Tuesday, March 9

I miss my mommy. I helped Noah with his scheduling for classes next year. Or I should say I "tried" to help him. Dad was here. We were both at a loss on how to help him choose. He seems so angry. At his teachers.... At me....  I just wish she was here to talk to him. She had a connection with him. One I don't have.

It is Haven's birthday today. We all went to dinner at a Japanese steak house that she loves. There was such a hole missing. It was incomplete. I so wanted to make her 11th year special, but the cloud lingering was overwhelming.

I can't seem to let Romi out of my sight. I told Alan the other night that I "think" it is because I took care of my moms needs for so long because I saw her as "helpless" that maybe this is now what I am projecting upon Romi. I just want her near me all the time.

My mom was my best friend. My teacher, my confidant, my moral compass. I miss her with a passion that is insurmountable.

I thank everyone that came to her wake. I thank everyone that came to her mass and heard Father Barry call for her postmortem miracles to be seen. I thank Daphne who opened her home to our family. I thank you all for reading her blog and remembering her tonight.


Sunday, March 7

Mom and Aaron's show at the Martin de Porres Center

Art Exhibit

"Circles, Spirals and Reptiles:
Images of Universal Connection"

Exhibit open March 12 – April 26
Reception April 25, 2010, 2:00 – 4:00 PM

Fiber art by grandmother and grandson,
Mary Ann Titus and Aaron Collet

Click here for more details.

Friday, March 5

Mom's Wake

I wish I had some awesome words to say here, but I am just drained.

We had over 400 people come to pay their respects to Mom today.  Teachers, past principals, friends, family....  We took turns spreading rose petals across Mom's body. Her artwork hung beside her. Our family pictures displayed on a slide show surrounded by candles.  It was an amazing send off to a cool ass chick.

Tomorrow will be harder I think if that is even possible.  Our own personal saint will be laid to rest right in the middle between the chapel and the bell tower.  Mom will love it. She is smack dab in the middle of all the action. The sun will rise behind the cross to her right and set behind the cross to her left.



We are looking forward to being with you, Jim, Julie and Rick later today and tomorrow.  It is a wonderful feeling to be a part of your extended family.

I wanted to share some of my thoughts, some of how I saw your Mom.  She was indeed a wonderful and strong woman.  I was lucky to count her as a family member and a friend.  She always encourage me to continue to write, but it I still have to fight through writers block. 

I hope the comments have some meaning to you, Julie, Rick and Jim.  We love you.

