Thursday, December 8, 2016

A reminder... and a good one!

My friend Joanne, a friend from childhood posted a little reminder the other day on Facebook. Jo's brother Mark, (aka Mini Mark, aka Max, Maxie, depending on which part of his life you knew him from) passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. I'm paraphrasing but it goes something like this....

 "If you know someone who has lost a loved one or  very important person in their life, and you're afraid to mention it because you think you may make the person sad by reminding them of that person... you are not reminding them... they have not forgotten, they will never forget. What you are reminding them of when you mention them, is that you remembered that the person lived... and that is truly a great gift."

I might add to that,  there it is never a bad time to let someone know that you did not know that their person had died, or that you have not seen me to let me know how sorry you are at the loss of my husband,( father, friend, mother, brother, sister, grandparent...  whom ever).  Or you just didn't know what to say at the time... there is NEVER a bad time to let the surviving loved ones know you are missing, thinking, sending love. 

And may I also add,  for me, personally, don't feel bad if you did not know of Ted's death and you ask me how Ted is doing... I know it's an awkward thing, I have had to respond to this remark more times than I have ever thought possible, and the person who asks ALWAYS feels so awful. Please don't, I know you asked, because you knew and loved Ted, ( or me or Zaz or T-Moe) so I'm sorry that you didnt know and that I am just letting you know now. And when I get teary, well, I think I always will, and I'm not speaking for Jo here, but my guess is that she does too. You  don't ever get over the loss, how could you possibly get over the life of someone you loved so very much. You do move forward, you do enjoy your life,  as they enjoyed theirs. You honor their spirit, and memories. And you share stories, so they are always present. I NEVER, EVER get tired of hearing a Ted story, or a story about my Dad, or my  Mom, my Nana's & Pop-pop, Uncle Sonny, Aunt Marie & Aunt Terri, Uncle Alvin, and my sweet  friends Michael and Michelle, NEVER! So share, remember, and keep their memories in your heart.

As I head into the Christmas and New Year... I am always reminded of Ted's LOVE of a good party. So we PARTY! Our traditional X-Mas Eve Open House has continued in true Hellier form, and it is a beautiful reminder of a life lived fully.
May your holiday season be JOYFUL and FULL of LOVE, HOPE and HAPPINESS...

Friday, November 25, 2016

Giving Thanks

I think this one of my favorite holidays! No gifts, no candy, no other focus besides being thankful for the wonderful things in  life. Although I have always been grateful for things in my life, I believe in my youth I was not as reflective or appreciative. As I celebrate my 56th Thanksgiving, I am extremely grateful for so many things...but mostly for all of you... each day, I  count myself so lucky  that I am blessed with an abundance of beautiful people in my life who lift, strengthen, encourage, share wisdom, kindness and love. And for that I am so very grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 7, 2016

happy 27

These are a couple of my favorite wedding pics of me and Ted.. we had THE BEST wedding. So fun, surrounded by all of our friends and family.  A weekend long affair. I often can't remember the exact date 10/6 or 7 (7 it is!) I wore Joanies dress, (boy was my mom tiny!) And we had our wedding rings made with the gold from my dad's wedding band... it was special.
After Ted died I wore his wedding band around my neck with one of my favorire neckalces that he gave me. It gave me comfort and I felt him close to me. On my recent trip to France, Teds ring was lost to me. The chain broke somewhere on our adventure to an outdoor market.  I was devastated at first, I have not been without it since 6/17/2013, but then after shedding some (many)  tears, I was ok. I think it was a sign from my boy. Time to move forward... and although I am not there, he wants me to know that it's time. I have always said when I can take my rings off, I will be ready... mine are still on...he's just giving me the OK for when I am ready. I will forever  love him and I miss him dearly. When I look at these pics, I see us so young and in love. I am happy to say that when Ted passsed away 4 months before our 25th wedding anniversary, we loved each other even more than we did in these sweet pics. I have been blessed in love and am so grateful for our 27 years together. I wouldn't trade them for anything. Some folks never get to know this kind of love and I am so greatful we found each other. We had a good life, we share amazing children, an awesome family and a tribe of wonderful friends. And although I will not get to grow old with Ted, I will grow old with memories of a wonderful life shared. So tonight I will raise a glass ( probably a green Heinie) to all our happy days!

Thursday, October 6, 2016


 I seem to have an obsession with doors and windows. Beautiful, colorful,  passageways. And their meaning for me... what lies beyond, a passageway from one place to another, beginnings, endings, openings and closings. 

