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Understanding the true "essence" of those we love and hoping to emulate them so as to keep them always present!!
New Year Message to Stafford
|Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on February 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM||comments ()|
Allow those who have gone before us to be a part of our everyday life and lifeways during this new year - and the many years to come. They have merely passed through a different doorway and in my heart, I KNOW they await us when we take that same journey. I pray this year brings smiles and happiness to one and all. May all the strong winds be at your back and the roadway in front of you be filled with sunlight, love, laughter and good health!!
Memories of Christmases long ago!!
|Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on December 12, 2012 at 10:35 PM||comments ()|
Without the incredible support of my girlfriend from high school, (and her fabulous husband) Dec. 8th would have been near impossible to get through by myself!! It was a tough day but I know that Stafford was gently wrapping his arms around me and comforting me - knowing how his absence has left an incredible hole in my heart and in my every day!! Because he gave so much of himself, I am honoring his memory by sharing a "good night" message with friends and loved ones. I add them here:
12/12/2012 And then, there was yet another Christmas morning that I blew sky high thinking I was being very clever! Rather than put the names of each boy on their gifts, I wrote a number on each gift card! The boys then received Christmas cards with their "special numbers" written inside -- I thought this would stop the "peeking" in advance! It didn't! Rather - they had numerous discussions for at least a week in advance as to who was getting what! In any event, while they were unwrapping their "numbered gifts" that Christmas morning, I realized I had inadvertently duplicated a few of the numbers!!!! What a mess I created! . . . . . . "No Steven, that's for Stuart! No Stafford, that one is for Steven" . . . and so on!! Luckily there were only a few incorrect numbers and the unwrapping progressed! I learned a tough lesson -- "Let them peak!" -- and yes, they finally knew about "SantaMom" - and she didn't have a white beard or a big belly! . . . . .
Over the years we have discussed some of "Mom's hair brained tricks" and each time I promised not to do it again! :-) . . . . . . . . . (I admit however, that I wish I could think of something today that would be "hair-brained" just to see the looks on their faces!) . . . . . . . . . . Oh the pains of growing up with Mom. . . . . . . . . . . . Today I am pleased to say that the boys have chosen to take on the "rearing of Mom." They have taught me so much and each day I learn something new from them.
As I bid everyone a good night, I hope your dreams are filled with images of days that were filled with laughter, pranks, smiling faces and warm, loving hugs!!! Sleep well, knowing that someone, somewhere is thinking of you and sending hugs across the miles!
12/11/2012 While doing laundry, changing linens, wrapping packages, feeding the cats and the dog, emptying the garbage, doing up the dishes, taking a shower, squeezing in the newspaper and the weather report -- you know, those mundane things we do each day -- I found myself thinking about "gift giving" for the holidays. I ran through a list in my head and tried to remember what I had put aside for wrapping over the last few weeks. I realized there were a few gifts which still needed serious thought but rather than to sit and fret, I sat with a cup of coffee and allowed my thoughts to wander to past Christmas mornings.
I giggled a bit at the mental images of my boys' faces! Each year I tried to come up with something "unique" -- and it usually elicited moans and groans! I recall one year asking the boys to "humor me" by sitting at the kitchen counter and helping me recall all the names of all the animals we ever had! (Just thought it would be fun to try!) Wow! That was an incredibly time-consuming task! After much head scratching and "remember the cat we found at___________?" and "what ever happened to the dog that crawled through the fence, got fat and couldn't leave?" . . . . . the boys gave to me not only names of 85 animals (truly!!) but great stories and memories of times, places and events that molded their lives -- and mine! What a beautiful gift!. . . . . . .
As you drift off to a unique time and place in that peaceful place of dreams, I hope your tomorrow is filled with an event, a person or an incident that adds yet another unique ingredient to your individual makeup! We never stop learning, growing or improving! Children have had so much of an impact on who we are and I for one, am honored and thankful!! Remember, someone somewhere is holding your imprint on their heart and thinking of you!
