Lynn sez…

A few months ago, Lynn asked me to post something on her behalf in my weblog. At that time, I told her sure. I wasn’t certain, however, why she didn’t post it on her CaringBridge site. I guess because it was political in nature–her rant, she called it. She probably wanted to keep the peaceful vibe flowing in that particular area of cyberspace.

A week after she mentioned it to me, she recanted. I never got a reason why. ‘Cause I thought it was great.

I was sifting through some of her files on the iMac, though, and I found it again. I loved it even more the second time I read it.

So, here it is, folks. My Lynnie, talking to you from the heart, sharing her wish for blessings and peace all the way from the great beyond. Enjoy…


Hi! Lynn here! I’ve wrestled Bill to the ground, tied him up (no! there’s nothing kinky going on here), and stolen his keyboard. Yup. I’ve hijacked his blog and I’m on my soap box. BEWARE! My passions have been unleashed and I have something to get off my chest.

Okay, first I have to start with a few confessions. Here they are:

1. I am a Christian.
I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe he was conceived of a virgin, I believe he healed people, I believe he died on the cross, and I believe he was the Son of God. The whole schmeer.

2. I am a liberal.
And getting more obnoxiously liberal every day. I believe in gun control, I believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion. I believe we should be protecting this Earth and it’s inhabitants who can’t speak for themselves in every way we can. Heck, I even believe in Gay marriage (more on that later).

3. I am a moral person.
I have a clear understanding of right and wrong. I lead a pretty clean life. I’m a person that believes in love and helping others and I work to do my very best to act on that belief.

So here’s my question:


I have visited yet another website where the choice for President Bush was stated as being the “moral choice.”

Confession #4: I voted for John Kerry and I see it as being a VERY moral choice.

So if the Republicans are so moral, can someone answer me a few questions?

1. What is so moral about Capital Punishment? A typical Republican stand and a stand taken by George W. The Ten Commandments say “Thou shalt not kill.” Period. It DOES NOT say “Thou shalt not kill unless a jury of the killer’s peers finds without a reasonable doubt that s/he is guilty.”

2. What is so moral about supporting the NRA? What is so moral about making certain that guns are as accessible as possible to our children so they can shoot one another? So if the Bible is the sole handbook on morals, where in the Bible did Christ say anything about the right to bear arms?

3. What is so moral about the war in Iraq? What is so moral about sending our bravest young men and women to kill and to be killed primarily on the basis that there were some supposed weapons of mass destruction that never materialized? Oh, and by the way, it was Osama Bin Laden that attacked us. Where’s he? And, I’m kind of guessing here, but I have the distinct impression that the people who are responsible for the 911 attacks think we are all immoral. Not just the gays and those who get abortions, etc. But YOU, the woman wearing pants. And YOU the man who allows her to do it. Remember the adorable dress you bought for your cousin’s wedding? The one that’s so modest with the hemline above the ankles, the crew neck and is not form fitting in any way? IMMORAL. Do you really want to start pointing fingers at what is moral and what is not? Just like they do? Just asking.

4. What is so moral about forcing a young pregnant woman to carry out a pregnancy and birth that might kill her? What is so moral about forcing the victim of a rape to carry on with the resulting pregnancy? Where in the Bible does Christ talk about abortion? I don’t know about you, but I believe that life begins when God grants a soul to the body. When does that happen? And last time I checked, my God was a God of free will—he gave us the ability to make choices for a reason. I believe that abortion is a deeply personal and excruciatingly difficult choice. And IF it is a sin against God, I figure that’s between God and the woman who chooses an abortion. It’s none of my business.

5. And on the subject of Gay marriage: Okay, here we have 2 people who wish to make a loving committed relationship to one another. Don’t you see some beauty in that? What? You would rather they sleep around with as many people as possible? Why can’t we just be happy that they have found love in their lives? And again, IF homosexuality is a sin against God, that’s up to God to make that judgment, not us humans. So for those of you who are pointing your finger at the gay community and screaming “sin,” you might want to think about using that finger to pull the plank out of your own eye. Just a suggestion mind you.