I have just returned from an amazing yoga retreat in Provence, France with my dear friend Therese, and a posse of fabulous women. I was lucky to be included among this group of funny, fun, strong, talented ladies. We covered some french ground, Saint Remy, Baux, Aix, Mallemort,  Salon de Provence, Lourmarin, so many sweet villages, so many beautiful doors and windows. But the best part of this week for me were the moments unexpected. The first leg of our journey and laughs in the lounge (who knew making a margarita was so complex). The hot drive from the airport and arriving in Mallemort. Settling into our respective "Gites" in this adorable little village. The many cats! The hill to our Gite... never NOT winded! "Would you rather?" OMG how have I not ever played this game in all my 56 years? So damn funny, especially with the Martin women. Getting lost on a nighttime walk back to our house. And signs from Ted, which brings me back to the door /window meanings. 

 Below is a photo of our pad for the was awesome! Behind the little white shutter is my room.

After meeting our wonderfully delightful hosts... Armelle and Magalie, we headed to Villa Grenedine... Magalie's Villa at the base of the village for a yummy welcome reception. After much wine and getting aquainted, we walked back to our little homes, the first of many hikes that week. 

Our first day ( as every day)  began with yoga @7:45. before yoga  a bowl full of coffee, seriously a BOWL of coffee...heavenly for me! After yoga... an amazing breakfast filled with french things, croissants, baguettes, figs, jams, madeleines, fruit, yogurt... so many tasty french things. 

Each day we headed out on a new adventure, planned by the lovely Laurence King, yoga instructer magnifique! On the advice of my oh so wise daughter I did not research anything on the itenery... so happy I took her advice, as each day was an awesome surprise. It began with the amazingly moving and beautiful Chagall illumination at LesCarrieres de Lunieres ( but if you plan to ever go...don't look... I did not it was a total surprise, and I have to say it was a religious experience for me. )  walking and shopping in Aix, a french cooking class at Villa Genedine with the lovely Cecile, Sight seeing in St Remy, Hammam... a Morracan Spa in Salon... so fun, and the yummy meal after in the cutest little restaurant. Shopping at the outdoor market in Lourmain and a wine tasting and picnic at Chateau Bas, a vineyard and Roman ruin, where I spread a little of Ted. A perfect end to a most lovely week in Provence. There were so many  signs from Ted. during this trip. Lots of heart sightings, rainbows and well, just lots of things, letting us know he was present! Miss that man, he would have loved Provence, he totally dug old things! 

If you ever find yourseld in Provence and need a place to stay I highly recommend Villa Grenadine, in Mallemort ( you can find it on air B&B and here and Maison du Peintre also in Mallemort ( and our Gite Chez le Peintre   ( ) Beautiful Village, amazing hosts and oh so fun! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Ted's Cove

I so often write here of my feelings and life without Ted.  My hope is never to make anyone feel sorry for me or my family but to put my feelings down so I can try to make sense of the grief and move forward thru this thing called life . I try to make sense of it all in the best way I know how. I have shared my sorrow and pain. So today I wanted to share a little magic.
 On September 16, 2016, 2 days after Teds birthday, (1 day after his fake internet birthday) and 5 years after he began work on our cottage on Barters Island,  I spent my first weekend there in the company of some of my favorite women. I planned on scattering a little of Ted in our cove... his favorite place to chuck a line, watch our children swim, mud or just sit and drink a cold Heinie.  And this happened... we walked to the cove on a beautiful full moon lit night at low tide and we saw this! A heart a big beautiful heart. We have been hanging at this cove for 17 years now, and never have I ever seen a heart at low tide. So my dear friend ( and Ted's favorite) Margaret beautifully poured Ted into the hearts center. And as we stood on the rocks  admiring the moon and its reflection in the heart with Teds ashes... an amazing, most brilliant shooting star flew over our heads. I have never seen one so large, and so close... we could see the red and blue tail... it was just magical. Ted and I spoke often of him giving me a sign that he was around.. I took the heart as that sign, but the star... nice touch Teddy! Large in life... large in after life... I am so very happy that he is in his special place and that some of his favorites girls were there to see him.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Happy 61 Cappy

Today would be Teds 61st birthday. I miss celebrating birthdays with Ted. Boy did my  man love a party. I wish  that he was here for us to make a fuss over. And sad that our kids  won't be starting this day with the customary "happy birthday old man". I so miss those days.