12/10/2012 There was a chill in the air this morning for the first time "this Winter!" Had to put on a jacket in order to read the paper on the gazebo. Good sleeping weather now. Also that time of year to pull out the heavier sweaters and warmer slacks! I love Fall and Winter with all the earthy colors, crunchy leaves, brilliant scarves, cuddly warm jackets and furry lined coats, fireplaces, hot chocolate, steaming cups of soup and warm bread. Even the people on the street are more apt to greet you with warmer smiles!! . . . . . . .
I loved the evenings when the boys were little and crawled beneath the quilt with me to snuggle and get warm. Now, when I go to visit, the grandsons have replaced those little boys and we have "sleep overs with Gramma" where we tell stories, giggle and try to keep the volume down late into the night so we don't get in trouble! . . . . . . .
I recall other winter memories of back when, and even now, how many a snow angel was "bodily fashioned" by the boys and my grandsons. Little did I know that one in particular would become my beacon for the past year....and all my years to come! Those wings are wrapped around me and my heart is warmed!. . . . . . . .
Sleep well everyone. Let your dreams display memories of loving, laughter and enveloping arms so as to warm your heart against the chill of disappointment or heartache that may be lying in your pathway. Know that someone somewhere is thinking of you - and most certainly in Arizona!!!
12/8/2012 Stafford certainly works in strange ways! :-) He has definitely made certain that I would not be alone today in Phoenix so he sent my girlfriend (from 1957) and her husband (from the reservation) to be with me on this heavy day!! They arrived at midnight and we talked, cried and laughed until 4am!!
What an incredible blessing to have such unbelievably caring people drop what they were doing, throw a change of clothes in their car, get in and drive for 6 hours!!! (Not to mention that they both have pretty painful disabilities!) Not sure I've ever witnessed such an incredible display of sensitivity, caring, total unselfishness and compassion! Their presence and the effort expended on my behalf is an extremely humbling experience!
Thank you Stafford! I know you are here with me today and I am sharing your love with everyone!! Your depth of caring about humanity continues to reach back through the dimensions! You honor me so! When my turn comes, I shall hug you for all eternity!!! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Had I been aware of the gathering of so many who loved you . . I shall join my squeaky voice with theirs and sing your praises in Phoenix in my little rose garden along with JC and her husband --
His last words to me were: "It's okay, Mom. I love you ... and now I'm going to take a nap!"
In the end, his Creator was good to him and also gave me a beautiful memory!! . . . . . as I have said before, "I love Stafford today more than than yesterday, but less than tomorrow!" . . . . . . . . .
May the evening shadows bless you with a peaceful heart and with the warmth of loving family and friends!!!
12/6/201 Gazed at wispy clouds scuttling across the late afternoon sky and of course, mental images of holidays and kids begin to form. Obviously, my fist born's antics were impactful because I was a new mother with "no experience!" I couldn't help but grin to myself as I recalled a "heavy" incident that truly smacks of "Out of the mouths of babes!"
He was about 3-1/2 years old and we were saying our night prayers when suddenly he interrupted "Now I lay me down to sleep" and began to cry. I leaned over and asked: "Why are you crying?" Tearfully he responded: "I don't want you to die!" . . . . .
Wow! I thought. That's a tall order for someone so young. . . . I told him not to worry about me leaving because my grandmother and great grandmother lived to 100 and I had a long way to go. With that, we continued... "I pray the Lord my soul to keep". . . . . and suddenly, more crying! With that, I put put him on my lap and cuddled him and said, "Now, why the preoccupation with dying? We haven't lost a dog or a cat or a fish!?" He said: "I don't want to die." I tightened my arms around him a little harder and said: "You aren't sick, and you aren't dying. Besides, if you were, why do you not want to die?" (Unbelievable answer!!) With his little chin quivering, he looked up and said: "I'm going to miss myself!". . . . and there you have it! That is what we fear when we speak of death -- my 3 1/2 year old so many years ago succinctly analyzed and prepared me - the new Mom - for the inevitable. His wisdom has been a wonderful guidepost for me all these many years. .............................