Just one more question: Do you believe abortion and homosexuality are a sin against God and therefore “wrong” because the church tells you they’re wrong? Because they point to scripture as evidence?

I’d like to remind you of one thing. A little over a hundred years ago the church used to teach that slavery was a mandate from God. They used scripture to justify slavery. Less than a hundred years ago, churches in the south taught that blacks were inferior to whites–all based on scripture. Many churches used to teach that rock music was evil and now use it in their own churches. Let’s face it folks, sometimes the Church is out and out WRONG! And that’s coming from a church going woman. I love my church dearly—they are my family. They are incredibly giving and loving people. But the day I give up my ability to question and challenge church leadership and teachings is the day I give up my God given ability to change the world to a more loving, sharing, caring, inclusive place that rejoices over our differences.

You know, I have a feeling that our enemies would LOVE for us to argue amongst ourselves and throw blame at each other—a house divided cannot stand. They would love for our house to fall. But when we are united in LOVE and RESPECT for one another and each other’s CHOICES, whether or not we would make those choices for ourselves, that’s when we are at our strongest and most moral place.

So, I’ve said my piece. Now here’s the disclaimer: This is just my opinion. And who am I? What do I know? Take it or leave it. I am certainly NOT the expert on morals. I just felt it was time I exercise my right to free speech and ask some questions. It’s the American way.

Wow. Thanks. I feel much better now.


These words seem even more poignant and pertinent today, as some (in my mind) very misguided individuals seek to unnecessarily prolong a young Florida woman’s suffering against her will. And all in the name of “morality” and “faith”.

As someone who has recently been in the position to make some very difficult decisions that could have had an impact on the amount of additional time my wife would spend on this earth. As someone who had the conversations that Terry and Michael apparently had. As someone who was forced to interpret, to the best of his ability, the wishes of the person who was not only the love of his life, but his legally wed spouse, her ultimate wishes in the face of uncertainty. I get it. Why don’t other folks?

It’s not a political issue. It’s not a faith or a church issue. It’s not right versus left. It’s not moral versus immoral. It’s not “pro-life” versus “pro-choice”.

It’s a man trying to fulfill the final wishes of his wife. And for those who still want to bring “faith” into it, I’ve been desperately trying to find the Bible verse, but I can’t. It is, however, the one that refers to a woman leaving her parents to live in her husband’s house. For those people who are trying to cling to some notion that the answer to this question can be found in that man-made contraption we call religion, doesn’t that say it all? Forget about any other argument. Mrs. Shiavo left her parents’ house. She became a family with her husband. Cut and dried. And within the sanctity that is the union that God supposedly commands us that “no man should put usunder,” they made a decision.

And no one–not the President, not Congress, not the courts, not even her parents have the right to intervene. I mean, I feel for her mom and dad. I really do–I just watched my wife’s mom lose her baby girl. I can’t fathom the pain, I can only empathize. But I can’t agree with their position.

And as far as our President goes, I believe he has enough on his plate (after all, it’s “hard” to be President, right?) without heaping one more unnecessary sidedish on the pile. And besides, considering his sketchy history, isn’t it a bit disingenous for him to be staking any moral high ground with respect to his comments that he would “err on the side of life?” Tell that to the thousands of people who have given their lives in the name of your selfish and insane personal crusade. Doesn’t the old saying go, “people in glass houses…”?

And, oh yeah…don’t we live in the age of the healthcare directive, which gives folks the option to live and die how they see fit–INCLUDING the right do say no to forced feedings if they can no longer care for themselves? Okay. Maybe Terry didn’t have a documented directive. The bottom line, though, is that we live in a world where we have evolved enough to recognize (and be receptive to the notion) that a person has the right to make that kind of choice for himself or herself, without the government or anyone else meddling in that person’s personal business. And, it goes without saying that I believe the person who is appropriately privvy and proxy when it comes to executing that person’s wishes is that person’s spouse. CERTAINLY not that person’s parents.

