Posted in Pure Love

Love never ends

Friday the 13th was the birthday of my first love.

It was a very imperfect love–one that hurt us both deeply–and spit us out, 7 years later, but also one that saved me when I was young and so needing love.

A decade ago, twenty years after we went our separate ways, I wrote him a thank you of sorts. I recently came across it. (Now edited for privacy & punctuation.) I wrote it to him on Valentines Day, aided by what someone said to me after the death of a beloved:

Love Never Ends.

Good Morning xxxxx, Happy Valentines Day!

…The kids are still asleep. It’s still dark out, and we’re having our
first ‘real’ snow of the season (maybe even a couple feet.)

Casey has moved the cars off the driveway and up against the woodshed so that Jimmy can have a clear plow when he comes.

His out of town trip was called off so he’s gone back to bed with the boys; while I wake with a greater understanding of love.

I dreamt of you.

Whenever I do, I’m filled with a warm enveloping feeling-
which my spirit “gets,”but my mind always puzzles over.

Today I’m clearer.

I understand that “Whenever two of you are gathered in my name, there is Love.”

I understand that as such young ones, of good heart, and pure love, we were tapping right into Spirit.

It’s the same current that runs deeply beneath my day to day life with Casey, and one which we access to renew our love again and again.

It’s the same current that runs through all of life and supports
all relationships–though “form” often gets in the way of accessing it.

The love itself is never polluted, only our ability to tap it. Sometimes we need to move away and dig a new well. I’m sure we both know lots of friends who have done that; marriages ending.

Funny, that when you appear to me in my dreams, like other lovers, but perhaps stronger with you–that feeling of bliss–the dream gets more and more complicated as it goes on. Just like we did.

Perhaps the chemistry between two people, between you and me, is a portal–to the Divine, and perhaps certain twosomes create a larger portal.

That might explain why despite our different lives, despite our happy marriages, despite time and loss of connection, whenever I see you—at my mother’s funeral and at xxx brother’s, I feel such a strong hit, a pull.

Perhaps that’s what pulled my eyes to you on the stage at {our highschool} where you made me laugh with your
curtain trick.

Perhaps that’s what pulled you across the cafeteria to
my table to ask me out.

Perhaps that’s what pulls all of us–connection
to the Divine.

I know there are other attractions, in form, but I’ve
heard it said that the romantic paradigm is an archetype for the ecstasy of knowing God.

For this I must thank you.

You gave such good love, that I knew what to look for…

In a husband,
in life.

I knew how I wanted to feel.

Not all that messy stuff between us in form, but that pure love you gave, or that we gave rise to together.

And I now know what God is even more.

Happy Valentines xxxx xxxx xxxx xxx.
With deep appreciation of the love you shared with me,
and prayers for that love (the Divine stuff) to flood your life as it
does mine with Casey and my boys .

xxx and xxx and xxx and xxx are lucky!

You mother is on my heart right now. She gave good love too.

Actually your whole family was a wellspring of love in my life.

I’m forever grateful.


Posted in Lanscape of Loss, Lila Stories, Pure Love



7/18: She is crushed, then incinerated.

7/19: I find out about that.

7/20: I search through her house for something…
that particular thing, that something that was close to her and will keep her close to me
despite the unfathomable absence of her in this house.

Beneath the tissues and cotton balls and cu-tips, I find this.
Her lipstick is pressed against it.

3 and a 1/2 decades later,
it still is.

Posted in Lanscape of Loss, My Bonnie, Pure Love


mercy-and-grace13 years ago, this day delivered a crushing grief.

7 sisters & a single brother lost their mother to cancer. The youngest two were still in highschool.

Despite a life decimated by pain, by separation, by divorce, by alcoholism, by teeming loss–we were there for each other, and for her.

Mercy is the legacy our mother left us; her life’s trials and tribulations tousled by grace.

May we always be worthy.

Posted in Pure Love

the medicine of music & movement

On the eve of my wedding day, my alcoholic mother hit bottom after a month without food, and my trusted friend (aka. fiancee) uncharacteristically got so drunk that he was still attached to the toilet the next morning and appeared on the altar with broken blood vessels circling his eyes.

The photographer’s car broke down on the way to the hotel, and up until the last minute, my father refused to ride to the church in the limousine with me because it would leave out my stepmother.

When the flowers arrived all wrong, I needed a drink, and so I had some champagne with my bridesmaids; but it was the the music that finally soothed me–at the church with If It’s Magic–and later at the reception with funk where I danced the night away, despite my father’s urgings to visit each table in conversation. It was selfish of me to ignore my seated guests, but I was in desperate need of the medicine of music and movement.

