Love is…

Love Is …

Love is the greatest feeling,
Love is like a play,
Love is what I feel for you,
Each and every day,
Love is like a smile,
Love is like a song,
Love is a great emotion,
That keeps us going strong,
I love you with my heart,
My body and my soul,
I love the way I keep loving,
Like a love I can’t control,
So remember when your eyes meet mine,
I love you with all my heart,
And I have poured my entire soul into you,
Right from the very start.

-Amanda Barr

Sometimes it Lasts…But Sometimes it Hurts Instead


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“Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead.” -Adele

Todd Barr’s last birthday on earth. September 8, 2002

The photo above was taken at a surprise party for Todd Barr on September 8, 2002–his last birthday on earth. I wonder if the people in attendance that day know what a tremendous gift they gave him–just by being there to say we love you and we’re glad you were born. Todd told me (many times over the following days) that day was one of the happiest of his life. It was just like him to be so appreciative of something as simple as a birthday–something he should have had dozens more of.

Todd died three weeks after this picture was taken. He was 34.

A few days ago I attended a birthday celebration for my brother who just turned 57, and as with most ceremonial events in life (weddings, births, funerals and birthdays) Todd came along with me (in spirit) to the festivities.

It was impossible not to be reminded of my deceased fiance as I watched my brother celebrate his special day, but what brought Todd to mind most powerfully for me that evening was the fact that there were so many married couples in attendance–and all of them had been together for decades–happily–according to them.

My brother and his wife went to prom together in 1974 and they remain in love after nearly 40 years. My daughter and her husband met and fell in love in high school in 1996. My sister-in-law’s aunt met and married her “best friend” 19 years ago and another couple had been “matched” by my brother and his wife over 20 years ago. Of the married couples in the room, all but one (newlyweds) were in relationships that had stood the test of time, and the word “soulmate” came up in conversation over and over that night.

So, of course, I thought of Todd often, though I didn’t speak of him in that context. His name did come up, not in a discussion about love and soul mates (I find that bringing a dead fiance into those discussions tends to bring the level of joy down in a room), but in a discussion about swimming in the Pacific ocean and its danger vs. safety.

One of the women there was saying she would never get on a boat or even go on a cruise because she was afraid of drowning in the ocean. The old (pre-Todd) me would have insisted she was missing out on a beautiful relationship with the sea, and that she should maybe reconsider, don a good life-vest, and partake of the beauty and majesty of the open water.

The new (post-Todd) me doesn’t quite see it that way. The new me now understands and can relate to being afraid.

When I was a child, I swam and body surfed in the Pacific ocean with my brothers and sisters with absolutely no fear of any dire consequences. We would swim out to catch the “big ones” and ride the waves back to shore, sometimes rolling and tumbling in the surf when an especially powerful wave hit us. We often resurfaced tangled in seaweed, gasping for air and laughing with joy at the “fun ride” the Pacific can give.

I would never do that today. Nor would I let my children.

I told the ocean-phobic woman I thought she had good reason to fear the power of the sea, then I explained to her how my fiance Todd (a very strong swimmer) drowned in it.

She stared in my eyes for a long moment and promptly changed the subject. “You are not over him,” she told me.

I know.

One thing survivors of loss know is that you don’t “get over” the loss of a loved one. Ever. What you do is experience the grief, then move forward, slowly at first, until life returns to some semblance of “normalcy.”

Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’s grief model, commonly known as The Five Stages of Grief, lists 1) denial, 2) anger, 3) bargaining, 4) depression, and 5) acceptance (not necessarily in that order) as the stages a loss-survivor will experience over time.

I can testify to all five.

But, I would add a sixth (and possibly most potentially debilitating) stage that persists long after those five stages are traversed.

6) fear.

I don’t have anything wise or witty to say about it. I can only say that I remember what it was like to be fearless, and I miss that.

Happy Birthday Todd. I miss you. I wish you didn’t have to leave so soon.

An Amazing Blessing


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Via the miracle of the Internet, I recently discovered the cached pages of this memorial website that I created back in 2002.

Over the years, I’ve tried searching for it, but was unsuccessful and assumed everything was lost.

While working on my blog a few weeks ago, I stumbled on an Internet tool that lets you view your website at various points in history, and I searched my website and found that most of this memorial still existed! What you see here is that old memorial migrated into a WordPress theme.

What an amazing blessing to be able to revisit all of the messages and comments Todd’s loved ones left for him so long ago.

If you knew and loved Todd, I hope you’ll find something here that reminds you of that love. If you didn’t know him, I hope something here will inspire you to appreciate your loved ones–the living and those who have passed on.

♥ -Blue

I Wish You Were Here

Five years ago today you made a choice to answer a friend’s call for help. Although I’m not sorry you did what was right, I am sorry it means we all have to live without you.

I never knew it was possible to miss someone so much. Even after all this time, the hurt never goes away.

I wish you were here.

-Amanda Barr

(Reposted from here

‘The Whole Beautiful Sky…’

From the very first moment I met Todd, he never called me Kathleen. He always referred to me as “Blue,” and it was a name that held special meaning for us both.

