Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Note From Madeline

Madeline sent me a note and said I could post it here :) thanks Madeline!

I cried when I saw the picture of June when she was 15. That was about the time Miquel brought her to live with us after your grandmother (when I met her, I'm sure her name was Harriet) passed. Your mother was raised in Sea Gate an upscale community in Coney Island. She was so beautiful, good, and sweet as could be always cheerful and I wondered what a wonderful child. Miquel told us that your grandmother suffered long with Cancer and your mother cared for her until the end. Mancie had taken care of enrolling her in high school but before we knew it she was gone.

Of course your grandfather tracked her down in Florida. I guess she was like a fragile butterfly that needed to fly. The next time I saw her in California at Victor's. You were the cutest little bit of a toddler and your two brothers were visiting from Florida. We had a great summer. I'll never forget it. I have a picture of all of us at Victor’s pool. If I can dig it out I'll send it to you.....If I can figure out how to send a pic via computer.

Next she showed up in Brooklyn and Albert and I babysat Adam. He was about 15 months old and he cried all the time for his mother. It took us a couple of days to find the two butterflies, June and Lila. I'm laughing now. They were really something else. June visited with us for a week when Albert and I lived in Gresham. She was on her way to a pow wow in Seattle. Always laughing and making us laugh.

I was really sorry to see her go knowing it would be probably be years until we met again. And, of course it was in California with my dear Lila. Oh how I wish I could have had more time with them. They were what I wanted to be but never had the guts. Soon it will be my time to join them and maybe I'll fly too. I knew when I met you in Cal. that you had their light. Keep spreading it around kid. This cruel world needs good people like you. Love, Madeline

Friday, October 24, 2008


Please join us at my house this Sunday for a pot luck and some music and some good company.


mom seattle cropped

Sunday will have been one year - it seems like yesterday, and a million years ago.

Call me if you need directions...... Love Cherie

Monday, July 28, 2008

Friday, June 6, 2008

June 13th Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday mom, just thinking about you. Love Cherie

Lily Bouquet
Originally uploaded by judy stalus

Thursday, January 31, 2008


I wrote a note Sacred Heart Medical Center thanking a couple of nurses for their exceptional care while mom was in the hospital. This was published in the Hospitals monthly newsletter:

Going above and beyond

Oncology and ICU nurses 'gems'
"Just wanted you to know what a gem this incredible nurse is," writes Cherie Livaudais of Sacred Heart staff nurse Jayne Mondello and the care Jayne provided to Cherie's mother on the 6 Main oncology unit in the last days of her life. "Jayne was so incredible, she made us all feel so comfortable with her competent care and her knowing and loving advice. Jayne made the death of my mother so much easier to bear." Cherie also shared the following excerpt of the note she wrote to Jayne:
I wanted to thank you for your gentle care. We felt so comfortable with you, almost like you were a member of our family ... we always think of and are so grateful for you and your helpful, gentle way. "I also wanted to include the absolutely wonderful and unforgettable care of ICU nurse Tiffany Perkes, who cared for my mother and my family with such competence, dignity, respect and humor," Cherie added. "In Tiffany's care, I even felt like I could leave Mom alone to go home to sleep."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I wanted to share a poem I read recently on a message board that touched me deeply and made me think so much of mom:

By Chandra Ruiz

We are all Born of her

From her we have all been created
In her blood we find our own.

She is leaving us now.
Her blood
Her flesh
Her breath.

She is returning to her mother
From whom we are all born.

We are of her and she of us.

This mother, grandmother, great grandmother
of us all now makes her exit.

We will all return to her as she now returns to
her mother and her mother’s mother.
GGF Harry, G Aunt Minna, GM Anna Vera, GGM Sarah copy
We will all return to her as she returns to the mother of us all.

She is of flesh but fleeting.
She has breath but little.
She has heart barely beating.

Give her peace in her journey.
Give her speed in her race.
Give her light in her darkness.

Goodbye sister of sisters.
Goodbye wife among wives.
Goodbye mother of my mother
I will miss you.

I will let you go now.

We release you from your trials.
We send you in light and love.
We send you in forgiveness and understanding.

Rest dear Grandmother
Your work is now done.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

From Laurel:

Moonwater was the first person I saw when I flew into Eugene from New York in 1979, and she was the last person I saw when I left for New Mexico six years later. I was an escapee from New York, pregnant with my first child, and had no idea what to expect. My sister, Danelle, was living with everyone at Sarvis Berry and she and Moonwater came to the airport to pick me up. It was April 30, 1979 and I was 18; it was my first plane ride. I remember putting myself and my baby, who turned out to be Joshua, in God´s hands.

When I first saw Moonwater she was named June but she already had that mystique that made her special. I remember talking with her on the way out to Sarvis Berry and she was trying to prepare me for the fact that Sarvis Berry and life in Oregon was going to be nothing like my life in New York. I told her it was ok, and then we talked about something spiritual that had to do with a flower opening. I guess it was my first spiritual conversation with anyone. I´m afraid I somewhat latched onto Moonwater, since I was like a newborn chick just out of the nest. Probably I got on her nerves sometimes. But I remember some really fun times at Sarvis Berry.