But enough of that. I also know that–just as the Bible talks about he seasons of change–there is a time to let go. Now is not the time to divide. Now is the time to come together. Now is the time to accept. Now is the time to heal. Now is the time to celebrate Terry’s life and let her go out in style.

Please don’t let her legacy be a bitter and divisive one. For that does her the worst kind of injustice. Therein is the real cruelty against her. And that, my friends, is, in my book, TRUE-ly immoral.

God bless my wife. Thank you, sweetie, for finally unleashing my inner rant. Love ya.

And, oh yeah…

Cool thing is that Lynn got to know this before she left us.

You’da never guessed she was even sick when I told her about Tribeca. She launched out of her chair and threw her arms around me.

“I’m so proud of you, sweetie! That’s wonderful! It’s all coming together!”

She just beamed. For a moment, she was light as a feather.

And that paled by comparison to when, upon the conclusion of this year’s Oscars telecast, I got to tell her the producers, Al and David, are dedicating the movie to her.

Way cool…

Chapter One

Here’s the problem. I sit here, and my head’s a jumble of things I want to say. When it gets right down to it, though, when I try to make my fingers move, suddenly all the words scatter to the winds.

I guess what I can say is this: we’re back.

I’ve told several people over the past few days, I haven’t made many great decisions in my life. Deciding to take my kids on a little vacation to Orlando, Florida a couple of days after their mom’s funeral, however, was definitely one of them. The sun and the water and the anonymity—spiced with liberal amounts of Mickey Mouse and a dash of Universal Studios—was just what the doctor ordered.

Of course, like all things that end well, it didn’t start out that way.

When we landed in Orlando, it was anything but paradise. 45 degrees—a scant five degrees warmer than Minnesota the day before we left! And then there was the rain.

Beat, beat, beat went the windshield wipers as we groped our way through the town, searching for our resort. The map, courtesy of the rental car company, left much to be desired. Or perhaps it was just the town. In the end, we were never quite sure why (and quite surprised that) both the roads and the maps of the Orlando area sucked as badly as they did.

Finally, as I took a swipe at the fog on the glass in front of me (one of those odd times when you needed the blower going to keep the fog off the windshield, but it consequently made things ungodly hot in the car, so you decide the fog is the lesser of two evils), I caught a glimpse of the resort entrance.

Uh…this doesn’t quite seem right, I thought.

Here we were, smack dab in the middle of the town of Kissimmee, which I can only (and charitably) describe as the armpit of the Orlando area. The traffic was fast and rowdy. Most owners of the nearby structures all seemed to be vying for some prize in the “who can have the most paint peeling off the sides of my building” contest. Yet, here it was—the resort that Travelocity assured me was going to provide my family the comfort and rest we so desperately needed and deserved.

I looked at Syd and Zach. They were trying to put a brave face on, but I could tell. Nothing about this time so far in Orlando was what they were hoping for. And though I tried to cheer them up by cracking silly jokes about the town and the rain and the gray gloom that engulfed us, I thought, who the hell could blame them for being disappointed? Crap, I was just proud of them that they were trying their best to keep a stiff upper lip about the whole mess.

Well, the gate, at least, didn’t look completely uninviting. So, I flipped on my turn signal, avoided an accident with some low-rider that decided to cut in front of me, and headed in.

The kids waited in the car while I went inside (nice enough place, I thought as I glanced around the lobby) to see about our room. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon.

“Sorry, Mr. True,” the girl at the front desk told me. “Your check in isn’t until four P.M. I can get you checked in, but your room isn’t, like, ready yet.”

Next thing I know, I launched myself over the counter and throttled her. Another reception girl and the desk manager tried to pull me off, tried to pry my cold, steel fingers off the girl’s throat, but—

Psych! Just kidding.

That’s merely what I WANTED to do at the moment. What I really did was…

I took a deep breath.

“Oh. Huh. Well, I guess we have a little time to burn then.”

“Uh…yeah,” she came back with. “If you give me your cell number, though, I can call you as soon as your room is ready. Would that work?”

Now I was sorry I ever wanted to kill her. Suddenly, I wanted to lean over and kiss her. The first positive sign since we’d arrived in the state.

