A note left on my computer 6/16/1999 from Mary Mathis AKA Liz Barrera to me.
At the time we were going out and having some rough times....
I just thought that I would say hi to you since I'm sitting here in your chair looking for a song on your computer. Why aren't you picking the phone up? I really need to hear this song. Are you there? Please answer.
That talk I had with you yesterday was really good for me to have. I'm sorry it had to become a fight and that we both reacted the way we did, but I guess that I had to be that way.
This is sort of funny, I see a Caprice everyday and I think about you.
It seems that I have seen more that look like yours now than I ever have before. Is it okay for me to say that I miss you? Do you miss me?
you miss feeling me next to you in bed when you wake up? Do you miss seeing me
at your office everyday? :) Do you miss my face and the good times we did
have every once in a while? Going to Shari's and eating french toast, always
getting a RootBeer when I got a Pepsi? I miss your face, but you know what, I
will be your friend for the rest of your life and maybe even more
someday. This is so hard for me to deal with.
I'm so glad that I have friends that help me through these times. I think that everday I am becoming stronger and the day we talk....more than talk, when we get to know each other, you will see Mary once again.
I want to prove to myself that I am a person of worth and I am living because somebody thought of all the great things that I could, can and will do. In my past was a very strong person, and she never went away. She just went into hybernating. She's waking up from her dream and is going to show the world what is up with her.
I'm beginning to love myself. I like what I see everyday I look in the mirror and I'm ready to see what I see in the mirror. I'm ready to be happy and no more sadness in my life. And unfortunatly for us, I have to be away from you to realize that I'm doing this for me and not for you. Brian, I love you. I know you love me. Lets show our love for each other when we're both ready. :) *hug*&*kiss* Thanks for being there for me everytime I needed you. It means the world to me. :)
Never forget that I will always be your snowflake. I will never melt or go away when Summer comes. I won't be here only when Winter is here.
I'm a snowflake for life and I'm your snowflake for life.
Mary Elizabeth Mathis (Liz) Barrera
November 20, 1980 - April 4, 2007
Rest in Peace, my Snowflake.
I went back out to Scottsbluff NE and Torrington WY, as I normally do every year. The difference, however, and shockingly apparent to me this time, is that Mary aka Liz, is no longer of this earth. I never could have imagined how startling and
awakening the emotions, feelings, memories, and realizations would be until I got there and they came to me.
I can't explain it, well, I can try but it won't be easy.
Imagine driving down a street, looking at something as innocuous as a laundry mat and instantly thinking "i remember standing
here next to her folding laundry" or driving up a road you don't normally go on and thinking "only blocks from here is where we sat on a cement dock looking at the North Platte river, the first week I ever knew her in 1994".
Seeing a closed down Hardees, knowing one day you stopped at this restaurant when she had no idea you were living 30 miles away, and left the ring she had given you a year ago for her as a surprise to let her know you were close by. And the other Hardees in Scottsbluff, now a closed failed reattempt as the Kings Buffet, remembering the many times I stopped by or "drove through" to say hello. And Papa Johns, Sharis, and Safeway, all where you worked. Going to Country Kitchen, Whistle Stop Cafe, the old Subway -- all the places we used to go to grab a bite to eat. U Save, now something else, where we went shopping. The car wash in front of Coop where I always washed my car.
The smell of the sugar factory, and how familiar and welcoming it is now, and how repulsive and disgusting it smelled the first time we met. Kelly's Super, you running into the door and breaking your tooth in 1994 -- the same door I walked through last week.
And back in Torrington, driving down W 27th and passing the very house, next to the old 7-eleven turned Kum and Go across from the old Ranch Market, both now closed, remembering the time you drove there without telling anyone, just to see her, because you couldn't contain the feelings of being without her. Parking in front of 7-eleven, jumping out of the car, calling her from the payphone, then hurdling over the fence, around the toys in the park, and shaking with nervous excitement.
Getting gas at the TTT, where you and me and your dad had lunch one time, and I confessed my feelings for you to him.
Driving on NE 92 to a WY dirt road to cut over to US 85 to visit her at her foster parents' house, and the times later following her back in her red 92 or 93 Cavalier.
Alco now closed, where I bought her that amazing yet simple yellow dress that she looked magnificent in.
Bringing you down to Fort Collins for your birthday, just because, and getting the hotel room. Eating at Perkins, and going to King Sooper. And the mall to exchange the green dress my mom got you to JC Penney to get a smaller size.
Finding a "real" pizza place in Cheyenne and getting dinner. And another time, driving back from Cheyenne on I-80 towards the Nebraska border, counting over 20 shooting stars.
Going into the mall next to the Wal Mart entrance.. which is now closed, they moved across town to a Super Center. The first place we stopped after I landed was there, I bought a CD "18 Rock Classics". The first song, Bad Company, Feel Like Makin' Love. How that song now symbolizes that entire experience. Sitting on the bench in the mall in front of that entrance, wanting to hold your hand but too shy. Bench now gone. Also gone the virtual reality ride they had there.