I planted the pumpkins because Moonwater thought a pregnant woman should plant pumpkins. I guess we later got busted because of what else besides pumpkins was growing in our garden. As I remember, Dennis was the only one they took away. But he came back shortly thereafter. And I remember giving Elana a bath, and combing the tangles out of her hair. And going to the Excelsior with Moonwater and Suzanne and spending most of my check on one extravagant lunch. Seems like in those days we didn´t worry about the next meal. I also remember Cherie helping me when I was tripping at Cougar Hot Springs. It was the first time I remember noticing how motherly and shining Cherie is. And I remember helping get Adam ready for school in the mornings. We all helped out with the kids at Sarvisberry.
Elana, Cherie, Adam TeeVee
The last time I saw Moonwater, it was in the Keystone Cafe. Just a ¨chance¨meeting but it happened to be the very moment I was leaving Eugene for New Mexico, where I spent the next nearly 20 years. She hugged me good-bye and wished me well. I remember that we had drifted by then, after Sarvis Berry broke up. I was living in Springfield, in the same apartment Stony and Cathy and later Moonwater had lived in. I remember thinking that Moonwater was saying goodbye to me with a profundity I could not account for. I guess I thought I would see her around sometime. As it turned out, it was the last time I saw her alive.

It is difficult to express who Moonwater was to me. A mentor, certainly. A wise woman whom I admired. What stands out to me about Moonwater was her love and sorrow, which, when I knew her, she seemed to possess in equal measure. Now that I am older, I understand the Sorrow better than I did then. I hope I am beginning to understand the Love.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Click on the picture

The celebration was really fun... sorry to everybody that was not able to make it but we had lots of fun without you :)
Celebration Pam, Elana, Danielle
Take a look at the flickr pictures there are some good ones, and more to come I am sure :)
I want to give a very special thank you to Tim and Ananda for renting the grange, taking the pictures, bringing the PA, all that food, the donation jar and the guestbook, for all the cleaning and for your emotional support. We would never have pulled this off without you.

From Paula

Moonwater and I were kind of thrown in together. I was 19, pregnant and far from blood family. Ford Neha had shown me a vision of the Rainbow Road and I had faith and hope that a life dedicated to peace and love was possible. We met this amazing woman, incredibly sweet, so kind and loving, and so beautiful that men could hardly string words together in her presence. Eventually, this angel, Cherie, brought her little brother Adam and little sister Elana over. These 2 kids were so personable, so engaging, so present, so fearless. I was amazed. Ford Neha’s high school friend, Howie brought this beautiful gypsy lady over who was the Mom of these amazing people. Some people still called her June back then, some called her Moonwater. She instantly filled the house with music and color. And she brought me actual evidence that the Rainbow Way is the feeding of the soul for our children. Over many years of Moonwater and I crossing paths, I was always amazed at how instantly she could read that other Gemini, Ford Neha. Those 2 could look at each other and see into those brainy brains of theirs like few people can.
I saw Moonwater speak, sing and inspire many in her tribe about peace, justice and love. For me, I always loved her wry sense of humor, and I loved it when she got frustrated. Whether it was a dog in the kitchen, wet firewood, a whiny kid, when Moonwater rolled her eyes and made some derisive comment, the east coaster in me loved seeing the east coaster in her.
When Howie called to tell us that Moonwater was going to die soon, Neha and I tried to figure out if we could make it up to Eugene. We said to each other ‘Do we want to see her one more time or do we want to go up for the party?’ When I mentioned to Cherie that we might be able to come up, her response of ‘Would you?’ made the decision for us.
We got to Eugene late at night and spent Moonwater’s last day with that beautiful body with her, and her beautiful family: Cherie, Dennis, Jessamyn, Jimmy, Devon, Elana, and Lindaloo. (By the way, Adam, next time we see each other, I owe you a shot, brother)
As a young woman, Moonwater showed me by example, what I thought might be possible for a family and children. Now as an older woman, she shows me what I always thought death should be like. She was surrounded by peace and love. Her beautiful family gently caring for her as her breathing was ceasing and her soul was beginning the ultimate release into the ultimate freedom. We left the hospital room at 4pm, she died at 6. There are not enough thank you’s in any language to convey my gratitude to Moonwater and to Cherie for inviting us to be part of the good way to die. Moonwater goes on before us, soaring onto a updraft of love, her wings no longer fettered by our petty cares and worries.
Some times I meet people who love their old college, they wear their college T-shirts, and watch the football games. At the age when students are in college, I got to be part of Moonwater’s tribe. I was part of her legacy, the tribe she created and leaves to us. Moonwater once gave me a purple velvet vest that she had worn for years. I wear my tribe’s colors with pride, with love, with laughter.
Thank you, Moonwater, Thank you, Cherie. Thank you, Family.

the river (little fall creek) where we took mom

river falls

Thank you all who were able to ......