“That would be terrific,” I told her as I jotted my number on a pad.

I gave the kids my little “good news, bad news” spiel upon returning to the car. By now, though, nothing could faze them. They simply nodded, their eyes blank and tired. We decided to kill time by having a nice sit-down lunch and making a stop at Le Target Boutique for a few provisions. And so we were off again.

“Well, look at it this way,” I said as we haltingly made our way down the street. “At least no one knows who we are here. Not a single soul here wants to give us a hug, and absolutely no one wants to tell us how sorry they are for our loss.”

Suddenly, a collective sigh of relief.

Then, in unison from both kids: “No kidding!”

“If I had to get a hug from one more person, I was going to go ballistic,” I said.

Sydney started to laugh. “Oh, my god! Me, too.”

“I mean, I appreciated people’s love and concern…a lot!”

“Yeah,” agreed Sydney.

“It gets to be too much,” Zach chimed in.

“Yeah,” Sydney agreed again.

And then, all of a sudden, it dawned on me. I looked in the rearview mirror, making eye contact with Zach.

“It’s like we were in the ZOMBIES!!! game.”

He thought about it for a second or two. Then he smiled wide. He got the joke.

“Oh, my gosh! Yeah. Except instead of trying to get to the helicopter pad, we were trying to get to the airport!”

“Yeah! But surrounding us, blocking our way to the plane..!”

“FUNERAL ZOMBIES!” Zach cried.

I extended my arms our in front of me, steering with my elbows. My eyes went dead. I summoned my best zombie voice.


The kids laughed. Real laughter. Finally.

Sydney stretched out her arms and chimed in, “Sympatheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..!”

And we all busted a gut. That is until I almost got us in a wreck with some grandpa in a Town Car. The spirit in the car, however, would not be dampened. We laughed all the way to Red Lobster.

I didn’t catch the call from the girl at the resort, but we decided to beat it back there around three o’clock just in case our room was ready.

When we arrived back at the place, and were pleasantly surprised. The place didn’t look half bad. The good vibe from the car ride and the lunch continued. And when we returned to the office, it was all “I just called you, Mr. True! Glad you got the message.”

She was so proud of herself, I didn’t have the heart to tell her I hadn’t gotten it (nor did I know yet I even HAD it).

“Thanks,” I said, still feeling bad I once wanted to choke the life outta her.

That feeling changed slightly, though, when she sent me over this other chick who was supposed to “orient me” with respect to facilities.

Her K-Mart business suit and permanent “fuck me” curls told me everything I needed to know about her. All she was missing was the chewing gum. Someone in management must have given her crap about that, so she kept it under her desktop for safe keeping till she went home every night.

For, though her supposed function was to “orient” me, what she really wanted to do was to sell me a timeshare. So, that’s what the catch was, eh? Lure you in with a decent price on a week’s rental, and then wham! Suddenly, you’re caught in their snare.

I trudged over to her desk. For me, at least, the mood was definitely broken. I braced myself.

I sat down, and it was all pleasantries and B.S. Immediately, she wanted to know what attractions we planned to visit because “if we attended a complimentary breakfast about vacation ownership, we could be eligible for a number of valuable discounts” and yada, yada, yada…

“Uh…I don’t know. We were kind of just going to…wing it.”

She stared at me like I was from Uranus. She opened up a file cabinet and started grabbing out papers. She was nonchalant, on autopilot.

“So…” she said, barely looking up to acknowledge the kids. “Where’s Mom?”

I stopped cold in my tracks. My eyes…I can’t imagine what she must have thought when, after hearing no response, she looked up and saw my eyes. Like saucers, I’m sure.

I faltered. I struggled, utterly shocked, with what to say.

I mean, I wasn’t offended. It was, simply, the last question I expected her to ask. And the whole allure of the place for us was that NO ONE knew what was going on! God, I asked in a silent prayer, please don’t let the condolence zombies invade this place. Please keep them away…for my kids. For me.

