To See the Stars Behind the Sun


Monday Morning Musings:


“To see the stars behind the sun. . .

Somewhen a boy is counting stars.

Somewhen a man is photographing light.

Somewhen his finger strokes the stubble on another’s cheek,

and for a moment everything is relative.”

From Neil Gaiman, “In Transit (for Arthur Eddington)”


Some of you know the news already that my mother died early Saturday morning, but this is my official WordPress announcement.

She had been in a nursing home, and she died of Covid 19-related complications. Yes, this is real, and I can’t tell you how angry I am at the people who are not taking this seriously, including the horror in the White House or his enablers. Given the current circumstances, we were unable to be with her, and we do not when we will have any type of memorial service for her.

Friday I went into a flurry of comfort cooking and baking. We visited with our daughters virtually, as we’ve been doing recently on Friday nights.

That night, I dreamt several times of people waving goodbye. Each time, I woke up after the dream with the image lingering in my head. Then early in the morning, my sister called with the news. For a long time, my sisters and I have called each other, saying quickly, “No one has died.” She told me this time it wasn’t one of those calls because my mom had died.


My parents were married to and divorced from each other twice, but he was the love of her life, and I think she was of his, too. Towards her end, she remembered only the good times, and she thought my father lived in the same nursing home. He’s been dead for over twenty years.


On Sunday morning, I went for a long walk. At the river, I cried, threw a stone into the water, and said goodbye to my mother, as I watched the ripples on the surface and watched the river flow.


Delaware River, West Deptford, NJ April 2020


Two stars in orbit—

causing time and space to shift


in tumbling waves

the universe ripples,


stops, frozen–


a moment caught,

a family vacation,

you laughing,

heels kicking in the air

as you fling yourself across a motel bed

young and beautiful




learning a new dance with a girlfriend,

or meeting a young man at a party–

he runs after you

to get your phone number

traveling in the wrong direction–

or the right one


to somewhere


you see the stars behind the sun.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


51 thoughts on “To See the Stars Behind the Sun

  1. Merril, I am so so sorry to hear this. It’s even worse because nobody can follow the instinct to draw together and seek comfort at the moment. Your poem is such a moving tribute, your pictures are so full of love and life and joy. Sending love and strength.

    • Thank you so much, Sarah. ❤️I appreciate that. It’s been rough. I was thinking a few days ago that my daughter in Massachusetts would be making arrangements to come here, and then I remembered that she wouldn’t be.

  2. ❤ The stars are there, shining on you. So much love Merril. So much. I can only send virtual hugs and love from here, but you are in my thoughts, you and yours.

  3. Being the loving daughter that you are, I wouldn’t have excepted anything less of you, Merril. This is an absolutely beautiful tribute to your mother and the full life she lived. I loved all of the older photos as well as the slideshow. Praying for you and your family. ❤

  4. I am glad you are musing, Merril. It helps to write when you are a writer. And, of course, you wrote beautifully. Your love shines through the pictures and your words. The circumstances make this sad event all the more difficult for every reason and I am sorry for that. Too many people I know are going through this.
    Just know there is love being sent your way from up here. xoxo

  5. Yours is a moving tribute to your mother, Merril, and your photos show the deep connection that make it possible.
    This is the worst of separations in a time of separation. My thoughts are with you.

  6. Like casting that stone into the moving currents of the river, there will be innumerable “memorial services” over coming years. Death is a transition that takes time for the ones still breathing, still grieving. May your heart acknowledge justified anger at circumstances and yet be at peace with your mother’s new freedom.
    This post is a beautiful tribute to your mother, to your family’s togetherness. Wonderful photos! Loving words.

  7. Such a beautiful tribute to your mother, Merril. She was a beautiful woman! Her artistic sense must have inspired you and your artistic nature. You really captured her as a person with a full life here, and not only an elderly person defined by her tragic death. Sending love your way.

    • Thank you very much, Luanne. That is exactly what I was trying to do–show the breadth of her life.
      I certainly didn’t get the visual art gene, but daughters did, especially my older daughter.

  8. A beautiful tribute to a beautiful person, Merril!
    I am so sorry for your loss. Your poem is beyond touching, and I am in tears.
    Here I am, trying to put on a happy face during this horrid event, and my smile is suddenly gone.
    You are the first I know who has suffered the death of a loved one from the beast.
    Sending love, and hugs and hopes for your pain to ease. – Resa

  9. I don’t know why I feel so sad but I do. In your posts your mother has had a vibrant presence in her old age and in her earlier life. The intervention of COVID-19 in the lives of the aged is tragic for everyone…another layer on the pain of endings. Thank you for your openness Merril and I send wishes for comfort to you and your family.

  10. The loss of your mother at any age and under any circumstances is always so very painful, but I can’t begin to imagine your sorrow associated with the loss of yours. I feel your anger…and your sadness tonight. Please know that my wife and I will be thinking of you and your family in the coming days. Your strength to rise up will sustain you.

  11. I’m so sad, Merril. I also felt your inner release, maybe of the pain. . .holding on to the memories shining bright as stars behind the sun. The special idea that two souls who loved each other may touch each other in a warm embrace.
    Those photos show the immense love and peace found in your mother’s presence. Thank you for sharing in your Monday’s musings. Hugs sent. We believe falling stars are my Dad “rearranging the stars.” The weatherman today (4/21/20) says tonight’s sky will have falling stars. . . 🌠🌠

  12. You honor her, Merril – and in these days, having honor is a beacon against the dark emanating from our erstwhile ‘leaders’. ~

  13. I thought I commented on this, but it appears I didn’t. What a wonderful tribute to your mother. I wish you peace, and the strength you’ll need. Hugs.

  14. Merril, I am so incredibly sorry about you loss and especially the circumstancing surrounding it. I feel like I’ve gotten to know you and your wonderful family over the years, and I know how close you all are and how much love you share. (And I 100% agree with your thoughts on the people who aren’t taking it seriously as well as the one[s] in the White House.) Please accept my deepest sympathies and a huge heartfelt hug. If we lived close, know that I’d be baking you tons of casseroles and such right now. xoxo ❤

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