Uncle Dick

It takes a lot of different words to describe MaryAnn. 
I first met MaryAnn about 42 years ago after she became engaged to Jim.  A couple of years after she and Jim were married, Jim's sister Susan and I were married.
Teacher, wife, musician, daughter-in-law, sister –in-law, mother, poet, grandmother, artist, and caring friend are all roles I saw MaryAnn take on over time.  She had the incredible ability to meet people where they were.  She listened with a caring heart.  She was able to get others who might not otherwise engage in conversation to engage.  And, it seemed to me that she could be involved in conversations on almost any topic.
Although she met people where they were, she seldom left them in the same place.  She seemed to move them on to a different place, as far as I could see on to a better place in how they felt about themselves.
She enjoyed games.  I watched her compete in card games … pinochle and cribbage come to mind.  I watched her play games with her grandchildren, and then saw her watch her grandchildren playing their games, creating their own stories.  When I played in any game with her, she most always included laughter in the competition.  She was willing to adventure to Indiana with Jim, Susan and me to give a casino a try.  None of us broke the bank, but we did laugh.
I always enjoyed hearing Mary Ann talk about being a teacher.  I was always impressed that she strove more to educate, teaching the students how to use their mind, how to develop their thought processes and the joy of learning; rather than to train, teaching them how to do something.  Based on MaryAnn's multiple skills, I am confident the students also learned how to do, but with a much deeper sense of why what they were doing was important and maybe even fun. 
"Attitudes are more important than facts."  This quote from Karl Menninger might be one way to describe MaryAnn as a teacher as well as in many of her other roles.
I saw MaryAnn interface with Jim's parents, her own children, her grandchildren, my wife, and our three daughters.  Interface is not a good enough word; I think connect would be more accurate and descriptive word.  Her ability to connect, aided her most recent journey through hospitals and nursing homes.  She always made sure she knew the names of those helping her; made sure she knew their stories, and related those stories to others.
For me, I had the good fortune of not only having face-to-face conversations with Mary Ann, but exchanging many E-mails with her, discussing a wide range of topics.  Always she encouraged expansion of my thought.  She read and responded with thought, challenging me to consider other views.  Sometimes I almost felt creative.
She encouraged my reading of books that I would never have considered reading.  Because she was so well read, identifying a book that seemed to touch a particular topic or aspect of something going on in my life seemed to be easy for me.  For example, Crossing the Unknown Sea by David Whyte.  This spoke to his movement from a marine biologist to a poet in a way that allowed the reader to think through their own transitional opportunities.  For me, looking at taking early retirement was the approaching transition.  Another, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  She encouraged me to try to recognize and develop my creative side that perhaps she saw, but I did not.  I'm still working on that one MaryAnn.
A quote mentioned in The Artist's Way that seems appropriate.
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!  Live the life you've imagined.  As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler."  - Henry David Thoreau
This seems to fit MaryAnn in many ways.  One word stands out to me right now … Imagine.  MaryAnn had the ability to imagine and see so many possibilities.  She had the strength to pursue those dreams.  She had the strength to encourage others to imagine what they could do; to see what they were already doing that was good.  MaryAnn painted the word "Imagine" on the walls of the lower level of Jim and her home.  I can only imagine the place where MaryAnn now resides.  But I can know with almost certainty that she is continuing to "imagine" bringing life and spirit to that place.
Another book we shared was Life Is For Loving It! by a local Cincinnati writer, Leland Davis.  MaryAnn loved life.  And, I for one am better for it.  Thank you MaryAnn for being one of the blessings in my life. 
Thank you Jim, Julie, Rick and Jennie for sharing MaryAnn with so many others.

Thursday, March 4

And another niece, Sara

The thing I love and remember most about Aunt MaryAnn was her genuine interest in people.  The Titus house became a home away from home for me during college.  I didn't visit as often as I would have liked-- even though it was a short drive (or some days a walk) away from Otterbein's campus-- but any time I came for a visit, Aunt MaryAnn dropped everything else and we would just talk.  She was always interested in what was going on in my life and supportive of everything, from music making to becoming vegetarian.  During my sophomore year when I was going through a rough spot, she offered to take me to her yoga class with her.  After class she asked how I was feeling.  "A little like I might puke," I said.  "Yes," she said in her infinite wisdom, "that just means you're purging your emotions.  It was a good class."  She was absolutely right.  I still do yoga when I get a chance and even teach it in my choir and dance classes as a stress management and relaxation tool.  My students love it.  It keeps me grounded.  Aunt MaryAnn was a great listener and a great teacher in so many ways.  She had an amazing way of making you feel important by just listening and sharing.  She had a calming, healing, graceful, and honest presence like no one I've met, and I feel so blessed to have had her in my life.  You brought a lot of beauty to this world, Aunt MaryAnn, and you will be missed greatly.  Thank you for everything! 