....share this beautiful day with us ! I was once again blown away by the emotion in that building. We really only had that space for what felt like a very short time , however we seemed to bring mom's vibe into that place so strong! I am thankful for so many parts of that day , but I have to say a special thank you to Maria Moondance for helping to make that wonderful "circle" happen . I also have to thank ALL OF YOU who put their love , energy , time ....Patience , and money into making that day be so ....perfect! As Moonwater's youngest child I felt so "complete" .......after getting to know my wonderful big brothers! And I can't believe that all of these years have gone by , and I am only now getting the gift of knowing both of them. It is WAY SHITTY!!!! that we had to have THIS be what finally brought us together , but then I am grateful that something positive was able to come out of me .....losing my mother...... I am still trying desperately to "say it out loud" , I am so scared of how much it will hurt.... but it has to . anyways , as you can see , it is early and I have not yet slept today , so I should stop writing before I say something way dumb. Before I go, let me first say to those of you who were not able to come , we missed you all , and I am sorry for all who did not get to see the love in the room that day , because it was so beautiful . I hope that you can find the strength and support from your world, that I got from the love in that circle , and the story's and laughter that we shared that night is and will bring me strength in the following weeks as I allow myself to feel the .....process of my journey. anyone who knows me , truly knows that I have always been my mom's "biggest fan " , that was her line , she would tell people , when I clapped so loud after a set , she would laugh ,and blush and say I was her biggest fan! So the fear inside of me is pretty big .... but I am a girl who must FEEL IT !!! I love you all ~ME

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Day I Lost Mom

The day was so much different for me . I (being the busy girl I am , wasn't spending enough time with mom on visits , but that morning I did . I had gone to bring her a gift , and had a really , really good visit! I had made her laugh real hard , all it really takes is a "spunky mood " and less than 2 lines from her favorite classic Bill Cosby's "Himself" stand up skit ..... so I had her giggling and laughing the last time that we spent ....together with her health. I went about my day ,planning to see mom again when I dropped my sweet son off to sleep at her house that night ( I am care giving a night-time client right now ) ,as I rushed off to work. Earlier that day she had asked me to make other arrangements for Devin if I could because she was sort of feeling "not too hot !" and I could tell that it was in many ways . I wasn't able to get any other help that night (thank you goddess!!) , and any of you who know me and Dev ,knows that I think that if some one is sad that you just need to spend a couple of hours with my son , and he will always cheer you up!!! Well it works for me! So I had to tell mom that I would bring him by at about 8:30 pm , which is an hour earlier than usual . We got to moms at about 8:25 , I kissed them both , and ran off to work . I only got about 5 or 6 minuets away when devin called ,and I heard him asking mom "what should I tell her?" , he than said "mom 1/2 of gramma"s face just fell." I quickly turned my car around , only being 8 or 10 blocks away I got there fast , as I ran into the apartment Devin was trying so bravely to help her get her shoes on , we where able to get her into the car and get down to urgent care in less than 5 minuets ,( mom place was on 15 and willamette )I left mom and dev in the car while I ran in to get a wheelchair and ask for some help. I ran in screaming that my mother was in the car, having symptoms of a stroke, and now looking back ,I really don't know how I knew that having never been around anything like that ,instincts are funny that way . Thay immediately told me that thay don't have hospital facility's and that I needed to get her to sacred heart (only about 10 blocks away) I asked if I should call for an ambulance or drive her myself , that said it would take them up to 10 minuets to get to us , so I ran out the door ,got into the car ,turned around ,and dialed 911 to tell them that we are on our way ....... and to help! as we got closer to the hospital ,mom was starting to have more trouble talking and I was scared , and trying to show a brave face for both mom and devin . We pulled up to 13th and could see it busy with an accident , we learned later that it was the hit and run victims ,one of which was a fatality. I had to leave dev in the front waiting room , and he was so brave!!! As soon as they took her back thing started to get more scary and I was thankful that dev was not there . they had paged the brain surgeon and I had some how managed to call my sister, and my best friend Ana to come quickly (of course I didn't think to have ana pick up my sister ,as they live near each other , no poor Cherie had to catch the bus!!!nice Elana!!) during that time I did my best to keep mom relaxed ,as we all know mom hates hospitals! I had her do some breathing , which was the only thing relaxing her. The doc came in , took me out into the hall .... you know , like we see in the movies , when the Doctor takes the frightened loved one to tell us that ......... things don't look real good for mom in the way of trying to operate , as she didn't think that it would be able to fix anything .I think that was my first true moment of being numb. your feet feel hot ,and you get dizzy , than a natural numb comes over you .....so it won't hurt so much. the next 2 day seemed like weeks , the not knowing , if she could recover enough for us to keep her. As Cherie had said , mom never left us to wonder what to do if we had to choose for her. At one point ,when she started to get scared of her own situation , I was about 16 , and she said "Elana YOU are my youngest child ,and I know that you will never leave my side , Cherie and Adam may be living other places.... YOU NEED TO PROMISE ME THAT YOU WILL NEVER LET ME LIVE IN MY BODY IF IT DOES NOT WORK , you need to be my mouth if I cannot !!!" So it was pretty fresh in my memories , the clarity of what she wanted out of us as her children . On Adams b.day ,when the Doctor told us that we would have to "tube" her for feeding because she was no longer swallowing, at that moment I was thankful for mom's words so loud in my head , and as he waited for us to respond , and the three of us sat shaking our heads , no one would say it out loud . I finally said "no , mom told us all.........." and than after a minuet went by I finally said "right you guys!?" just so that they would say it too! after a bit they both spoke up and said the same thing..."no" I think that it was a little more fresh in my mind , those words! from mom , so loud in my head , and I am thankful now , I knew without a doubt in my mind what mom wanted , and that brings me an amazing amount of peace to my heart. As we
worked to keep mom comfortable , the next 5 days were spent trying to sit and hold her hand , and smell her hair and telling her what an amazing mother she has been to all of us!! The Friday that she passed I felt it coming ,I called Ana to ask when she would be in , she responded that she was going to wait until she was needed (as Ana had been involved in helping us with the 24 hour care to be with mom), I paused and told her that I felt strongly that today was it, and she came right in , I told my courageous son that he need to go with uncle Dennis , as Devin had not really left the hospital since we first brought her in almost 8 days earlier. I took him home made him take a fast shower , ran him to where his uncle was , and than anxiously drove back to the hospital ,I ran up to the elevator , a girl that I know ,who has no family is struggling with choices for her mom, I interrupted her and told my mom needed me , as I ran into the room , cherie pointed ,and I knew ,I said "when" she responded NOW!!! we each had one hand as we fell on her to cry and pray and thank her one last time for sharing her life with us!! samantha had told us as the light took our mother from our arms to hers ! the magic of that moment is something I am still searching for words to explain ,we felt that light... we got see our mother through to the very end . And our family is so special , we are thankful to have each other , and the beautiful memories of being her children . I actually think that my turkey is done , so it is now time to go share the rest of this day with all 5 of mom's children!!!Talk about a blessing !!!I love you all !~ME