Ultimately, I decided that the best course of action was to tell her the truth. Heck, if anything, it would teach her to not ask stupid questions when a guy and his kids show up alone in their lobby (for all she knew, I had just gotten over a bitter divorce or something! How would I react then? In Syd’s words, it would be all, “What now?!?” Pull you head out of your ass, deary).

“Ummm…” started, trying to maintain an even tone. “She…died last week.”

Now it was her turn to do the eyes thing. To say she got it like a ton of bricks falling on her head is an understatement. To say she was suddenly falling all over herself in apology is an understatement. To say she learned her lesson, I also hope, is an understatement.

“I…uh… I am sooooo sorry. I-“

Now I felt bad for feeling ill will toward her. Her eyes welled up. She was—perhaps for the first time ever on this job—fully present and in the moment. We were beyond the cheap suit and the curls and the sales pitch. Suddenly, we were just two people trying to get through the moment with a shred of dignity.

And I felt her pain.

“It’s okay,” I said in an assuring voice. Then I lied…for her sake. “It was a reasonable question.”

She let out a big breath and went limp, deflated.

“I guess I’ll…be more careful about…”

I just smiled.

Then she looked at my kids. Really looked, for the first time.

“You’re children…how old?”

“Sixteen and eleven.”

“How are they doing?”

“Everyone’s doing well. The funeral was Monday. And this is our healing time.”

She nodded. “Absolutely.”

And then she surprised me. Here was this…cardboard cutout of a person. But she looked at me again, and that was gone. Now she was a fathomless sea of feeling and empathy. Stripped of her artifice (and my reaction to it), she was an open book. I could read her past. I could see her soul. And I liked her immediately.

“Your children are beautiful,” she said to me. Plain and simple, no artificial flavors or colors.

I smiled. Plain and simple.


Then I winked at her.

“And we’re not here to forget about her, but we’d like to not draw attention to it, either. We’re here to have fun. Can you help us with that?”

She got back to business. Yet, now it was anything but business as usual.

“You bet I can.”

The rain, of course, wouldn’t let up for the rest of the day. We got in our room, loaded up with brochures and coupons from our friend in the lobby. It was pretty nice, we thought. And if the rest of the joint was as nice as the room (it was impossible to judge in the downpour), we’d be just fine.

That night, we baked up a couple of pizzas, popped popcorn, and re-enacted our miraculous escape care of the ZOMBIES!!! game I’d packed. Predictably, Zach got to the helicopter first, while Syd and I were wandering around the town trying to even FIND zombies to slay.

And though there were laughs, we all felt it. Like a crater, an unnatural void chunked out of the earth. No…like one of your limbs amputated, but you can still feel it. Phantom feeling, I believe they call it.

Something was missing. There was supposed to be another piece—a fourth—on the board. And another cup, and another hand in the popcorn bowl. And there was supposed to be more laughter, courtesy of our Lynnie’s amazing hee-haw guffaw.

But what else could we do, but keep heading for the helicopter, right? Get out of town, and get on with the next chapter. And live our lives.

It’s all we could do. And it’s what she wanted. To do anything else, we all knew, was to dishonor her memory and to disrespect ourselves.

So…as the game progressed, we began to fill in the awkward silences where Lynn’s dialogue was once inserted. A few times we even gave them voice in her honor. Or we improvised, trying to write some new lines for ourselves. After awhile, it got a little easier.

When it was finally time to go to bed, the kids lay down without event. In five minutes, Zach was sawing logs like a champ.

I dreaded climbing into bed alone. Again, though, I told myself, what else can I do?

“It is what it is,” Lynn said to me, though it was my voice in the room. I smiled a little, and somewhere, with my mind’s eye, I saw her smile back, encouraging, loving.

And so I got under the covers.

As I lay there staring at the ceiling, Sydney padded into the room and slipped in beside me.

“What’s up, kiddo?” I whispered, removing my headphones and turning off my iPod.

My baby girl cuddled up against me, holding on for dear life.

“I was doing…okay, I guess. And lunch and the game were both fun. But…”

“It’s not the same, is it?”