When my grandfather died the following year, music continued to be a source of solace. My sisters and cousins gathered at my apartment and we relived a dramatic rendition of  “My Way” first given by our grandmother when we were children.  We brought music along too, The New Jersey Mass Choir, and let their voices echo in the vestibule before and after that sad service.

From reel to reels with my father in the basement of my childhood home, to 45’s in my bedroom, to 8 tracks in my boyfriend’s car, to mixed tapes made for friends, music continues to soothe and  celebrate the days of my life.

When I gave birth to my son, at home, I had my husband turn on the CD player with Lauryn Hill and then James Taylor to ease me into the opening necessary for delivery.

Music continued to be medicine when my mother was in the hospital.  My sisters and I sang, Wade in the Water.  and later infused the ceremony that celebrated her life with so much music that people called the funeral, “a musical.”

Landslide and Amazing Grace offered by two different soloists on guitar, and even an impromptu Tora Lora Loo, by me, in honor of the lullaby my mother sang all our lives.  Lean on Me, brought us through the private burial;  and mixed tapes got us through that winter when we encountered the dark face of loss.

It was just a handful of years ago that I found a way to make the medicine of music and movement a regular part of my life, by incorporating it into the healing work I do. Now I actually make money creating soundtracks and chakra dance parties for people of all ages.

I think on the medicine of music as I select songs from my iPod for my upcoming 21st wedding celebration, and I am so grateful to all those who make the music that moves us–inside and out.

Kelly Salasin, May 19, 2011

Click here for more on the power of MUSIC

Posted in Pure Love

Silly Love Songs


Kelly Salasin, 2011

Silly to think, that after ALL the sentiment your young heart poured out in love letters and flowers and proclamations of undying love, that it is unflinching I, who ended up being the truly romantic one.

That 25 years later, when a song stumbles forth from my shuffle of 2,000, it still stirs my heart with the aching loss of love…

It’s sad to think

We’re not gonna make it

And it’s gotten to the point

Where we just can’t fake it

For some ungodly reason

We just won’t let it die

I guess neither one of us

wants to be the first to say good-bye

detail Caravaggio, visipix

And funny to think, that everyone around us–all those friends and loved ones who endured our ups and exponentially growing downs–could see the ending that we refused to find.

And even odder, that it was YOU–who once held on sooooo tightly–who was the one who finally let go, without so much as a goodbye… when I had been the one who was always leaving…

I keep wondering


What I’m gonna do without you

And I guess you must be wondering the same thing too

So we go on

Go on together

Living a lie

Everytime I find the nerve

Everytime I find the nerve to say I’m leaving

Those old memories get in my way

Lord knows it’s only me

That I’m deceiving

That all these years later, this last verse still racks my body with the truth of how fragile that gift of love came to be…

There can be no way

There can be no way

This can have a happy ending

So we just go on

Hurting and pretending

Convincing ourselves to give it just one more try…

In the end (our ending), this powerful, independent woman, discovered how to be a “girl”–weepy and dramatic.  And you, a sullen and overly sentimental boy, discovered how to be a man–powerful and clear headed.  Although it didn’t feel like it at the time, I got the better of the end–of our ending.

Farewell my love


We are each middle-aged now, and neither of us knew that I would be the one who refused to say Goodbye.

Leave me in the past,” you plead, not wanting to be paraded in my mind–let alone in my work as a writer.


But what I’m coming to understand, is that it’s not really you that I want to hold onto, but the love (albeit a little dramatically)–the love which comes from the same place from which I pour heart into my life, and into my writing, and into my sons, and into the man who’s shared my bed since you made this room for him inside.

So that 25 years later, I am still moved by a song or a memory or a poem that I once shared with you~




When you are old and grey and full of sleep,

And nodding by the fire, take down this book,

And slowly read, and dream of the soft look

Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,

And loved your beauty with love false or true,

But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,

And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,

Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled

And paced upon the mountains overhead

And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

~ W.B. Yeats

(song lyrics by Jim Weatherly, as recorded by Gladys Knight and the Pips.)

Posted in My Bonnie, Pure Love

Josie’s Gift

de la Tour,

It seems unfathomable that ten years have passed without telling about the gift that made such a difference in the year I lost my mother. I must have made mention of it in some piece, but I cannot place it, and certainly it deserves its own work of attention, especially at the tenth anniversary.

That December I lived in a big drafty house atop a hill with a view of distant mountains, open to winds and the long dark nights of a New England winter.  It was the following year that I would have pneumonia; but it was this year that I clearly recall the chill–inside.