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Day My Mom Died by Cherie

It was Thursday night, I got a call from my sister Elana, she said you better get down to the hospital. I was not too worried, mom had been having a bit of panic lately, maybe she was having a panic attack? I took the last bus at 11:45pm in the pouring rain and arrived at the hospital amid the chaos of a fatal hit and run accident right in front of the emergency room. I made my way drenched and dripping to the ER. The receptionist told me my mother had been transferred to the ICU. I realized this was no panic attack. I made my way up to the ICU and Ana was waiting, she seemed just as confused and scared as I was. She told me they would come tell us when mom was settled in her room and we could go see her.

When they finally let us in mom was sleeping with her hands and feet strapped to her bed. The Dr arrived and told us that mom has suffered a stroke, an intracranial bleed. He showed us the CT on his computer. There was an area of blood in her brain. I had no idea whatsoever what that meant. They removed the straps from her hands and feet. Mom could not move her entire left side. He worried that her lungs were not working and after an assessment decided she was breathing well enough on her own. Over the next couple of days mom seemed to improve. She was up and talking. She had no cognitive damage. Her words were slurry because half of her face was paralyzed. But she was appropriate and her memory was intact.

The neurosurgeon came to visit the next morning. She said they did another CT and the bleeding had not stopped. She said "the damage your mother has sustained is permanent". She told me she has decided not to do surgery because she would not be able to fix anything and the chance of a bleed out was very high. She said there would be another CT in the morning. She said goodbye.

The next CT showed the bleeding had stopped. Finally. Since mom's blood pressure was now stabilized and she was swallowing and breathing on her own, they moved her out of the ICU down to the neurology floor. We were all excited, this must mean she is improving. Once there mom stopped talking and being appropriate. for the next couple of days the only thing she wanted to do was sit up. Its all she said and all the tried to do. She became extremely agitated and it was all we could do to try to comfort her ... and to help her sit up. An around the clock schedule of loved ones sat with mom and tried to persuade nurses to give her more medication to help her relax. We were desperate for communication from her Dr about the future and a plan for mom's care. That finally came on Tuesday at noon my brothers birthday.

We gathered anxious to find out moms medical status and to make a plan for her recovery. The Dr arrived and sat down and began to explain mom's injury. He told us mom was no longer swallowing . He said it was time to insert a feeding tube and make arrangements for long term nursing home care. He asked us if we knew what her wishes were. That moment we all began to cry uncontrollably because we all knew without a doubt. Our mother missed no opportunity to tell each of us in no uncertain terms that we were NEVER to let her live like that. Dependant on tubes, in some nursing home, with somebody wiping her ass. Oh boy we knew very well what her wishes were, so we just sat there and cried and cried. Happy birthday Adam.

Dr Ameen was very compassionate and caring, he promised us he would keep mom comfortable no matter what. At least we were comforted with the knowledge that mom would no longer be thrashing and agitated she would finally get some rest. And while it took several scuttles with the nurses and some stern reprimands by the Dr. she finally did. For two days she rested and slept. I spent every possible moment I could by her side.

On Friday as the parade of people stopping by to give her their last kiss filtered through Samantha stopped by. Samantha had not seen mom in many years, but got word that morning that she was dying and came straight over. The room was full of excitement as mom's old and dear friend began communicating to mom's spirit who was standing in the corner of the hospital room. People were full of questions, and anxious to tell her how much they love her and have appreciated their time with her. Samantha was happy to translate. Eventually things quieted down and we were alone.

As I lay my head on my mommy's chest I cried. I thanked her for being my mom. I thanked her for waiting this long before she died. I told her everybody would be ok. I could feel her worry. In fact I could feel everything she was thinking and feeling. We spent 2 wonderful telepathic hours together. I could tell her breathing was getting more sporadic. I could sense her trying with all her might to stay there. Samantha and I tried to convince her it was ok to go now. But she refused. She continued to take labored breaths until finally the door opened and in walked my sister. At that moment she stopped. We felt the most tremendous sense of release and joy I have ever known. My phone rang and it was mom's sister Lila and then the door opened and it was my brother Adam. And there we all were together. Mom I know you were in absolute control of that entire day.