I know I have said it before, but I find myself extremely emotional before life events, Ted's birthday being a biggie. I know I am supposed to move on, and I am moving in that direction. It seems like an eternity since I have been able to talk to him and see his face, and then again it feels like yesterday we were sitting, enjoying a cold heinie after a long day of work. I still think about Ted daily... truly, not a day in the past 3 years has passed without thoughts of Ted. My head knows the reality, my heart is hard to convince. It's wierd how 2 parts of the same body can be so disagreeable. But I'm ok, I'm alright, just missing him. So many changes in the past years, and so many decisions. I miss having my mate there to help make them. I miss his laugter. I miss his making diffucult situations bearable, and I miss his calm easy way. I felt I was a better me with Ted and I miss that. I will settle knowing that I am the person I am today because of  who we were together. We were lucky... So Happy Birthday Baby, I've got you on my mind, and always in my heart.

Friday, June 17, 2016


1095... that is how many days it has been since Ted has been pain free and physically gone from our lives. Physically I say,  because I can see and feel his presence all around. In our home (s)  in a song or a moment. I see him in T-Moe, the same chin, voice, and now that T-Moe is working "on the truck" he dresses like his dad... sometimes I look at him and an emotional wave of love, sorrow and gratitude wash over me at once. And Eliza, Eliza has her dads eyes... those blue, sometimes greenish eyes, that change hue with the degree of green or blue she is wearing. I look into them and am so happy to see his eyes! I know he was at T-Moe's first college lacrosse game, and I know he was at Eliza's last. I felt him at her senior thesis show, and her graduation.  I see him on the South Portland Lacrosse field. This years freshman, for Ted were "the class to watch".  He bragged about this class, (since they were 7 years old) as  being amazingly talented athletes and great team players, He couldn't wait to watch them play HS ball. I was able to attend few games, but I have a feeling he has been at all of them. He is here, and although I am grateful for the feelings, I still miss his physical being, his silly Tedisums, his ...Hi Cappy, Hey Bubba, ...What up Sweetie, ya know just the way Ted greeted folks, easy and genuine. I miss that.  It seems impossible to me that it has been 3 years, 3 years! The memories of him so, fresh and right there. June is an emotional month... Flag day, today, and this year,  the selling of his beautiful house. Yet with all the emotion, it feels right and part of the plan, but it is  still oh so bitter sweet, so much emotion tied to it all for me.  So on that note before I begin sobbing again... I will leave you with  these images of the things Ted loved most... His family,  building the beautiful Hawthorne Lane house, The "other woman" (we called her Casey, damn he loved that digger!),  and of course Lacrosse. I miss you my dear, you are always in my heart.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I miss your hands

I dont know if it's because It's Eliza's senior year in College, and he missed 3 years of her playing lacrosse, or that he's missing her senior fashion show, or her graduation.  Maybe it is because he missed T-Moes freshman year on and off  the field, and T-Moe missed his "Ted" words of wisdom. Or maybe because the HS Boy Lacrosse season has begun, and Ted's favorite group of youth players took the field as Freshman. ( he always bragged about how great this class was going to be) Maybe it's because I am renovating another home,( that our tennants left  in unspeakable condition) or that I am selling this beautiful home that Ted built, ( and the kids & I worked by his side to make his dream a reality) Perhaps it is because I will be renting his "Kingdom" in Boothbay for the first time. Whatever the reason I am missing my man lots these days. Perhaps its a spring thing,  the anniversary of him leaving us is on the horizon. (Flag day his favoite holiday, he loved it so much, he chose that weekend to go) ) All I know is that I find my eyes are wet alot, and memories flow thru uncontrollably.

Every day I miss him, I think of him, and so often I wish he were still here. I miss his laugh, I miss his smile, I miss his arms, around me holding me, his hands, his strong hands, his strength. I miss him being able to fix EVERYTHING. I miss designing things with him and him bulilding them perfectly as we imagined. I miss his voice. I guess I just miss him. End of story. With each year I  have hope that the pain will lessen, but it does not. I truly thought with time the my broken heart would mend. But not so. My guess is that this hole, this Ted place  will always be here, no scar, no bandage, just a gaping void in my heart where Ted  lived, and his memories live. Maybe it's really not a hole at all, but a chamber, a TEd chamber, that will always be there. I think I like that.  It does not affect my day to day function, and I dont think of him every waking moment, but when I least expect it... there is a thing, a moment, a song, a phrase, a season, whatever... he is there. I can physically feel his presence.  I am happy to have him with me. I am just sad that he is not physically with us all.  And I guess I will always feel that way.  So keep coming Ted, I welcome your presence and just wish I could grab your hand.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

It's true

By Bob Dylan
I've seen love go by my door 
It's never been this close before 
Never been so easy or so slow 
Been shooting in the dark too long 
When something's not right it's wrong 
You're gonna make me lonesome when you go 

Dragon clouds so high above 
I've only known careless love, 
It's always hit me from below. 
This time around it's more correct 
Right on target, so direct, 
You're gonna make me lonesome when you go 

Purple clover, Queen Anne lace, 
Crimson hair across your face, 
You could make me cry if you don't know. 
Can't remember what I was thinkin' of 
You might be spoilin' me too much, love, 
You're gonna make me lonesome when you go 

Flowers on the hillside, bloomin' crazy, 
Crickets talkin' back and forth in rhyme, 
Blue river runnin' slow and lazy, 
I could stay with you forever 
And never realize the time. 

