September 16, 1934 –
February 10, 2005
Marie Rackham passed away, gently, in the arms of her dear friend and growth partner, David Mielke, on Thursday, February 10, 2005. She was 70 years young. She had been dancing with cancer since 2001.
When Marie retired from teaching in 1994, there was a retirement tribute. Everyone who was there remembers what a soulful evening it was – raucous, poignant, frolicsome, earthy and joyful – just like Marie herself. She said she had a front row seat to her own memorial, and everyone should be so blessed. She didn’t want another one after her death. She felt that people should express how much they appreciate one another all the time, every chance they get, while they’re still here – a rule she lived by whole heartedly, and whole hugfully – so she died with no regrets, or unfinished business. Marie’s favorite way of relating was on a one-to-one basis; she believed that was the best way to connect on a meaningful level. In that spirit David invites anyone who feels it would enrich or comfort them to celebrate Marie’s new adventure with some kind of event to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 287-3817 to set up a time to meet at Marie’s place / your place / the river / the beach / wherever. There is no time frame for this, just whenever, or if ever, you feel the need. These “mini-memorials” can be whatever you want them to be, whether it’s for closure, catharsis, a good laugh, a good cry, or a bit of each. David would like the experience to be unique and meaningful for you. Any ideas? How about starting with a glass of Marie’s homemade wine, and a chat about her extraordinary life story? It’s a story about someone who took responsibility for her own well-being; who never inflicted her personal bugaboos onto others; who eschewed the gerbil path to take the road less travelled; who pushed through her fears to take the actions necessary to wake up; who ripened instead of rotting; who told her truth, lived her truth, was her truth – alone, or in crowds. She was a master teacher whose ultimate lessons were about love, compassion, grace, and verbal ass kickings when necessary – like old age, she knew that growth-work was not for pussywillows.
Some of you may be interested in going to the website of the company Marie and David created together after her retirement from teaching, Splashes From The River, at:www.splashesfromtheriver.com where you can read Marie’s bio, (click on the “About Us” link), or view many production stills of Marie in action from the Basic Cozy Language Arts DVD series (click on a course title, then scroll down and click on the lesson synopsis links) she starred in, currently being distributed throughout the US, Canada, and twenty-four other countries.
Do you feel sad at the thought of never hearing Marie’s laugh again – that juicy, outrageous, glorious, fart-rattling force of nature? Aren’t you smiling right now thinking about it? How could you ever forget it? It will never die. We just have to get used to hearing it from the inside.
The best tribute any of you could give to Marie would be to go to the mirror, tell yourself how special you are, and keep doing it until you truly believe it.
In lieu of flowers or donations, get yourself a treat – Marie would say you deserve it!
David looks forward to your hugs.