With love,

From her niece, Christen

My Memories of Aunt MaryAnn . . .
I do not know where to begin because Aunt MaryAnn had such an impact on my life.  She is just an extraordinary woman with so many talents.  To begin, she and your dad became a second family to me when I moved to Otterbein to go to school.  They would invite me over for dinners and Aunt MaryAnn and I would talk about teaching.  It was only my freshman year but she and I would have some of the best conversations.  She was so willing to help me learn the craft of teaching.  When I was not taking classes or doing observations through Otterbein, Aunt MaryAnn would always invite me to come to her classroom to observe and help out.  What a classroom it was to observe, to this day I still try to be as amazing as she was in the classroom.  She had so many great ideas, so many ways to teach all the different students within her classroom.  Her patience with children is to be commended and was awe inspiring. I enjoyed every minute that I could spend in her classroom watching her teach!
Throughout my 4 years at Otterbein there were many visits, there were even a few times she would help me with my class work.  Over those 4 years I learned so much about being such a wonderful teacher from her.  But most of all I was blessed that at the end of my senior year that Aunt MaryAnn and Uncle Jim took me into their home to live for about 2 months.  Those were my favorite 2 months because we ate dinner together and got to talk so much.  She was helping me with applications and interviews for teaching and giving me as much guidance as she possibly could.  Once I graduated she even hosted my graduation party!
At the beginning of September 2000 I was finally called by Westerville Schools and offered a job.  One of the first people I called was Aunt MaryAnn.  I was so excited to finally have a job and I was going to be a teacher.  I only taught afternoon Kindergarten my first year so I would sub in the mornings.  Aunt MaryAnn always used to request me as a sub when she only had to be out in the mornings.  My first year of teaching was an interesting year and she would always ask me how things were going and I would always seek advice from her.  She was one of the most knowledgeable teachers I have ever known.

Wednesday, March 3

Holy Cow!

Dad is trying new things.... Starting with holding Aaron's bearded dragon!

Mr McCann

Dad's principle from Westerville North just made a surprise visit to Dad. Wow. He is an amazing man. We are so thankful for his visit.


One of Mom's Riverside Angels....

I remember the day I met MaryAnn I was just going about my normal day at work last summer. What became of the encounter was a lovely friendship. After that first encounter, I would save her breathing treatment to be my last so I was assured time to chat with her. When I was assigned to work in another area in the hospital I would take my breaks with her, or sit with her while she ate her meals and be her dining companion. If she wasn't in her room I'd leave cheerful notes. We talked about so much, and so little at times that it seems funny to be telling a story about it. :) I had just bought a house and I was telling her about it and we were discussing quilts I'd like to decorate it with and how wonderful the quilts made her drab hospital room look. She was fascinated that I was both a respiratory therapist and a Reiki practitioner saying, "Wow Dru! You really are meant to be here to heal, you have a *true* healing spirit." I'd never quite looked at it that way but I beamed inside, she was right. I love helping people, and my job. We discussed our love of trees and how healing they are and very special to both of us...I truly felt I met a kindred spirit. We even chatted about Marshmallow Mayonnaise and I told her my daughter loved Webkinz. One of the last conversations I had with her that visit at Riverside was over dinner confiding that you all wanted her to give up on the vegan diet and please just eat anything, just eat...she whispered to me, "Dru this chicken looks really good, do you promise not to tell them that I am going to eat it?" I smiled and I promised...and I think she would be amused to know I waited until now to confess (she did eat it:)...LOL!  I emailed her several times but didn't hear anything and always wondered how she was...then I was blessed to see her name on the floor census in November...and we chatted at 7:30 in the morning where she was surprised about my email, "Oh Rick deleted all of those emails on that account there were just too many, but I didn't see YOURS Dru!" we laughed and she gave me the blog address, spoke excitedly about Skype and about her listing to the left..and did I think she was an external processor? She was very excited about her upcoming art show in March. I came back at lunchtime having come in at the tail end of her beating Jim soundly at a card game. We let him doze in the chair and chatted about my daughter, aspergers, trees, balance, her well as her plotting ways to talk Dr Granger into letting her stay in the hospital longer. We laughed over wigs, and having the radiation staff try them on and taking pictures...we talked seriously about her journey, hair falling out and how it would make her look...about life and journeys of all types. We made plans for me to visit when she left, and I am sorry our schedules just never matched up to make it happen in time...I truly regret that.  MaryAnn touched my life in a fantastically positive way! I am so glad I stayed in touch with her and will never forget her amazingly strong life energy. I'm sorry for your entire family but I have never met such a close and supportive family with so much love for each other and I know you will make the best of the new journey ahead.

In Peace,Dru Carvi

Ha Ha h=Ha Old School Mom and Dad!!!

These are from our SIX WEEK camping trip out west.  We went when I was in 7th grade.  The camping SUCKED lol