I have lived in fear my entire life of the day somebody so close to me would die. I made it 40 years before that day finally came. I expected to be so completely devastated. I had severely underestimated my mother. This was the most beautiful, spiritual, exhilarating and fulfilling experience I have ever had. As the full harvest moon rose in the sky she slipped away. I will never forget that day. I will always cherish everything she gave me and her best gift of all was her last one. Thanks mom, I love you ...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sweet 16 Birthday

June sweet 16
So beautiful.....so young......so many guys, so little time!!! :::soft grin:::

Moonwater, Junie, My Aunt

They say that before we die our life flashes through our minds....I don't know about that yet, but what I do know is that when a loved one dies their life flashes through my mind, heart and soul. My Aunt, June Pierce (Moonwater) did so on October 26th 2007, as did my dad on August 26th 2007. The 26th. Two month's apart. Neither were expected to pass. The Synchronicity of the date did not escape me. It made me go a little crazy searching for the connection, the signs and the reasons. Best to leave that to time and other's more learned then I in these matters. One moment at a time is all I know for now. At this moment and time it is Junie who I am carrying in my heart and the memories of her that tug at me. They begin so very long ago.Junie, her older sister (my Mom) , my Dad and I all embarked on a 3500 hundred mile adventurous escape from Miami to Marin County, Calif. after MommyAnna (her mother and my grandmother) died from Cancer. I was about four or five years old and June was the at the tender age of fifteen years old. An awfully hard age to lose your Mother at. I think My mom thought it could be a geographical cure from the pain of the deep lose they both keenly felt. We do the best we can with what we can. June was enrolled in Tamalpias High School (which many years later I graduated from). She was so beautiful! We all moved into a beautiful little house on a very steep hillside in Mill Valley. I used to wait for her to come home every day because she was so wonderful to me. I looked up to her for so many reasons. One of my favorite memories was her teaching me to dance. I would stand on her shoes while she rocked back and forth singing, holding me and singing along to her favorite songs. She was at that age when boys melt your young heart for the first time. I remember one song in particular she loved then. It was the song by Chad and Jeremy called Dream, Dream, Dream. June would sing it out loud pretending her favorite boyfriend was singing it to her so she changed the lyrics to "June, June, June" with this dreamy look in her soft young brown eyes. Her first boyfriends' name was Martin. He had jet black hair and he wore it like Elvis Presley. They both had some fun with me one day when I told June I had a loose tooth. Mistake!! Junie had a "light bulb moment" and tied a long thread around my tooth all the time trying to reassure me that this was how to take it out. I didn't understand why it had to come out but she was absolutely gleeful about this so trusting her with my life I just kinda let it all happen. She was giggling after she and Martin had it tied to the doorknob. She told me to hold perfectly still or more like she had to hog-tie me still while Martin suddenly slammed the door shut. Ohhhh god!!! I felt the blood drain from my face as she and Martin laughed and she kept hugging me telling me how brave I was. I wasn't. But now it brings such a soft smile to my heart, at this small slice of life, that encapsulates so many other moments, strung together like pearls, that I wear of the memories my beautiful Aunt June. One of my favorite pictures of her from that time period is of Junie wearing a lavender dress with a full skirt. Pinned amid ruffles on the dress on her heart side was a corsage of sixteen sugar cubes. Standing outside on that steep stairway she was looking upwards, life full ahead of her and many hearts for her to break and love.Large gaps of time slip away but love provides the continuity to compensate. Somehow Junie ended up back in Miami where I was sent to spend parts of summer vacations as I grew up. Suddenly time speeds forward to her being an "adult" and "married" (to Gene Langford) and a MOTHER!! She had two son's named Chris and Timmy. Looking back they looked like two cute little baby bear cubs to me at the time. I had a lot of fun going to the speedway with them where "Uncle Gene" raced drag cars. It was all so exciting to me at that time. June wore her hair pinned in with curls on her head or she would wear it pulled in a half ponytail. I loved her hair. It always smelled so good and her hugs were even better.After so many years leap ahead I find myself at the same age as she was as a Mother, so very very young, and taking a train to Oregon to visit her. I think I was nineteen or twenty. Sheeesh, is that an age give-away! She now had more little cherubs, Cherie, Elana and Adam. There was always a pot of something that smelled wonderful cooking. People were always coming and going. She was magnetic. The earth Mother. I wanted to stay forever. And her laughter!! God was it wonderful! Infectious, lyrical, loud and so warm and real. I remember watching her and my Mom secretly roaring over the silliest things. Picnics on huge warm boulders beside a beautiful river. Kids everywhere, love everywhere and "everywhere" was that warm dream world called life!But time has this funny way of fast forwarding.....too fast. Suddenly I am married and bringing my husband and children to Seattle to visit her. I wanted to move there with my family so I dragged them all from Miami to convince them this is God's country because this is where my family is, this is where we belonged. Junie and I hadn't seen each other in like, well, too many years. She gave me an address on a street where we would meet. I left my family sitting in a stuffed rented van and I waited anxiously on that street where we were to meet. I didn't wait long. I looked all around for a few minutes until suddenly I saw that beautiful warm smile of hers that made me cry with such joy and relief as she ran across the street to me. We embraced and all life was right again. Suddenly she made all the fragments of myself I had left behind come together again. We sobbed and hugged and laughed all at once. What ever damage life had done to either of us had dissolved with love in our embrace. She was my Junie. Loved. Missed. Adored by me all my life. Here now! All was well again.I realized that I had always carried her in my heart no matter people, places or things. She made me feel the same. Today, I am weary. I miss her. I know a new journey has begun for her and a new relationship begins for us. A purely spiritual relationship now. I learned this when my brother crossed over. That was the first time I experienced the death of someone I was physically and emotionally bound to. In love with. Grieved over. And yet.......taught how to live by the very experience. I wonder if she ever knew how deeply I loved her. I hope I showed her enough that I did. I guess I feel like I should have made sure she knew. This is hard part for me.I know there are five loving beautiful children she brought into this world that is making it a better world each day. These are my family, my "tribe", my blood. They are helping me to feel joy and celebrate Junie's life and her new journey each time I talk to Cherie or Elana. I love you Junie...My Aunt......Moonwater....EarthMother. I still carry you in my heart.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sarvis Berry Picture