Of my seven siblings, only one lived nearby, while the others were strewn across the country from California to Florida to New Jersey. In the vacuum of loss, the separation was excruciating. Despite the presence of my newborn son, the anguish of missing my mother overtook me as I approached her Christmas birthday.

Michelle sent us each a glass globes with painted angels, nestled in felt boxes; and I mailed out collections of music to soothe our souls; but it was the gift that came from Josie that made all the difference.

Josie didn’t know my mother, and she hardly knew me. In fact, she was the bosom buddy of my stepmother who now had little to do with the 6 difficult daughters she inherited from my parents divorce–let alone the extraneous brother and sister who sprung from my mother’s “affair” and her second marriage.

There was hardly a time when we were all under one roof–it wasn’t tolerated–until the morning of my mother’s funeral.  Then all allegiances were set aside and the 8 of us became one.  To hell with step-parents and divorce and half-status siblings, we were all Bonnie’s children.

That Christmas, Josie sent gifts to each of our children, especially the new baby. I received a clothes line fashioned out of garland, lit up by lights, and adorned with outfits, and onesies, and blankets, and socks, and tiny bears of different colors.

But it was the set of candles and the brass candle snuffer, adorned with dangling glass beads, tucked into a crimson bag of satin that deeply touched my soul.  For I discovered that Josie had sent these to each of Bonnie’s children… like my mother would have done.

I watch the smoke spiral out of the brass cap in the hand of my baby who is now ten, begging for the pleasure of extinguishing each candle–in an act that rekindles  the exquisite blessing of Josie’s Gift.

Kelly Salasin, December 2010

Posted in Lanscape of Loss, Pure Love

Black Cat


As an adult, I’ve never been a pet owner so it’s surprising to finally realize that one of my best friends–ever–was a cat named “Licorice.”

My dad was stationed in Colorado when this wonderful black cat came into our lives. My Aunt Rene found her, meowing from a storm drain. She was only a kitten then, abandoned.

Can we keep her?” sang the chorus of my sisters and I.

The reply–“No!”

In the meantime, we fed her and held her and cooed over her tiny frame until the day that she was to be given away to a young couple from the hospital where my dad worked.

On the afternoon of her departure, I sat outside on the front lawn, praying with all my might that I would get to keep Licorice, despite the inevitable. I held her close to say our last teary goodbyes.

To this day, I delight in sharing the miracle that took place…

Doeberl, detail

Just before they were to arrive, the couple called to say that–THEY HAD CHANGED THEIR MINDS!   They had just purchased a new couch and a kitten would be a big mistake. 

Licorice was mine!

Though it’s been over thirty years since this time, I can still recall my dear Licorice’s presence. I can feel her soft fur, sense her purr against my belly and smell the milk on her rough tongue as she licks my hands.  In our most intimate of love rituals, Licorice dragged her paws from the top of my head, down my face.

Ours was such an intimate relationship, that I insisted that Licorice treat all beings with the kindness we shared. I had her practice with my neighbor’s cat, and scolded her each time she howled or clawed– and praised her for her friendliness. The progress was slow, but with an 8 year old’s fervency for justice,  I wouldn’t give up.

On the night that Licorice had her first and only litter of kittens, she must have come to get me for support. I know this because when I woke that morning, I found blood on the comforter of my top bunk. When I called out to my mother, Licorice came running into the room with insistent meows, pacing back and forth until she was certain I would follow her.

She led me into the storage room to an open box on the second shelf and to the sight of two black newborn kittens. She jumped in beside them and licked my hands as we marveled at this miracle together. For days, she refused access to “our” babies to anyone but me.

Licorice changed after becoming a mother. My parents had her spayed and she wasn’t a spry young thing herself anymore. We were allowed to keep “Jellybean,” the kitten who most resembled the slender form of Licorice’s youth,  but we were forced to give  up chubby Gumdrop to others across town.

Gumdrop’s life came to a tragic and early end, and Jelly Bean disappeared a year later when we were away on vacation.  And then one day, so did Licorice. I searched for her everywhere, canvassing the neighborhoods in our suburb outside of Denver. I’d even go so far as to jump over fences into back lawns to chase and retrieve any black cat I spied.

That’s not her,” my mother would chide, each time I dragged another clawing stranger home. In later years, she would confide that I had gone a bit “mad” in loosing Licorice.

I know that my heart was never quite the same. Never again did I give it so fully and never again did I ask for a pet.

And yet, Licorice comes to me still– forever, my dear friend.

Vallotton, detail,