Driving past my old apartment, where you lived with me. Where we had the good times, and bad times. Your car parked right there. The night the fireman knocked loudly on the door at 330, yelling "Get out of the house. The house is on fire!". Or when you came over to seek comfort and comfort me 6/27/1999 when the tornado and golfball-sized hail was falling, even though we were broken up at the time. How safe and happy I felt, that hug, the smell of your hair, the smile on my heart, frozen in time that moment knowing you, despite having separated at the time, felt the need to be with me.
Stopping and meeting my aunt outside Chicago. The quickie in her bathroom. And driving; going through downtown Chicago during rush hour, while my car hit 77,777 miles. The happy-face watertower and windmill in Iowa. Going up Highway 26 from Ogallala: Bridgeport, where you cross the tracks. The time the train exhaust got into my head and made me nauseous, and you drove the rest of the way back. Seeing the city from 10 miles away and remembering the time I had gone back to New York for Christmas and New Years 1999/2000; coming into town talking to you on the cell phone and the happiness I felt to be able to see you again.
(I miss the fact that I used to be able to know that you were around and reachable, at least via online. And that now, if I ever want to reminisce with you, I can't. On my next trip, I will try to visit more places where you were during our time that I have not been, to get as many pieces of the puzzle that I can. I don't know if doing that will solve anything, but it will make me feel that much more complete. I want to see the rock in Steamboat Rock, IA that you carved our initials within a heart. I want to visit your final resting place. I will someday.)
Going back to Scottsbluff is a mandatory trip for me each year. It reminds me of how much one person can change the course of another. The friends I've made, the places I've been, none of that would have ever happened if had not been for her. And before her, those who's introductions that eventually led me to know her, and since her, the people and places and moments I would not know now had it not been for her.
I'm sure I can pull 5000 more snapshots of my mind from this trip, but you, the reader, get the point. And, this other point: These are all memories frozen in time that no one will ever be able to take away. Mary and me had our moments, and these moments are just one of many layers of bricks put down upon our foundations that are part of the structural integrity of the houses of who we are. I am grateful she is a part of mine. I am glad I was able to be a part of hers. Her influence on me is more than she probably ever could have realized. I'm glad to know that, probably just as much, I was a part of hers.
After Mary and I went to follow our own paths in life, those paths leading to newer, higher layers of the foundation, those layers bringing with them more happiness and more experiences that will forever be a part of the foundation of not just our lives, but the others whom we've touched. Even after she has gone, her being is permanently woven into the fabric of all of us.
Mary, you will always continue to influence us, because you are a part of us. And whether people realize it or not, if you knew them, you're in them forever, and many joyous and wonderful experiences happened to them because of you.
Nebraska will always be a part of me, because you are a part of me, and I cherish every moment I am able to reflect and appreciate it, then, now, and in the future. Thank you, Mary Mathis. I am glad that I realize how much of me is me, because of you.
I never understood the meaning behind the U2 song "With or Without You" until this trip.
I said to Matt, my former employer and friend, while there last week, "if it weren't for her, we wouldn't be sitting here right now."
And, I wouldn't be sitting here right now.
You, the reader, wouldn't be sitting there right now.
See, she influenced your life, too. :-)
I posted this to Mary's oldest sister's blog at http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=129279034&blogID=258616133 and she erased it... so here it is here:
Mary will never be gone. She can't be, because the foundation on which we stand today as an individual is built by the many experiences of our lives, and people that affect it, including Mary, especially. We would not be who we are if not for her existence.
As long as I am alive, the parts of my life Mary was in are always there and always will be a part of me, and that makes me smile because that can never change. I am happy and honored to have known her, and undoubetly, just as she lives on in me, for anyone who was lucky enough to have her in their life, she will live on for you too.
http://www.djbrian.net/archive/1996_June/ss.html how we met
http://www.djbrian.net/archive/blue_snow8/ Mary's web site from 1999-2000
http://www.djbrian.net/archive/snowflake/ a web page a writing of Mary's from 1999
http://www.djbrian.net/archive/soulmate/ a page I made in 1999 and updated in 2000
http://www.djbrian.net/archive/where/ a writing of mine, kind of an "update" of my life from October 2000, mentions Mary and her involvement in my life at that point.
I made reference in some of the things I wrote to the fact that Mary (Liz) and I had made peace with one another. I am not sure if you are familiar with this.
In the last year, Liz had started taking an interest in what was going on with my life. I found this very suspect, as typically she would get involved with my business indirectly through friends by asking very poking questions to engage responses that would ultimately allow her to look into my life. I found this intrusive, and told my friends if she asks about me not to divulge so much. It was during this time she found (new) Mary, and started talking to her. Mary was cool about it, because she would always share the conversations with me. And again, I advised her it would probably be best for her to not share any personal details of her's and my relationship with Liz.
As Liz got more intrusive, comments began appearing encrypted within her blogs.