With an appreciation for every sunlit day that we are given, sleep well everyone - and everything! I pray your "dream visitors" whisper words of wisdom to brighten your morrow and guide your footsteps! Someone somewhere is thinking of you!
12/5/2012 Looked at the calendar today - whew! Hit the internet and went shopping - hope gifts reach people on time!! ...... Sat back from my desk for a few minutes and replayed memories of Christmas shopping years ago. Spent two days in Reno running like crazy ... then drove back up the mountain to Tahoe trying to figure out "good hiding places" until I was able to wrap gifts. Never seemed to have enough batteries for the toys!! Circle K made a killing off of me on Christmas morning!....Years later, the boys confessed as to how they knew what they were getting under the tree! Seems a razor blade worked wonders on the wrappings and was easily replaced!!!! ...... they weren't so clever because they cheated themselves out of a great "surprise morning." ..... On the other hand, at age 3 on Christmas morning before anything was opened, I recall my oldest son's very touching response to: "Why are you rubbing the rim of Santa's milk glass?" He said: "I'm feeling for Santa's wetness!" Now that's belief!!! One of a zillion precious memories running through my head today!!..........
12/4/2012 The day started off with clouds - thought for sure we would get some rain --than "Poof!" Clear blue skies! Worked out well for me however. I spent at least 4 hours cleaning, sorting, tossing, rearranging my outside "carving area!" It has not been touched for about 3 years -- rather messy, to say the least! Felt good about the accomplishment! .....
Obviously I've been thinking about Stafford through all my days and the 8th is just around the corner -- one year since he began to "fly freely". I remember him saying to me that he felt fortunate in that he had accomplished so much in such a short span and had traveled extensively and experienced a myriad of "uncommon" situations, experiences, people, places and things! ... more than many by the time they reach 70!
If I do nothing more than mundane "little" jobs/accomplishments, I can leave this world knowing that my biggest accomplishment was 3 beautiful, caring and giving sons! I've been "paid back" with two incredibly sensitive and loving grandsons! I thank the Creator constantly for the "accomplished" gifts to me!!!
12/3/2012 Wow and double wow! I had to run errands today which I have put off for at least a week to ten days! Almost forgot how nutty the drivers are this time of year. Sugar plums definitely dancing in their heads. ......... I realized today that I have about 2 weeks before I hit the road again to Reno. Cannot believe that the holidays are upon us so soon! I will be engulfed with the delights of two small boys and look forward to watching them inhale their gifts and all that goes with the yuletide and cheer. ....... Headed for my pillow and a new book!
Hold on to what is good, Even if it's a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe, Even if it's a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do, Even if it's a long way from here.
Hold on to your life, Even if it's easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand, Even if someday I'll be gone away from you.
Dream the incredible dreams of love ..... and loved ones!
11/30/2012 It's been a relatively long day -- funny how I had a sigh of relief when I saw the sun set and the moon pop up -- it means I get to grab my pillow and head off to see my loved ones! In the meantime, wanted to leave you with a cute thought.... I was on a call this morning with a very dear friend in Los Angeles and I was telling her how I wish I could see the bueprint of my life ... I know it's there - I just don't get to peak at it. I said: "So many times I have pleaded for a note to fall from the sky telling me a thing or two about the various times of my life. She said: "I know why you don't get an answer! The problem is you're not requesting "airmail!" Duh!! So many years wasted with the wrong words!!!
On that note, I pray you have a very restful night! Keep your heart open to the universe and when you least expect, you may receive your own "airmail" from someone reaching back through time to say "I love you!"
11/29/2012 Somewhere I read that we spend (waste) time looking for happiness. Rather, engross yourself in something you like to do and before you know it, "happy" pops up its head now and then! I decided to try out this sage advice today.