Lots of memories floating through my brain. Now-a-daze I would run into Moonwater at the Price Chopper. I would always take the time to stop and talk with her. Every time I hugged her I would see her as that woman I knew back in "the old days." She was so powerful, so often the center, I remember so many times a large group of people sitting around a waiting to see what she was gonna do next, so we could decide what we were gonna do. Guess I won't be running into her anymore ... 'cept in my heart.

That brings me back to the land we called Sarvis Berry. The first of many times I lived in the same house or land with June and the family. My eye caught that Sarvis Berry picture that says Eugene Weekly (on the right side of this page near the bottom). That photo was part of a cover story for now defunct Eugene Magazine. The "What's Happening?" was the "Willamette Valley Observer" back then. Eugene Magazine did a story called "Welfare: the Other Eugene." On the front page was a nice black and white photo of our house, with the kid's toys and stuff out front, kinda dilapidated looking. The June photo was inside the magazine, I believe. I remember when the guy came out and did the interview and took the photos. He took some of the best Cheri photo remember seeing.

Monday, November 12, 2007

For me, reading the memories and thoughts people have shared here has evoked tearful smiles and knowing nods. They serve as a testament of Moonwater’s radiance, wisdom and vitality. And it makes it a little easier to sit still with the notion of her absence from this worldly plane. And since it is Elana’s birthday tomorrow (Happy Birthday, Sweetie), my mind came to rest on the tradition Moonwater’s family had of wishing the mother a happy birthday on the anniversary of her child’s birth. A very good tradition indeed. One that shows respect for life and relationships. And, I believe, a small window into Moonwater’s wit and thoughtful guidance.

Moonwater and Lee, 1995, Seattle

lee and mom seattle paulines

Saturday, November 10, 2007

....more words from her youngest child~

I have tried so many times to send some words to this page , and it has been impossible , I finally had to call over my sweet sister , other wise known as " the perfect daughter"... it was a great joy to pick on my sister about that silly title, I had to get her over here to save me from my computer! she is my hero . but anyone who knows my sister ,knows that she is the kindest , most thoughtful ,she is the closest thing to an angel that I have ever known....so to have miss Moonwater for my mother , Cherie for my sister , and my sweet brother Adam , well as you can see I am so blessed to be in this wonderful family! It is almost impossible to know my family and friends , and not just feel special . being my mothers daughter has always made me feel like I had won some "cosmic lottery " or something , and as the years went on , and the challenges became bigger , as did the lessons , and strength and the clarity that my mom was my strength ,and she will always be so much of what gives me the power to stay strong every day , and try to remember what moms song says , to " Be an example of jah light ". I sure am trying mama! thank you SO much , for each and every story , picture and memory . All the stories make up so much of who she is to us , as her children , and it is almost like getting to know her again ....some more . just way cool , so please keep the stories and love flying out her way , and ours! thank you , I will write again soon , and after some sleep I may even make some words come out right ~ Elana

meeting moonwater

Hey all, its so healing to hear from so many old freinds, the memories are so beautiful

thanks especially to cherie for her getting that all done!

It's just Like June to bring us all Back together!

