An Open Letter to the Dead ~ Maura Cassiana DeSouza

June 23 1986 – May 19 2009


I have been attempting to manage my emotions for the past few weeks. Even my loftiest thoughts did not do me any injustice. My spirit has been restless. My soul feels broken and I doubt I’d notice if my body withered away. I have been that disconnected. I should know better. I should do better. I should focus on living, being present, evolving and growing. Your mother would want that of me. I want that of me.

And I know I should focus on the joy that is you. Your smile. Your laughter. The gift of your life. Sometimes I wish I were a Christian still so that it would make things easier. I could tell myself, “She’s in heaven.” Your family knows that. But what if I don’t believe in heaven? Where does that leave me?

And I know Maura. I know! You didn’t go away. Perhaps the body that we knew did. But your energy is in the ether. You find ways to reveal yourself in new ways all the time. There are times, when I swear, you have found me and I thank you for that.

But I’m just sad Maura. I am overwhelmed with my own humanity. But I’m trying. I’m trying to be present. To count my blessings and joys.

Did you know I moved to New York? I wish I had been here when you were here.

See, even when I try to remember a good thing, it just brings me back to you.

Maybe I never grieved and mourned. I remember crying last year but I remember being at peace. Maybe I needed to have an ounce of strength for Lydia in case she needed to borrow it. But now, I don’t feel powerful at all. I just feel weak.

And all the things I know to be true seem to not matter. So what I’m a survivor of sexual abuse. Who cares. You’re dead. So what I like artist and photographers and theater. You’re not alive to enjoy them with me.

I am being SO morbid. I know. I know better. You’d think I’d be an expert in death, greiving, mouring and loss. They say if you spend 10,000 hours doing something you are an expert. If I count all of my family and friends who have died and counted the hours I’ve cried plus the hours I’ve gone to funerals plus the weeks upon weeks of writing and reflecting, I believe it comes to well over 10,000 hours. My expertise is death, grief, loss and mourning.

Maura did you know that since James passed away almost six years ago I’ve been working on a “Death Play.” It doesn’t have a proper title yet but it involved me doing a lot of research on cultural and spiritual norms around death. I have stumbled across some amazing and intriguing information. I’ve written scenes and I’ve choreographed movement but every time I go back to edit this piece I begin to sob. How can I finish it if my soul can’t even handle to read it?

Last year was tough Maura! You died. And that really sucked. Then in June it was your sister’s birthday and your birthday and the five year anniversary of James death. A month later I had to have surgery and for a minute I thought it was because of cancer. It wasn’t but even just the thought made me cry out. And a month later my grandmother died. And Maura, I haven’t even cried for my grandmother yet. Its been months. It will be a year. But I can’t cry for her yet, because I will fall completely apart and its really important that I keep it together.

My goal for today is to think about your smile. To send the vibrations of a hug to your lovely mom. And to complete the mundane task of my day.  I could stand for a kind word becaus I can’t find a way to give myself grace.

Learn about Maura here: Maura. Life After. or Facebook.

Read previous SLY post on Maura below.

On Not Thinking About Maura

Katie and Maura Goes to Japan – beautiful video

Ashes and Paris – beautiful video

El Día de los Muertos. Maura DeSouza. James Franklin Pyles.

A Letter to The Living: Whenever Lydia Misses Maura

An Open Letter to the Dead – Maura DeSouza

Maura Desouza


For Maura

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