After almost 3 years, I actually took the cover off of my carving table outside and started to work on a small piece of soapstone! After about 4 hours, my arthritic right thumb began to hurt so I covered up the table for the night. I must admit, as I worked, my thoughts were all over the place --- thinking about my Dad, my brothers, past events with my family and friends. I knew Dad, my grandmother, my two brothers, and Stafford were all sitting on the tree branch nearby, looking down and smiling!! I could feel their presence and --- I was happy!!!!
Now, as that beautiful full moon is rising and the day has drifted into shadows, I find myself pondering a strange realization -- a person can be happy and sad at the same time!
There are a number of friends and loved ones who are struggling right now with stressful events in their lives ... to them I send love and prayers and hope they know that the great thing about unpleasant times or events is that they are temporary....just like life! Grab on to that extended hand and accept the love and caring cradled therein! Love knows no boundaries and has no limits!!! Tie your woes to a balloon and let them drift off into the sunset as you grab your pillow and dream of times, people and places of now ----- then ------ and to come!
11/28/2012 All day today, I have been ever so tightly hugging memories of Stafford and I touch his photo in hopes that he feels even a slight mother’s touch wherever he is. Because he added so much to my life and gave me so many differing perspectives on life and the human condition, I am convinced that he was truly a "magnificent gift from the Creator" as he brought untold treasures to me and the world. I feel beyond blessed to have been able to call him “my child,” although he was only “on loan.” The memories of his beautiful spirit, generosity, and compassion for so many makes the pain of his loss somewhat bearable.
My grandmother always said: "Out of everything bad there is good - we just need to look for it!" Stafford has truly made me more aware of just how vital it is that we reach out and share love! As the rising moon sheds light upon the earth and adds brilliance to the trees and flowers, I send love and positive thoughts to one and all for a restful slumber and I pray your morning has a bit more brilliance and promise of a love filled day!
The beginning of the month that Stafford "Flew Above Us!"
|Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on December 1, 2012 at 1:05 PM||comments ()|
This is my favorite photo of Stafford -- his "talking eyes" and that incredible smile make me feel better - for awhile!
The mountain just won't budge!
|Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on November 20, 2012 at 10:55 PM||comments ()|
Stafford’s passing is a monumental loss and that mountain doesn’t seem to be getting much smaller! I just returned from Reno where I spent about 4 weeks with my grandsons, Brian - 10 and Kyle - 7. They are a blessing to say the least but alas, when they are off to school and I’m in the house alone, my mind cannot seem to focus on anything or anyone except Stafford. There is no formula by which grief and mourning can follow and of course, each one of us is so different in our ways of coping. Trying to “outrun” the thoughts and the reality have proven fruitless. It has become a time when I have found the true depth of friendship and family!................................... Sleep has become so important -- I squeeze my eyes tightly, hoping and praying to drift off and find that beautiful boy in my dreams!!! I cannot describe the horrible empty hollowness!!
10 months ago...................
|Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on October 9, 2012 at 12:15 AM||comments ()|
I awoke this morning - knowing! I tried not to open my eyes because I would then be committed to the day and the memories. I forced myself to concentrate on the preparation of the 40 booklets for my presentation on Nov. 1st in Reno. I got 95% completed on the front and back covers and ran out of ink on the printer. I took the 86 pages to the printer and this evening I finsihed printing the covers. (Less expensive to do them at home.)
While "out and about," I felt the need to stay away from the house for awhile so I ran a couple of inconsequential errands. Finally, I ran out of things to do so homeward I drove.
I know that Stafford was with me and knew of the heartache I was dealing with (as I do every day) and before I knew it, Steven called to chat and I also spent a few minutes talking with each grandson, Brian and Kyle. What delights they are and what a way they also have of "pirating my heart!"
Stafford was frequently in tune with me (even a zillion miles apart) and he would call and say: "Hey Mom, I was thinking about .......," and I would immediately respond: "Get out of my head, Stafford! I was thinking the same thing and was wondering what your opinion was!" I know today that Stafford was instrumental in the phone calls from Steven, Brian and Kyle! That's just the way he was! (And is!)