thanks all for sharing


Earth Mother

I met Cherie first, who was a young teen and hired her to babysit my one year old. She was the most attentive caring babysitter ever! I landed at the hippy commune in the woods where her bus was (Livewood?) I got on her bus packing my infant and cried OH Moonwater my poor Vagigi! I had been in the woods and the outhouse was out of tp so I ingeniously grabbed leaves to wipe myself. That was when I learned what poison oak is.Moonwater did that infectious laugh and loong mooan she does.We became sisters.How easy it was to love her the magestic queen she was. She drew people to her this gorgeous vibrant wise woman.She remembered me getting on that bus and crying out to her when I had forgotten all about it.We watched a Bob Maarley video out in a meadow under the stars.I kept telling her how good the rice and oatmeal was and couldnt get over how simple food tasted so great. She explained to me it was the happiness and energy of everyone that went into the meals and she was right.Eating a bowl of rice with friends happily beats eating a 10 coarse meal while miserable or sad.
Recently my lover left me saying he couldnt embrace my pain. I bring that up because I didnt know what it meant until Moonwater passed. Moonwater grew up in a time that maritial problems, rape, abuse, death, womens equality, none of those things were mentioned. As the book "Women who run with the wolves" points out, as we age and become old crones together we have battle scars and should wear them proud. Love embraces the joys and ecstacy as well as the challenges and pains. We have personal history, heartbreaks, trying times, addictions, bumps on our paths. We shared all our experiences and we got to laugh about our process of aging into old crones.Losing our youth, our teeth. our stamina,etc. We joked about it and yes we werent exactly aging gracefully, we bitched and moaned alot but could amuse ourselves.
She recently told me that a woman feels the pain of suffering happening anywhere on the planet, the suffering of the earth, and others. She was intuitive enough to embrace the pain of humanity and pray and work towards healing.
The last time she came over she gave me the longest hug ever. I wondered about that but I know now. On some level she knew. And we talked about dying.Fancy that! I told her I was going to have a kit and sit in the woods by atree and just look up into the sky. She said "Get me one of those kits!" She said her boy Adam would take it the hardest and I said yeah my son Noah would take it harder even tho my daughter and I are best friends.We talked about our mamas boys, our kids life, and she felt Bush is so evil and these times are like the eery times before the halocaust.Its true. We felt civil unrest is due and we should be on some land somewhere and how the hell are we gonna chop wood in these old bodies? We made a promise to go see a movie together. I am going to go see Across the universe in her honor and invite her to sit in the empty chair next to me.
Her photos are staggeringly beautiful and breathtaking.What an honor to know her then and know her now.People can look at her and Jerry Garcia, Martin Luther, John Lennon and other dead heros and just think there goes an old hippy who probly did too many drugs. But they dont realize that what we have lost is someone who embodied such wisdom and advocated for truth and freedom peace and healing, and gave us insight and avenues to atune to the universes highest aspirations and possibilities for us,and within the constricts of a human body created magic and beautiful moments of seredipity and mind conciousexpanding awe, synchronistic miracles. We need to keep that magic alive. They were the pioneers brought it to us. Well, good one grandfather, who am I gonna call now or sit around my kitchen table with and goof with. Ill ask her to come to my dreams. Peace

Friday, November 9, 2007

My Sister with the Cheshire Cat Smile

I met Moonwater more than 30 years ago. I was a Tarot reader in the 5th Street Public Market. One day this elfin, beautiful woman came dancing into my booth, with a smile on her face that lit up the room. She told me that she was not there for a reading, but that she was curious about who I was and what I did. Without further ado, she sat down at my table and smiled at me.

Well, that was the beginning of a friendship that was unlike any other I had ever had. She wanted to learn Tarot so, instead of formally teaching her, we did a number of readings together so that she could pick it up in a very hands on kind of way.

She loved the fact that, like her, I was a musician...a folksinger from way back when. When I lived out on Macbeth Road, she would come by to visit me and Rochelle and she would always ask me to take out my guitar and sing her a song or two. I lived in the cabin on the top of the hill, in the woods, and she would come on up and visit. One day, I noticed a beautiful and unusual amethyst ring she was wearing. She had the most lovely hands. She took the ring off and gave it to, as a sister to a sister traveler on the Great Road. And, yes, my dear sister, I still wear that ring. It is the ONLY ring I usually wear, and I have always worn it on the wedding finger. Isn't that odd? In a way, although I have been married for 36 years, I always felt "married" to Moonwater.

I remember that, while I lived on Macbeth Road, Moonwater entrusted Elana and Adam to my care for a few months. And wild times those were! Imagine - my three children, her two children and me in a two room cabin without running water or indoor plumbing! And yet, we survived. Astonishing!

Sadly, as the years passed, pain separated us and we each became reclusive...lost touch with each other. Then, on the morning of the day she died, my husband was awakened by the call that she was dying. So I went to be with her and was gifted with the amazing experience of being there when she crossed over. I know that she wanted me there on that day and no other. I am profoundly honored to have known Moonwater and to have been able to help her cross over, and I continue to be joyfully honored by now being a small part of her childrens and grandchildrens lives.

I have talked much with Moonwater since she passed. We spend time at night, her sitting on my bed, talking about her experiences, our lives, how we have known each other through many lives. So, to all who love her, rest assured. Our wonderful Moonwater flies on Raven wings of fire and is joyfully preparing for her next sojourn into life.

Blessings of the Trees,
Samantha Ravensdaughter

Thursday, November 8, 2007

From HarpO:


I met Moonwater in Eugene , at jeb’s”Loft”
In 1979..i was new to Town and knew no one.
I think Tim Long brought me up there, and a few folks where there.

I was amazed at her smile and beauty, she just gazed at me as if I was some kinda rock Star…
and I remember sharing some ceremony, and someone had a guitar, [ Tim?] and she played us a song..
SHE was the Rock Star..and as a result, I spent the next oh, 3-4 years basically like a puppy dog,
Hangin out anywhere I could she might be…was actually kinda scared of her, she had so much cozmic power, and I
[initially] felt like the new kid a lot, with all these wise ol hippies hangin ‘round..I was Fresh from Chicago .

