On warm summer days we think about vacations, not funerals. Some of us have no choice. As parents we don't expect to have to bury our children. (Thank God I haven't done this.) As siblings we don't expect to bury our brothers or sisters.( Again, thank God I haven't done this yet, either.) Some of us have buried our parents, ( I have done this for each parent. It wasn't easy.) and some of us have had to do all three. So much pain comes with burying family members.

Burying friends brings special pain. Some of us have had to do that, too. I have lost friends to death. Some of you have, too. It isn't easy to remember that person is no longer a phone call away.

When our children lose friends to death we comfort them and feel their pain.

Only a teacher can have experience the loss that comes with the death of a student or a former student. It's not like losing a family member, someone connected by blood or marriage. That bond is different, even from the bond of friendship. We nurture our students and expect great things from them, or we hope great things will happen for them. We hope they will have long, happy lives. They are supposed to come to us or see us around and introduce us to their spouses or kids. They are not suppose to die before we do. 

But some do die, and we are left to celebrate their lives and comfort those around them. I thank God for the chance to share in the lives of so many people who needed my guidance as teens and who became my friends as adults. Some still  call me Ms Barfield. Others call me Mary. I call each one my kid and my friend.

Now smile and find your good memories of those who have escaped pain and troubles here with us and celebrate their lives and the joy they brought to us.

 And feel free to download one of my books at http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Marvella/e/B008E1SJ32/

Show your emotions in your writing.


Sarah instinctively touched the antique necklace. Her father’s image began to blur. Oh, no, not now. She tried to stop what she knew would happen as the room faded.

Sarita stood beside an open grave. The sun had no business shining in the cloudless sky or reflecting off the church steeple. Workers waited to finish covering the pine casket made with love by her father, her brothers, and her beloved husband. She had sewn the liner and allowed her aunts and cousins to add small embroidered goodbye tokens.

The wooden marker would be followed by the marble angel her Daddy had commissioned. Her hand rested warmly in her father’s. Her heart felt empty. Today he looked old for forty-nine. His strong broad shoulders slumped in grief. 

To see more of this scene, go to Mary Marvella.com. Make a comment both places or on Facebook and I'll give you a chance to win coupons for other books.
The church had been filled to overflowing and the service had seemed to last forever. Only the strength of William’s big body at her side and his big hand gave her strength to hold onto her daddy’s clammy one. The heat and closeness of so many hot bodies and the odor of sweat mingled with the smell of death threatened to make Sarah lose what little she had eaten this morning. The tall windows had been opened to let in fresh air, but people fanned with hymnal covers and papers. Still there was not enough air.
What difference would all the words make? Mama had survived the war, but succumbed to pneumonia. Everyone had loved mama and wanted to say a few words. She had helped every family in the area at births, nursed the sick, and found help for the needy.
Each eulogy reminded Sarita she would never see her mama again. The neighbors had lost a friend and would mourn her but, damn it, this family had lost its heart.
www.MaryMarvella.com (look for a blog there, too!)



  1. Scarlet Pumpernickel // July 6, 2014 at 11:40 PM  

    MM, love your stories. Especially the ones that have ghost or reincarnation elements.

  2. Barbara Monajem // July 7, 2014 at 9:20 AM  

    I'm of two minds about ghost stories, but yours already has me teary-eyed, Mary.

    (I thought I would never write a ghost story, but one popped into my head, so I did.)

  3. Brenda Heath // July 7, 2014 at 9:52 AM  

    Wow. Well said. As one of your kids
    and having buried a child, husband, sibling and parent I appreciate your words. I also understand what you mean as a teacher losing a student. One you helped nurture and grow. You helped raise that child. Almost as if it were your own. Thank you so much for being you. Btw, I looooovvveee your books:-)

  4. Mary Marvella // July 7, 2014 at 12:26 PM  

    Thanks, Scarlet! You keep me going!

  5. Mary Marvella // July 7, 2014 at 12:27 PM  

    If I made you teary, I did my job, Barbara! Your stories keep me laughing!

  6. Mary Marvella // July 7, 2014 at 12:30 PM  

    Thanks, Brenda Heath! I had you in mind as I wrote the words. You are one of my babies!I wanted to hug you and tell you everything would be all right, but your friends and the family you had left gave you a reason to make that happen for you and for them.
    I did a good job, didn't I?

  7. The Writers Canvas, Author Elaine Calloway // July 7, 2014 at 12:57 PM  

    Love your post, Mary!
    I do think about family vacations, and therefore family, this time of year. My dad has passed on but my mom is still going strong. Thanks for the reminder :)

  8. Mary Ricksen // July 7, 2014 at 1:15 PM  

    Is this a time travel? It sounds right up my alley!!!

  9. Mary Marvella // July 7, 2014 at 2:48 PM  

    Thanks for stopping by, Elaine. Hug your mom and everyone you love! Celebrate your dad.

  10. Mary Marvella // July 7, 2014 at 2:49 PM  

    Mary, thanks! It's a reincarnation story. And it has 2 ghosts.

  11. Connie Gillam // July 7, 2014 at 3:18 PM  


    I've buried both parents and hope never to have to bury a child. The lost would be unbearable. My prayers go out to the parents of your student(s).

  12. debjulienne // July 7, 2014 at 3:42 PM  

    Burying my folks, grandmother, aunts/uncles was sheer torture...I have one remaining aunt/uncle and I just don't want that day to come...
    Touching excerpt...can't wait to read.

  13. Melanie Atkins // July 7, 2014 at 5:40 PM  

    So true, Mary. Loved your excerpt. Great writing. So intense and compelling.

  14. Mary Marvella // July 7, 2014 at 9:25 PM  

    Thanks, Connie I'm with you! You are blessed with kids and grand kids!

  15. Mary Marvella // July 7, 2014 at 9:26 PM  

    Thanks bunches, Melanie!

  16. Josie // July 13, 2014 at 9:39 AM  

    Your writing is beautiful, MM. Sad, heart-touching, and thought-provoking.