace Center after Dr. Roy Dugger, TSTC’s first president. Other named campus buildings include the John B. Connally Technology Center, the Kultgen Automotive Center and the Murray Watson Jr. Student Recreation Center. Among the college’s naming opportunities are classrooms for $25,000 and buildings for $2 million gifts, said Eliska Flores, TSTC associate vice chancellor for marketing and communications.
In a city with more than 25,000 students enrolled in university, college and post-high school technical training, scholarships offer plenty of memorial opportunities.
Baylor annually awards more than $25 million in scholarships, and endowing a scholarship starts at $25,000, handled through the Division of University Development.
TSTC doesn’t have a minimum amount required for scholarship donations but offers endowed Regents Circle scholarships.
At McLennan Community College, it costs $15,000 to name an endowed scholarship and $25,000 for a Presidential Scholarship, although smaller donations in memory of a person are accepted and acknowledged in MCC Foundation newsletters and reports, the MCC Foundation’s Harelik said. The college awards around 300 endowed scholarships each year, and about 80 percent of those are named for someone, he said.
Harelik, the son of a well-known Waco clothing businessman, added he and family members had set up a scholarship in his father’s name that funds an annual fashion merchandising trip to New York City for an MCC student.
“I can’t think of anything that would make Dad happier, knowing he’s helping someone continue in his business,” he said.
The Cameron Park Zoo’s male lion, Sam Jack, carries the name of the late Waco City Councilman Sam Jack McGlasson, said Johnny Binder, the zoo’s general curator.
“He was such a good friend to the zoo,” Binder said of McGlasson, whose widow, Liz, gave a major gift to the creation of the African lion exhibit.
Acquired as a cub in 1998, Sam Jack is a second-generation lion from Kruger National Park in South Africa and represents one of the major wild-lion bloodlines used in zoo breeding programs.
The zoo also has two otters called Doris and Jack, named for zoo supporters Doris and Jack Silver, whose family members contributed to the construction of the otter exhibit, Binder said.
Maggie’s absence sits like a bitter, crumbling pill in the back of my throat, refusing to dislodge despite ample flushing with alcohol and tears.* As days pass, the crispness of my memories of my sweet love are beginning to fade, turning instead to fuzzy approximations. That which once was just a glance away I now have to pull from my mind and each time, less detail emerges. Meanwhile, as if to salt my wound, various legal barriers are complicating my attempts at getting her accounts “in order.” Continue reading Healing
With little doubt in my mind, Maggie has sent me a message. It’s an “I Love You!” from beyond, or rather maybe a “You can do this!” along with a “You have such an exciting life yet to come!” I can even hear her voice when I read the words. I’m smiling through my tears. Continue reading Maggie Kisses
It’s been nearly two weeks now since It happened. It feels like it was so long ago and yet like it was yesterday. Two distinct pains fight for my attention. The sharpest pain comes from the memory of the last two weeks of Maggie’s life, watching her suffer through miserable circumstances. More specifically, the last two days drive burning stakes through my heart. It takes but a brief reflection on those days – the look in her eyes, the wordless touches, the weakening of her body, the helplessness I felt, the way her body shook with each breath – those memories yank tears from my eyes. The other pain, that of her absence, is less sharp but I feel it will be with me much, much longer. But that pain is familiar in many ways because for at least the last year, a little bit at time, I have been practicing losing her. Continue reading Two Kinds of Pain
It’s hard to get out of bed in the morning. Mornings used to be a favorite time of ours. She’d wake up with a smile and spring out of bed, pestering me with some master plan for the day’s activities. We’d shower together and discuss her plan and how I fit in (or didn’t!) Then, I’d watch her prance from bathroom to closet to bedroom to kitchen, like a beautiful, untamed mare always at a trot. It was a sight to behold. Easy on the eyes, ears, head and heart. Continue reading Hard Mornings
Without fanfare, it has begun. A process just months ago I could not have fathomed. Just a short three years ago were you to tell me what I know today I may have punched you in the jaw. But, today, something I never wanted since the day she and I met, today it started. I have begun to erase Maggie from my life. Continue reading Walked Through Fire
They came to get her pain pump yesterday. With it, they took a bag I put together full of other various items we’ve been using daily since November of last year: tubes, saline flushes, heparin flushes, bandages, medicine packs of fentanyl, alcohol wipes, UV brown plastic bags. None of it belonged here and now it’s all gone. When he came, the pickup guy was a little uncomfortable but I wasn’t. I even took one last look at that little machine, held its familiar weight in my hand and felt… nothing. So, out it goes. Continue reading Pain Pump is Gone
Evidence I’m Ok:
- I’ve laughed.
- I’ve cried openly.
- I’ve been spending time with friends and family.
- I’ve gone to two movies (Wolverine and Star Trek – both great!)
- I’ve cracked jokes, even inappropriate death jokes (which really are the funniest)
- I’ve drank a lot of beer.
- I haven’t killed <fill in the blank from the following list: myself, someone trying to cheer me up, someone not trying to cheer me up, the happy cashier at the local grocery, someone trying to ask me cancer/death advice, someone trying to give me death advice, my dogs, my spirit>
- I’ve been thinking about my future.
Evidence I’m Not Ok:
- I cry often.
- Sometimes I don’t cry and wonder why not.
- I drink a lot of beer.
- I sleep on Maggie’s side of the bed.
- I keep smelling Maggie’s old clothes.
- Nothing tastes as good as it used to.
- I wear her wedding ring.
- I carry her driver’s license in my pocket.
- I sometimes hear her voice.
- I keeping thinking she’ll call me.