But she was always kind and sharing with me, I always felt included, and basically met most all of my Eugene friends thru her one way or another. She helped me get into a room at the 15th street house, get my first tree plantin jon=b with SKOOKUMS
[later I was a HODAD] and basically kept an eye out for me when I wuz young n stupid.
Hadn’t seen her [or Eugene] since ’80 or 81…”always thought that I’d see you again”
We actually were lovers very briefly, after many years, I felt very in love, yet knew I could not hold onto her…

I really do not think a day ever went by with out a thought about her, she became part of me…
My song Goin Home is posted here, the story of my struggles to end up in Eugene ..

The Lyrics that read
“I wandered down That Road for Miles, wonderin would I ever find a Home,
Then You[Moonwater] welcomed me into this Circle of Smiles, and suddenly, I was not Alone..”

Yup, That was her.

Wrote the song all at once while I played it, in 5 minutes, words haven’t changed in all these years,
With Her, and several others in our tribe, at Cougar Hotsprings outside Eugene .
Now I have a band and a life, and thank her every time i play it..


I love you all, that’s what she taught me to do.

I wrote this about her the night she passed, about midnight..couldn’t sleep till I did.

“Loving to live, living to love”, that was Moonwater.

A true earth mother, friend and confidant to so many,
Caring, giving, daring, living, she seemed to understand us all

Never gave up on us, always loved us as her own…
Faults, missteps, none stopped her flowing way.

Promoting and being in the way of Peace and Love,
A true child of so many Rainbow? Tribes,
Moon took all who paused to listen to a pure and clear place of harmony.
The times she spent, and the family and friends she loved, stand in testament to a woman who always looked forward, to the positive and strove to bring us all to a better new place.

A shining smile and a sparkle in the eye that so very many will never forget, a true star in the very best sense of the word.

We bless the time we had with our dear sister and thank all who have thought of her . “


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Good Joke Moonwater

Many years ago, after Moonwater saw the movie "Windwalker", there was a line in it she started to repeat that many of you know: "Good Joke Grandfather"! The humor & irony she said it with always made me laugh - & you know how contagious that laugh of hers was! And when she said this, it was usually accompanied by smiling that sparkly smile of hers, throwing her head back, & shaking a finger to the sky. I can see her & hear her do that right now - it's so easy.

As an aside, writing that just made me flash on those magnificently long, expressive fingers of Moon's (I was always jealous because I have such tiny hands). I could hardly take my eyes off them when she played guitar or told an animated story. The woman just had great hands period. Did you know that she had Simian Lines on her palms? Anatomically, humans are supposed to have two lines crossing our palms; in Palmistry, they're called the head line & the heart line. A Simian Line is when they're joined, & there's only one line. Interestingly, this is only supposed to happen as a result of a birth defect like Down's Syndrome or other ailments. When not associated with an ailment of some kind, a Simian Crease almost always occurs in men, not women (Being an RN, these statistics fascinate me). So, Moonwater truly was one in a million - I sure wish I could recall what her palm reader said! Even without remembering it though, we all know that Moonwater was magic. But I digress....

I wanted to tell you about "Good Joke Grandfather" for a reason: After a Tarot reading, sometime after seeing "Windwalker", Moonwater was told that she was going to die far away & all alone in some very remote place, with no one around her who loved her! She made constant jokes about it to the point where The Peanut Gallery would chime in: "Yup, we know, you're going to die all alone & far away", as we rolled our eyes.... At which point Moon would, of course, shake one of those slender fingers to the sky & say "Good Joke Grandfather". (She used the phrase quite liberally for all sorts of events & circumstances - and her timing & delivery was impeccable).

But when Moonwater was dying, as I held her hand & stroked her soft hair, I kept thinking: "Good Joke Grandfather, you sure pulled one over on 'ol Moonwater. She might be dying, but she's not far from home, & she's absolutely surrounded by loved ones & light". (So much for that Tarot Reader, whoever it was!)

And now, ever since I last saw her, I can't help but say to myself, when any fateful irony should come upon me, "Good Joke Moonwater - it's your turn now".

My love & blessings to all - Karen Drexler (The Drex)

Monday, November 5, 2007

yuck or yum

I first met Moonwater 30 years ago, in this life. I say this, because it seems that I've known her always. She was and remains my soul sister. In the time that I've spent with her, I have witnessed her touch so many peoples lives in a crucial way. She was really a Onederful teacher! I learned from her many, many things about living from a place of heart and atunement and intuition. It seems we spent a lot of time laughing together. One thing came to me as I compose this. I remembered when she spoke of making decisions based on whether it felt yucky or yummy . . . . . . . a very simple and basic way of following your gut. Sometimes when I have to make a decision, I hear her voice saying these words. It makes me smile. Moonwater makes a lot of people smile!

Friday, November 2, 2007


Welcome to Moonwater Celebration Central. A place to share thoughts, memories and get updates. Please leave any contact information you feel comfortable leaving or just email me directly at ryanjessamyn@yahoo.com I would love to add to the collection any pictures you may have if you would email them to me I will add them in. My mom was a very special and magical person in life and it should have been no surprise she was also that way in death. I will share more about that experience as I have time. Please share any memories or stories you have.