I took a respite from the house, the photo albums, all the memorabilia around the house and on my walls. At the last minute, I threw a change of clothes and my little dog into the car and drove to Albuquerque. I stayed for a week and fixed faulty computers and printers for my sister, Pat, and her landlord. Had many a chat with Pat about her daughter, Ann Marie, and my Stafford! Funny how life has worked out for her and for me! Here we are, both of us dealing with the loss of a child! Who would have figured!?!?!
Amazingly, the week went by fairly rapidly and before I knew it, I was back on the road & homeward bound.
The drive was good for me -- I listened to some fabulous violin music and I imagined Stafford playing! He was so happy with his violin and was learning to play. I never got to hear him except for a "scratchy" recording when he played one night with a group in New York . Now, while the pavement zooms beneath my wheels, I listen to the soulful sounds of the violiln, imagining that Stafford has advanced tremendously! I visualize his chin on the violin, his eyes closed and that half-smile upon his gorgeous face! What ecstacy for him to take a simple bow of horsehair upon some strings and create such celestial music! Before I know it, I've driven for 3 or 4 hours unknowingly! Fast journeys, and again --- because of Stafford!
Miss him??? Love him??? Go crazy because I know my phone won't ring again from him??? Is the sun our provider of life?
I fight constricting chest muscles, the burning throat with the lump! I force myself to take a deep breath and slowly exhale! All I can utter is "Stafford! I love you my precious boy! I miss you beyond explanation! I cannot comprehend!!!!!!!!!!!"
Just Another Sunday
|Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on September 23, 2012 at 4:45 PM||comments ()|
"Just Another Sunday" but I'm making it different than the usual. I've been browsing family photo albums and trying to pick out my favorites, although that is difficult to do because they are all my favorites. I have come across so many wonderful memories when the boys were just starting out and I've been doing a lot of grinning and remembering. I am sitting among books, albums, memorabilia, etc. and realizing how blessed I have been with the gift of three incredible sons.... (and now, 2 incredible grandsons!)
I've been sorting and sifting not only photos, but my memories as well . . . I recall my dream whle in high school, to merely "grow up" and get married and then have my own family in a quaint house with a white picket fence (Horrors -- how old fashioned!) I wanted the usual dogs and cats to go along with the children -- and I got them all -- and then some! I recall thinking how great it was going to be sitting on the front porch in my rocking chair with "Grampa" in his and all the little grandchildren running around the yard - in and out of the house.
Too soon the years fly by and too soon, without notice, life takes us on a different pathway! So often I have thought how great it would be to have a small peek at the blueprint. My sister Pat says: "We need to change pens -- how about red?"
On that note, more later..........................
|Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on September 21, 2012 at 12:45 PM||comments ()|
What ”another incredible letter!” You have made me grin and chuckle and Lord knows I needed all of that!
I have been re-reading your first email all day today and I recall Stafford telling me about his “desertion at the concert.” He was an incredible offspring in that he would call me constantly to tell me a “new story” and I remember how he elaborated upon the concert debacle. He told me that he wandered around for quite a spell looking for his ”ride” but his concern was more for you than himself. Of course, as you so eloquently stated, he had a way of seeing everything that happened as a new experience – “a potential story in the making,” if you will.
Somewhere in my memory bank, I see Stafford coming home to the Scottsdale house with a friend and I believe it was you. You may recall, (if it was you), that the house was shaped like a square “U” and in the middle of the “U” was a swimming pool. Stafford’s room was on one side of the “U” and he had a sliding door to the pool. My room was on the opposite side and I too had a sliding door. In other words, the rooms faced each other with the pool in between. In any event, one night I was in bed propped up and reading a book when suddenly my phone rang. I answered and heard: “Hi Mom! It’s Stafford.” Thinking he must be ”out and about,” I asked: “Where are you?” He said: ”Look across the pool!” I raised myself up and looked across the pool into his room. I could see him laying on his bed, propped up against the wall. He was waving at me and laughing on the phone. We sat and talked for at least an hour! (That was the beginning of many a ”pool” phone conversation!)