She held on even tighter.

“I really miss her.”

Now it was my turn to hold on. Brace myself, really, because it wouldn’t do for me to completely break down at this particular moment. I blinked away tears and coughed, masking the sob that had caught in my throat.

“I know. I do, too.”

“And with this rain,” she continued. “And the cold, and everything. It’s kind of…depressing, you know? And I was just laying there in my bed and missing Mom, and wondering whether this whole vacation thing was a good idea after all.”

Silence. What could I do but agree?

Finally, I said, “Tell you what. Let’s see how tomorrow goes. It it’s still raining and yucky, we’ll see how we feel. If it’s not looking good, we can always either head home…or—we have this car—we can head somewhere else. Maybe Miami…or the Keys.”


“You bet. This is our time, kiddo,” I told her, not really knowing how I was going to pay for a week in Miami or the Keys, but meaning every word of it. “We get to do whatever we want to do. Whatever helps the healing.”

She relaxed. Then she hugged me again.

“Thanks, Daddy.”

“But…make a deal?”


“If we wake up tomorrow and it’s nice and sunny, we take that as a sign. It’s a message from Mamma that we made the right decision, and she wants us to have a blast here.”

She didn’t miss a beat.


I squeezed her back.

“Okay. Now let’s get some shut-eye.”

And that’s how we fell asleep.

We awoke the next morning to sunshine streaming through the blinds. We threw open the curtains and bid salutations to the best, most perfect and cloudless day we three had ever met.

Thus began Book Two of the True Family Chronicles.


If you’re still reading, thanks for bearing with me. Hell, if I get this longwinded when I DON’T know what to write..!

Anyway, I want to say thank you to everyone who made this trip possible. You know who you are. We love you.

My Girl…

1963 – 2005

Please celebrate with us. Our angel has flown to Heaven.

We love you, sweetie. We’ll miss you.

We’ll see you again someday.
We’ve been home for a couple of hours now. What can I say?

Lynn’s passing was just like her: beautiful, celebratory, classy. It may seem strange, but upon reflection, I can honestly say I had fun. Yes, there were plenty of tears. Not as many, though, as one would expect. Instead, the day was filled with plenty of laughter and awesome stories and reflections about my girl. It was loud and boisterous and touching and poignant.

And I think she enjoyed it. My husband Spidey sense was going off big time, and I could tell that, even though she really couldn’t respond, she was having a good time. Then, about 8:00-ish, when she was ready to quiet down, she let me know that, too. And so…we quieted down.

And we snuggled a little. And we talked. And then around midnight, I had to catch at least a little shut-eye. Her mom and her sister were resting, sleeping with their heads on Lynn’s hospital bed, and I went out into the waiting room to lie down. And about an hour later, our sweet angel gently slipped out the door and hitched a ride on a moonbeam. So like her.

We’re doing okay. The kids are well–in a good space. They got a chance to say good-bye to Mom, and Mom to them. And I got a chance to give my beautiful wife the end she so deserved.

I got home, and Zach was asleep. I’m not going to wake him. He knows it was going to happen tonight, so let him rest.

Syd was awake, though, and we had a good moment. She cried, as I did, but in the end we both agreed that now it’s time for the healing to begin. And so it shall.

Please keep posted to this page for details regarding Lynn’s funeral services, and other related things. In the meantime, hug your families tight to your breast. Love them as we’ve loved our mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend.

Goodnight, sweet darling. Enjoy the loving embrace of those whom you love that passed before you. Say hello to my Grandpa True for me, and tell him I love him. Be comforted, gently cradled in the arms of our Lord. You have earned a well-deserved rest.

I leave you now with these exquisite words from Sarah McLachlan. I played this song over and over again in the car on the way home from the hospital earlier. And I cried. And I remembered. And I smiled. It really says it all…

If it takes my whole life

I won’t break, I won’t bend

It will all be worth it

Worth it in the end

‘Cause I can only tell you what I know

That I need you in my life

And when the stars have all burned out

You’ll still be burning so bright


Cast me gently

Into morning

For the night has been unkind