Situations have ended sad, 
Relationships have all been bad. 
Mine've been like Verlaine's and Rimbaud. 
But there's no way I can compare 
All those scenes to this affair, 
You're gonna make me lonesome when you go 

You're gonna make me wonder what I'm doing, 
Staying far behind without you. 
You're gonna make me wonder what I'm saying, 
You're gonna make me give myself a good talking to. 

I'll look for you in old Honolulu, 
San Francisco and Ashtabula, 
You're gonna have to leave me now, I know. 
But I'll see you in the sky above, 
In the tall grass, in the ones I love, 
You're gonna make me lonesome when you go.

this version by Shawn Colvin, hits me hard.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


LOVE: It anchors me,  I do love, love.. everything about it the highs the lows the pleasure and the pain the good, the bad the exhausting.  I am sad for those who have never been in love, or loved anyone so completely and unconditionally or have been loved completely and unconditionally. I have been lucky enough to have experiened a bounty of love in my life. I came from a very large loving Italian family... I am forever grateful for all the love in our home growing up. My parents and 3 brothers taught me tolerance, acceptance, compassion, passion, humor, sarcasm, how to  nurture,  how to argue and make up and how to love... I learned love out of the gate. It was not perfection by any means, there were many arguements and disagreements with my 3 brothers and both my parents, but always there was love. We were a family that said I love you, but more importantly, we showed each other love.

 THE LOVE OF MY LIFE: I met and married the love of my life, the best husband and father ever. I never expected him. Marriage is hard work, we worked hard at our marriage, but there was always love, strong and unwavering. When we took our vows, I dont think we ever imagined we would have to honor all of them at such a young age, but we did...better,  worse, sickness, health and until death do us part.  But our 27  years together,  joyful, and full of love. Ted would always say  "I'm a lucky man" and I would smile. I was lucky too, he just said it to anyone who would listen!  I was the quiet one, everyone knew my heart. I would not  trade in a a second of our time together, as hard and difficult as some times were... the love, the LOVE was HUGE,  palpable,  you could feel it in a room. Such love I truly never imagined. I thank Ted for letting me know love like that.

OUR CHILDREN: The all encompasing love for my children. I never knew love like this existed  until I had Eliza. Both Ted and I were amazed how much we loved this little nugget. A feeling I never felt before... I LOVED Ted and he me, but this love... this love blew our minds! Then our second miracle... T-Moe. I truly was so worried that I would not have enough love... I could not imagine how I coud love someone as much as I did Eliza, but the heart,  the heart it is an amazing organ, the heart can hold so much love. Not a day of their lives goes by that I take them for granted, these gifts of love. They are a constant source of  joy, laughter, worry, pride and happiness and my LOVE for them is the unyielding and unconditional. These two occupy all of my heart and soul.

MY SISTERS- IN- LAW: The very best! I have been so blessed in this catagory. They love my crazy ass brothers, which makes me so happy. They have  created amazing families, and they complete the circle (for now... until our kiddos open that circle and add their loves) They are kind, smart, sweet, caring and loving women. I am happy to call them my sisters and friends. These ladies occupy a special part of my heart.

MY NIECES AND NEPHEWS: Oh how totally different these 7 young people are from each other,  I wouldnt have it any other way. Each their own unique, funny, silly, crazy, hipster, nerdy, athletic, artistic, musical, groovy, kind, empathetic. I love each one of them unconditionally. Another piece of my heart that beams with joy and is  full.

MY GRANDPARENTS: Mi Famila...I grew up with a grandparent always around. My grandmothers could not be more diffierent. Nana Betty, warm, nurturing and huggy. we would spend long hours  together talking or just sitting close not saying a word. Nana  Edna quiet, not so touchy feely, but showed love thru teaching. She taught me to sew and love of all things fiber from her. My Pop-pop a cranky cantankerous guy, but thoughtful and showed love in his own way. I never questioned it.  He would take us to boxing matches and conventions. (odd I know) And though I hated the boxing... the memories are hysterical! Same with convention trips to Atlantic City... lawless! ( though I'm pretty sure he was cluless) And then there is the fruit. My Pop-pop always brought me fruit, figs, chineese apples, jersey peaches. I think I once mentioned how much I liked them, and he never forgot.  To this day I cannot eat a fig without thinking of him and smiling. The  Grandparent compartment of my heart, full and full of warm lovely memories.

