I am down one husband, two dogs and my oldest son.  Plus the chickens were eaten too.

I have learned to be grateful for the time I had with them.  It’s a way of tricking the brain into turning loss into gratitude.
The degree of grief is equal to the degree of love.  So, it’s immense.  And forever.  Love never dies.
And the ones still here keep me going.

I have a beautiful granddaughter that was born soon after we lost Z.  Margot has Z’s eyes and sometimes points at strangers and says “that is Uncle Z”.  I think she feels him way more than we do.  Out of the blue one day as she was sitting in my lap at age 3 she looked at me and said “WHAT HAPPENED TO ZAFER?”.  I was caught off guard and did not give her a good answer.  She is an amazing beautiful child.

From 2014

I have two boys and two girls and two dogs and one husband.  My life is bliss.  A girl could not ask for more.  They really are my raison d’être if you think about it…..

I fell in love with Lyle the minute I walked into a job interview with him….blue polyester suit and all.  He didn’t know it at the time, although he did hire me the next day.  And eventually I sent the suit to goodwill.  It’s been a passionate, dramatic life full of adventure and never ever a dull moment.
tami lyle
Jessalyn, my oldest belle-fille, is full of drive and ambition…she opened a broom factory one summer and learned to love the country.  Jess is articulate, a great writer and thinker like her Dad.  She is older than her years and has a huge part of my heart.  She constantly teaches me.  I have taught her about high threadcount…we have played “Luxury Suite” since she was little contrasting a broken down farmhouse with South Beach Miami hotels.  She decided after college that New York City is where it was at, so she went and made her way in that crazy city during the depression.  There she met the perfect man, Dan.  What a great addition to the family.  The cherry blossoms were calling and D.C. is now home.
family2jess little14 kids1jessanddanjessdanarloA measure of success for me is how well all the kids get along…the 4 littles as we call them, have deep respect and love for each other and enjoy each other’s company.  Makes me completely happy to see that.

Kaitlin is my spirited belle-fille…she comes up with wisdom that I’m always astounded by.  She has had some tough challenges from early on and is strong, resilient and she finds a way to meet her goals.  She is deeply sensitive, concerned about social justice, environment, capitalism and I think she’ll end up in a third world country leading an NGO some day.  We’ll watch her do great things that we thought were not possible.
weddingkaitlinkaitlintami kaitlinpool

Zafer is maybe the most like me….we are quiet, reserved, stubborn, and thinking and taking things in all the time.  He never liked school from the day I dropped him at kindergarten.  The teacher had to take me aside and say that he was having the worst transition of all the kids.  He is still counting the days until he gets out of 12th grade…only about 60 days left for him in a bureaucratic system that doesn’t make any sense for him or others.  He’s great at whatever he decides on….wins races without even training, loves a business challenge.  Charms the pants off of everyone.  Can’t wait to see his next stage.

Zafer Estil's Senior Portraits, 2013.zsmilemelissa mccayne
babiespig noses1kait z arlo1eno river1Arlo did have a really happy childhood despite the photo evidence….strangers used to stop me and tell me how cute my children were…and I did agree.  The other children refer to Arlo as Super Arlo, the mighty mighty.  He is in a category all by himself.  He is self-motivated, creative, wows strangers at first meeting and is sometimes a bit quirky….(from his Dad’s side, I’m sure).  Arlo encompasses pure joy and optimism and is an old soul.  He can read a situation and offer solutions that are incredibly sage.  Not sure where he’ll end up, but it will be interesting and stimulating.

dogs zatwater The children will be going to therapy about how many times I took them to parties and assured them it was dress up, only to find it wasn’t….but how fun were their costumes?!dressupparty1family50thGlen is the sensitive brother, Mark was the funny one and Jim is the good business brother, Lyle had many dates (I’m not repeating what they said…kind of crass).  We are happy that Glen is almost done with chemo and ready for sailing, coming to NC, jumping in Georgian Bay and getting back to enjoying his life….he deserves it.  We miss having him around.  Jim and Elizabeth are heading back to Canada and that is good for everyone.  Especially the babies!

glen jess10 beverlyhillbillieswindmillfamilywholefoods estillclanboobooandkateWhen you get married, you marry an entire family, a whole line of genetics.  I don’t think many brides think about exactly what they are getting into on their wedding day.  Thankfully, I married into an embarrassingly beautiful family (inside joke) and not only are they incredibly smart, they are super fun to hang out with….Don and Ann are pretty introverted and created 4 boys that love to play and work and are funny as hell.  From there, come the cousins and then they get married and start reproducing and so on and so on.  It’s a great family to be a part of.  Don and Ann are a model of two people that love each other and have been together for almost 61 years.cousins trampoline

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