Of course, this was not unusual behavior for Stafford. He was always pulling out-of-the-ordinary stunts. While he was in high school, I remember he called one night and said: “Guess where I am, Mom!” I said: “You’re downtown Phoenix for the Young Republicans’ Convention.” He laughed a little and said: “Yeah I know but that’s not what I meant. Guess where I am right this minute!” Knowing he was once again up to something, I said: “I give up.” Without hesitation he said: “I’m in a suite in the hotel where the convention is being held. You’ll never believe whose suite I’m in and who is in the bed with me!” Confused and on the verge of concern I said, “What are you talking about?” Without hesitation he explained: “I was downstairs among the crowd and I got to speak with Senator Goldwater! His new wife, Susan, was also there. As we chatted, she said she was getting chilled and wanted to go to their room to get a coat. He invited me along and when we got to their room, it was freezing cold! The Senator said that we should all climb under the covers and get warm and so, we did – clothes and all!”
I was more than stunned and began to laugh at such a ridiculous story. He then said: “Hang on, Mom. Someone wants to say hello.” Before I could say another word, Senator Goldwater was on the phone and, as I recall, he said: “You have quite an interesting son.” (To say the least!!!)
About a year later, I spent an afternoon with the Senator (I signed him up to the Advisory Board of Native Peoples Magazine) and I reminded him of Stafford’s escapade. He said he well-remembered that “exceptional young man.”
Stafford honored me in so many ways and punctuated our connectedness through his phone calls from all over the country as he related his varied and exciting experiences. There are so many more “phone call” stories and episodes. I too will do my best to document them not only for myself and my other two sons (and to share them with you) but, I so want my grandsons to “know” their Uncle Stafford. Thank you so much for your emails!! You have truly been “Stafford sent!”
Experiences are potential stories in the making
|Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on September 20, 2012 at 3:50 AM||comments ()|
Letter 2 fromStafford's friend:
Yes, Stafford definitely was the "Electric Kid". When I met Stafford, I was only 18. I was from a small town (Globe), and I had never known anybody like him. Although he was high energy, it was all positive energy and innocent fun.
I was thinking about it, and I realized our friendship had such a big impact on me considering that the time frame was relatively short. It was the second semester of our first year at ASU when I moved into Manzanita Hall. So surprisingly, that means we were the best of friends for only about 5 months or so before he moved away.
I've been thinking about our time together, trying to remember more of it. Here is another incident that came to mind:
We were heading up to Flagstaff to go snow skiing, and Stafford was driving. The roads were icy and although Stafford was being slightly careful on the driving, it wasn't quite careful enough. We came around a corner and saw that traffic had come to a stop. Right when we saw the stopped traffic (having slid around on the road a few times already) we both knew we were gonna hit that car. In the about 3 seconds of time we had to process what was about to happen, Stafford calmly said "Dude, we're gonna crash." Now, the interesting thing about that statement is not the words themselves, but how he said it. Although I wasn't looking at him, I could tell by the tone of his voice that he must have said it with his eyebrows raised and a smile on his face. It was that slightly higher pitched, sort of happy and excited voice. As if we were about to experience something new and exhilarating! Well, he pumped the brakes, we started to slide and sure enough, we hit that car. It wasn't a bad wreck. I would have characterized it as maybe a "major fender bender". We were both a little shocked, but once again Stafford's positivity was overflowing. He was so excited that we just got in a wreck! A new experience, and a new story to tell.
Unfortunately there was a police officer that had pulled up behind us as we were all out of the cars, inspecting the damage. No major damage had been done to the person's car in front of us, so they said it was no big deal and they would just be on their way. But the police officer said he was gonna have to cite Stafford because the amount of damage to the front of his car was just enough to warrant a ticket. Stafford, once again with overflowing energy, said to the officer "No, no, nooooo!" (even waving his finger at the officer like a father disciplining his child) then he said "most of that damage was already there!" and he started pointing out invisible rust and explaining how it was clear that the damage was old. So, the officer thought about it and then decided to let us go without a ticket. After we got back into the car, Stafford was grinning ear to ear as he told me he had made all of that up about the older damage!