AUNTS, UNCLES AND COUSINS: We grew up seeing each other on a bit of  a regular basis. Then as life happened it became less and less. But those bonds, those genetic bonds bind us together. I Love them. We can be thrown into a room having not seen each other for years and it just flows,  catching up, meeting children, sharing life... not something you do with strangers, nope that talk is saved for cousins and aunts and uncles. And although some of my aunts and uncles have passed on I think of them often and with much love and I cherish their memories. And those that are still here I am blessed to have them in my life. Conversations with my aunts and uncles are always a welcomed treat and heart warming. That space in my heart for Mi Famila... special and always room for more.

FRIENDS: My friends, where would one be without their tribe? Friends from elementary school, Jr High School, High School, College, adult life and life shared with Ted.  I sometimes feel that I have an embarrassment of riches in this area. So many great loving, caring, kind, compassionate, giving, empathetic, funny, fun, talented, smart, witty friends. Thank You! I love you more than you know. You have carried me, lightened me, included me, guided me, supported me, helped me,  checked in on me and I am always so filled with love for you all. My continue to fill my heart, and my heart continues to  grow, Thank You!

So there it is all my LOVES. Happy Valentines to all the people I have loved and continue to love. You continue to amaze me and expand my heart. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE You!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Grow old with me...will never be.

Ted Hellier...
 used to make fun of me when this song came on  and I would get teary.
Now when I hear this song I still get teary but for different reasons.  I see older couples and I get all emotional, oh how I will soooo miss growing old with that man.
If you have not head this song by John Lennon, give it a listen, it is the sweetest. my favorite version is Mary Chapin Carpenters.

Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be
When our time has come
We will be as one
God bless our love
God bless our love 

Grow old along with me
Two branches of one tree
Face the setting sun
When the day is done
God bless our love
God bless our love

Spending our lives together
Man and wife together
World without end
World without end 

Grow old along with me
Whatever fate decrees
We will see it through
For our love is true
God bless our love
God bless our love

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016...Wishing you More

A fresh new year. As always it compels me to reflect on the year that has just zoomed by and think about what awaits in the 2016 wishes are many...

I will start with Peace... More Peace...I am always astounded when I read of acts of terror, senseless shootings and crimes against humanity. I am deeply saddened and wonder how we as a society arrived at this place. How can an evolved group of beings continue to repeat historically bad choices?
I shake my head and pray that we have taught our children well and they stand up, speak up, show up,  show compassion and help move our world in a peaceful, kind, giving direction. I wish for More Peace.

Love...More Love...there can never be enough. Love the one you are with, love each other, that's the way love Is , love is the drug, love hurts, love is a many splendored thing, love somebody, true love, miracle of love, sea of love, puppy love, everybody loves somebody, what the world needs now is love, dedicated to the one I love, sunshine of your love, put a little love in your heart, where is the love, power of love, love train, give me love (give me peace on earth), love hurts, rollercoaster of love, let your love flow, keep it comin' love, love is the answer, crazy little thing called love, do you believe in love , love is a battlefield, the power of love, glory of love, higher love, big love, love shack , sending all my love, love is a wonderful thing, now that we found love, one love. We need more love in this world.

More Give...Give a little get a lot. It really takes just a small act to make a huge difference. If we all gave just a little of it time, money, clothing, food, talent, so many would receive and
those in need would be lifted. When Ted was sick we were given so very much,  from friends, neighbors, starngers. I can tell you that on some of the darkest days, sad days it lifted my family in ways I never thought possible. Everyone needs a little lift now and then. I am a fan of More Give

More Together... spending more time with the ones you love, the ones you like, or  with those you would like to know. Life is too short to neglect the fundamental act of enjoying each others company. Make time,  do it... spend more time together. You won't be sorry.

More Joy... look around and see the little miracles in the every day, recognize the joy. So many things can bring joy...nature, art, a good joke, a compliment, complimenting someone else,  good company, good food, you get me...see the joy, be the joy,  make more JOY.  I have never heard anyone say I am tired of being Joyful!

More Yes.. try it, say yes more. To last minute plans, to something out of your comfort zone, to your child... Yes is so much better than no! I like YES!

More Happy...I want everyone to have more Happy in their lives... I know there is sad and anger and grief, and hard and routine, and lonely. Sometimes life gets ugly, I hope everyone can find the happy through those moments. Find your happy.  I wish everyone  MORE HAPPY!

To a happy,  healthy 2016...I wish you MORE!