I found this immature, and was semi-threatened as if being attacked. My first inclination was to be defensive, or shut down and ignore it, but, I didn't do that, and instead dug deep into my soul to find the right words to tell Liz how I felt, always felt, and clear up the misunderstandings that were born from our relationship and had become permanent fixtures in her mental process.
"I love looking back and seeing the difference. I have to say that God sent the right person into my life to change me. Oh, but I didn't accept it very well once I saw what was going on. I tried as hard as I could to get rid of him and kick him out. Hurt him, push him away.... I even left. It's so weird. Change can be so scary. SO FRIGGIN' SCARY you feel like you're stuck in a horror movie. But, guess what? After fighting it for two years, there was peace and comfort and love and then the change. I accepted it all and here I am. Fat and happy. lol. Imagine that. fat. fat and happy. Can those two really come together like that? fat and happy? Who knows. All I know is that it didn't come before. Starving myself was great and it felt good. It felt like I had something under control and I could do anything I wanted as long as I was starving. But look. fat and happy. I might not be literally fat, but I'm just fat and literally happy with everything. I have a wonderful husband (a man? I have a wonderful man????) (that's weird saying that) and I have a wonderful son. (look at that, another wonderful man in my life) I'm fat and happy.
So, it's been four years since he came into my life and two years since everything has fallen into place and things are going well. Family. I have my own family and I'm not scared of hurting them anymore. I mean, I'm ALWAYS scared how my son turns out, but I'm not afraid that I'm going to hurt his being just having me as his mother. % years ago, yeah, that wouldn't have happened.
So there's this girl named Mary out there right now, doing the exact same thing I did. Killing herself and who she is to try to make herself happy cause he's not happy with her. What an ass. She's so beautiful and young and has so much going for her, but unfortunately, she met the ASS. (he get's special capitol letters for that) I wish I could save her and show her what real happiness is and let her have a taste of it. Let her taste what being fat and happy is like. But, if it can happen to me, then I PRAY to GOD it can happen to her. Let her be fat and happy."
My response is at the following link. She almost never saw it, as she had blocked me from being able to communicate with her, so my letters to her to read it were never seen. Thank goodness I have friends who she befriended through me who she still talked to...
By getting this out, it
really helped me move on past issues I had, as well as, hopefully, her as well.
So, when I say that I'm handling it okay despite the blatant tragedy of death, it is because she went to her grave knowing the truth, and I can go on living with the peace of mind that she knew and was able to forgive me, and me forgive her.
Of all the hours we've spent talking about your years with Mary in the past two years, I felt like I knew her too somehow.
I'm really sorry, Brian. I can't imagine what you are feeling right now. (yeah I know that's the biggest death cliché ever, but that's all I can say right now).
It's amazing how the roads of life go in so many different directions, and the routes of billions of different people may never cross... yet, many do. Once in a while, the route someone travels merges and travels with yours down the same road, for at least a little while... and then, sometimes as quickly and unexpectedly as they merged, they separate, and one path skews away from the other.
I found out my first true girlfriend, first true love, Mary Mathis aka Liz Barrera died on Tuesday April 4, 2007. I dare say a part of me may have also died that day, but actually, not really. If anything, I can grieve for the loss that her husband, beautiful son, and family are feeling, but more importantly, I can smile for what I am so glad I have and will never lose of her.
I first met Mary via the phone while talking to her older sister. Summer of 1994 I started to like Mary, and we talked on the phone many nights. I had to meet her, and spent all the money I made working at an amusement park all summer on a plane ticket. November 19, 1994 was the date, and I will never forget anything from that moment forward until she permanently moved out of my life in February 2001. Mary was a major part of my life for almost 6 years.
It is really hard to explain the attachment I keep with her even years after our paths took different directions. Through our tough times, I was taught the greatest gift that one can receive in their lives, if you're lucky enough to get it: how to love. I owe this to Mary.
Liz, after we went our separate ways, did not have a direct impact on my life, but, her influence remained as a presence now and always as the girl, love, relationship that helped to shape who I have become today. Every moment that goes by; something that happens in my life today, always holds a piece of something, or in some strange disconnected way, can trace its roots back to a snapshot in time that Mary and I shared. Whether it is a place, a song, a feeling, a certain look no matter whom with, a smile will brieflly appear on my face as I remember a specific link in time; a deja-vu-ish memory; an ironic, coincidental mental image that flashes upon the back of my eyes -- it is Mary.
Although she is now gone from this earth, I will not miss her, for she has and always will be here with me, the way I remember her, for her image was placed in the wet cement that became me, the times we shared, and the lessons learned that have cured into the concrete foundation of the person I have grown to be. My life as it exists today would not have been possible without all that we shared. She has been and always will be a major part of me.
She was an awesome human being, not only because of the influence she had on my life, but for all who's lives she touched. I am greatful she was able to grow, love, gife life, and realize how wonderful and important it all is, and share it with every person she ever came in contact with.
Mary Mathis aka Liz Barrera
November 20, 1980 - April 4, 2007.