Imprint | Maya's Gifts


There are some memories that are so vivid, that as I replay each second, it seems to stretch out.  Each moment lasts hours.  I can feel see facial expressions, hear tones, embrace conversations, and have a sense of the feelings as if I am living them today.  In a way, I am.  The imprints are deep and are a part of me. 

This is how memories of Maya’s last week were for me.  It is also how the morning of her passing was.  As I slow down and relive them, I savor each memory, each moment in time.  My heart is shattered and full concurrently and tears have a life of their own as they roll.  The fullness comes from being in the moment; being in the memory as if it were now.  I experience the richness of that time with my daughter again in my heart-mind.  Living in the moment is how I wish to live.  This is how Maya lived.  Her life was always so full and in the moment.  She helped to teach me about this.  I continue to learn this lesson.

It’s a challenging time of year.  Many moments are dark.  Maya’s birthday, the holidays which are such a reflective time, the anniversary of her death and her Yahrzeit (which is today, this year).  At some point, what I think is a joke got introduced.  National Daughter’s Day appeared on the calendar.  It is really no joke at all, but a test, another test.  In the depth of the darkness, I swallow my own medicine.  I have no choice but to be in the darkness.  When I come up for air, with my head spinning, I feel a sense of wonder.  How can this be?  Not only how can it be that Maya is not with us.  How can it be that I am even here?  I recently shared with Mathew that it is truly remarkable that we are still here.  His response is that it is a miracle.

What is the gravity?  How is it possible to be here?

  • Knowing that I will get out of the darkness.  As much as I have times of getting slammed, I also know that there is fun to be had, dances to dance, mountains to climb, places to visit, social change to activate, experiences to share with others and life to live.
  • The voice inside that says, “I am not done, I’ve got more to do.”  I don’t have this one figured out.  I am doing my life and exploring at the same time.  What is my purpose?  I know this existential question is something we all ponder.  In moments like this, it feels magnified.
  • Loving connections.  My family.  My friends and the wider community.  You keep me here.  I believe that even when you think of me, I receive your loving energy. 

Thank you.

These photos were taken during my last weekend with Maya in September 2015. We had a Mother/ Daughter weekend. We scheduled it for the full moon on Cape Cod. Such cherished memories.


  • Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Elise. It is a challenge for all of us, at least the older ones like me, to know why we are here. Especially in these difficult times.

    Remembering Maya, and sending love,


    • I imagine this question has been with us all, since the beginning of time.

      Thank you for remembering Maya with me.


  • I read this and I am in awe of the love and the depth of despair and I am grateful that you are here even when it feels impossible. Sending you mountains of love.

  • Thank you for sharing, Elise. You teach us so much. It’s still so challenging for even me to process this loss. I send you and Mathew all the love.l ❤️ 💕 💗

    • I am with you Claire, regarding being so challenging. Five years and I still wonder, “how can this be?” I have a sense that we will always be processing this loss.

      Receiving your love and sending love, too.

  • Thinking of you today. Holding your family in my heart. I wish I had gotten to meet Maya. She is and exists in such radiance. Your writing is rare and true and helpful to others. You are beautiful, remarkable souls forever entwined.

    • Thank you, Elly.
      Thank you for naming that our souls are forever entwined.
      I feel that is so.
      Thank you again.

  • Elise, I have come to believe that our mission in this life is to learn to be full in the way you express it – filled with both the terrible wrenching feelings and the beautiful, loving ones. To hold them both at once until they merge in a balanced oneness, that is the lesson we are all here learning.

    Maya was a teacher and I think she knew this as she experienced everything fully, unreservedly. The pain of her passing is a teaching unto itself as we who remain learn to grapple with the beauty and the pain in one breath.

    You and Mathew get to be masters of this art of living, though I am sure it is not what you signed up for. It is indeed a miracle.

    Sending so very much love and perusing my own memories on this Yahrzeit.

    • Oh Bonnie,
      I cherish and value your words. They lift me up and ground me at the same time.
      I share your vision. We all have to navigate that balance.
      As words are flowing through my fingertips, I realize that I have to write more fully about this very vision another time. It is deep.
      Stay tuned.
      Sending love.

  • So beautiful, Elise. In the crucible of grief you have been forged into a thoughtful and eloquent writer and teacher. Your words are a gift to all of us . . .and yourself. I draw strength and hope and meaning from your writing. Thank you for sharing your story, your wisdom and insight, your beautiful photos – and most of all your beautiful daughter.

    crucible \KROO-suh-bul\ noun. 1 : a vessel in which metals or other substances are heated to a very high temperature or melted. 2 : a severe test. 3 : a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development.

    • Thank you Yael, especially for the definition of, “crucible”. It is a powerful word. I am carrying it.

  • Elise – I am so glad you’re here. Remember during those dark times you are loved and cherished by all of us. Thank you for your wisdom, your perseverance, your kindness & love.

    • Mary,
      I do feel your love. It will pop out in the Zinnias! I appreciate your kind words.
      Big hugs your way.

  • Thank you for sharing your feeling heart and memories. Sending you back warmth, comfort and love. Always here, just down the road.

    • I feel your warmth, comfort and love, Cynthia.
      I mean it when I say that this really helps.
      Deep gratitude and love your way.

  • So poignant. So real. So expressive. So exposed. So loving. You are very alive which includes the wide range of emotions. Gratitude for your gift of sharing. You write so beautifully.

    I love dearly, Cindy

    • Yes, Rabbi Jonathan!
      And Maya loved you, too. I trust she still does.
      I feel your embrace, Thank you.
      Sending love.

  • Reading this from you Elise in the darkness of this time – and my own personal confusion – feeling lightened – opened – connected to a bigger view – holding the sadness – thank you –

    • Dear Barbara,
      Thank you for naming your own personal confusion.
      I am with you. Connected in the mystery of it all. What a relief to feel lightened.
      Sending you love

  • Thank you for sharing your beautiful words, Elise. Holding you and Maya in my heart. I wish you peace, especially in these troubling times and I hope that the wonderful memories will continue to carry you forward. XO

  • So glad you are here Elise. I am inspired by you and always in awe. I appreciate your smile, your joy, your sadness and your tears. Holding space for your wholeness. Thank you for staying and for being my friend.

    • Thank you Lauren for naming it all, including my staying and sharing friendship.
      Sharing in the beauty of the lake surely feeds my wholeness.
      Yes, being in the beauty, wonder and awe. That is part of the gravity.

  • Elise, I am sending you so much love and ease. I have been thinking of you this week, holding you close. We hold it all, all the complexity, all the love.

    • Doree,
      Thank you for holding me close.
      I really do feel held and I know it helps, so thank you again!
      All of us holding it all…it is indeed remarkable.

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