A few hours before he died he told me, “Whenever we are apart and I am missing you, I have the whole beautiful sky to remind me…”

Now, I gaze upward.

Shattered Heart

Two years ago today I scraped my heart from the bottom of the Universe’s boot, convinced that it would never be in any condition to be of use to anyone.

Any man or woman who has known loss — whether through death, abandonment or betrayal — also knows the true miracle it is when a shattered heart consents to spiritual/emotional mending. It is a process in which time, tears and trust in Divine generosity conspire to weld the shattered pieces together again.

The question is, is a mending heart’s capacity to love forever decreased and diminished?

The answer is, no…

…but it might be terrified of boots.

‘I Will Forever Honor His Memory’

The loss of Todd from my life is indeed tragic for me and for those like me who loved him so much. In my eyes he was everything a man should be: God-fearing, considerate, nurturing, protective, encouraging, trustworthy, loyal, fair and authentically humble.

I will forever honor his memory — not just for the unconditional love he showed me and the high esteem he held me in, but for the way he always encouraged me to follow my true calling and to strive to become the servant God intended me to be.

As tragic as this loss is for me, I know his death is not tragic for him. I have no doubt where he is now. The condition of his spirit and his nearness to God is a source of limitless joy for me. It is only when I focus on my life without him that I am in pain, so I am trying to focus on the bounty God offered him in accepting him into the Kingdom as a hero. “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” ~John 15:13

Todd once told me, “To be sprung is to lust, to love is to know.” We often discussed the idea that when you really love someone it is actually the God in you that is seeking and finding the God in them. We are all made in God’s image, and His invisible qualities such as Compassion, Truthfulness, Creativity, Generosity, etc., exist in all of us in different amounts.

There are times when the human soul comes across a combination of qualities that causes it to be drawn like a magnet to another soul. Just being in that person’s presence has an uplifting effect and reminds you that God is great — Todd affected me in that manner — always encouraging me to be more of what God wanted me to be and always loving me unconditionally.

The presence of Todd Barr in my life – though it was for a much shorter time than I would have liked – is a reminder to me that God is the Most Generous, the All-Bountiful.

I pray that my life without Todd can somehow be as full of love and laughter as it was with him in it.

We Had it Like That

The night of October 1 Todd called me to say goodnight and to tell me how much he was going to miss me while I was gone. “What am I going to do without my baby for a whole seven days?” he said sadly.

I was supposed to go to Florida the next day to speak at a conference on racism, and I had been very busy preparing for my presentation. I didn’t want to go. I reeeeeeaalllly didn’t want to go. Todd told me to go and do God’s work. He always believed in me like that. He always encouraged me to share whatever gifts God gave me — to try to touch other people’s lives in whatever way I could.

Before we got off the phone, he asked me on a “date” with him that night. (He was very creative about showing me how much he loved me). He asked me to stop working on my presentation at 11pm and listen to this new slowjams disc we both had a copy of. He said that he would be listening too, and sending me his love. He told me to listen closely to the lyrics, because they say what he feels about me. I was so busy getting ready for my trip, I forgot to stop working at 11 — I stood him up on the last date we ever had on earth😦 That was the last time I talked to him – he died the next morning.

Needless to say, I didn’t go to Florida.

A few days after Todd’s death, he and I finally had our “date.” I listened to that slowjams disc — the songs were so perfect — “You’re my latest, my greatest inspiration…” “you’re the best thing in my life..” “this is straight from the heart, no one could ever doubt our love, it will last til the end of time…” I listened to those songs he chose for us and could feel him sending his love to me — we have always been spiritually connected like that. Over the years I often could not pick up the phone and call him, but all I would have to do is sit down and think of him, and my phone would ring and Todd would say “you, called?” We had it like that. I believe we still do.

3 Days Before he Passed


I last saw Todd 3 days before he passed. It was a great visit. We talked about when we first met – I was about 11 years old. (I am 17 now). We always talked about that first meeting. He always imitated me saying, “Is that your car?” I remember that day so clearly.

We also played Skip Bo – he almost won – he had one card left and mom (Blue) had about 18 cards left (who knows how many i had) Then all of a sudden my mom’s pile was getting less and less and Todd was like, “Oh man, I got one card left your mom better not win.” Like always she won. We all laughed about that.

I bought some starburst from the vending machines, and as soon as I started eating them my tooth started to hurt so he ate the rest of the pack. His favorites were the pink ones and the green apple ones. He liked Hot Cheetos too – he always got those out of the vending machine.

We also always had the conversation of when i get older. (He thought) I’m not going to want him to call me Lil’ Bit anymore. I said “nuh uh” that will never happen. He said “uh huh, When you have a boyfriend and I call you Lil’ Bit you’ll be like, ‘My name is Akira.'”

These are just very few of the “LIL” (YET HUGE MEANING) memories i encountered with Todd.
Love, Lil’ Bit —

I Love You Todd!

Akira Cross