Here's another one:
Did he ever show you the news paper sports section that had his big smiling mug plastered across the whole front page? It was a home basketball game, and it turned out to be a big time win for ASU. Stafford had been one of the first to storm onto the basketball court after the final buzzer, and he was cheering, jumping up and down, and celebrating with one of the players on the court. Apparently, a journalist had snapped a picture of this and it ended up being a gigantic picture of him and the player together on the front page of the sports section!
I remember those days, and I was thinking to myself that Stafford had no idea that he was going to be gone at such a young age. Then I wondered, how would he have lived his life differently if he had known? But knowing Stafford, he lived life so much to the full that I'm positive he wouldn't have had to change anything. He packed so much "life" into his life, that even though I had only known him for a short time, I am completely certain that he made the most of it.
We spent a lot of time together that wasn't really "story worthy", and it was so long ago that my memories are slightly fuzzy, but I am now determined to remember more, and as things come back to me I will be sure to write it down for you (as well as for me).
Stafford IS among us!
|Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on September 19, 2012 at 2:35 PM||comments ()|
Received from a friend of Stafford's: (Further comment by me not necessary on this one)
I felt compelled to write to you and extend my heart felt condolences for the loss of Stafford. You may not remember me, but I was very good friends with Stafford during our freshman year together at ASU. We lived on the same floor of Manzanita Hall, and we quickly became friends, as we spent most of our time together for that semester.
I lost contact with Stafford after he moved out of Arizona. We didn't have cell phones back then, and the internet wasn't widely used for social purposes, so once he moved away we never talked again. Last night I was watching television when a name that sounded similar to Stafford's reminded me of him. So, I grabbed my iPad and quickly googled his name to see how he was doing. At first I saw all of the positive stuff. I was very impressed and proud of him for his successful career in theater and entertainment. Then I found out about his passing. Although I haven't seen or spoken to Stafford in over 17 years, I am sobbing as I write this to you.
Stafford was so full of life and positive energy. I have several fond memories of my time with Stafford. I have told the stories of the things we did together for years, and I would like to share a couple of those stories with you.
We often did day to day things together, like running to the store or grabbing something to eat. On one of these otherwise meaningless errands we jumped in his car ran to the convenience store. While there, Stafford said "Dude, lets buy a scratchers ticket, and if we win any money, no matter how much, lets go straight to Vegas!" Of course, I was totally down for that idea (Stafford was driving after all), so we bought the scratchers ticket and we actually won some money! So, and this may sound unbelievable, we headed straight to Vegas. We didn't stop to call anybody, nor did we go home to get a change of clothes. We just drove to Vegas without a second thought. It goes without saying that we had a blast (fake ID's and all).
Another time, we went to a Country Thunder concert down in Queen Creek. During one of the earlier acts, Stafford decided he was going to run up on the stage. Well, he did it and was able to elude the many security guards on his way up the grass to the stage. He got up there and shook hands with the lead singer of whatever band it was, and then was quickly escorted off the stage by security. They kicked him out of the VIP section, but he simply snuck back in on the other side and sat back down. I couldn't be out done by Stafford, so later when Faith Hill was on, I also ran by the security guards and made my way on stage and was able to dance with Faith Hill for at least 5 seconds. I could see myself on the giant Jumbo Tron dancing with Faith Hill!! It was awesome! Just like the Vegas thing, I would never have done something like that, but Stafford always had a way of inspiring spontaneous and memorable craziness.
That same night at the concert, Stafford and I had gotten split up. I started feeling a terrible pain in my stomach, and I couldn't find Stafford. I felt like I was going to pass out from the pain, and since I had driven us to the concert, I had to leave him and I was subsequently rushed to the hospital for appendicitis.
The next time I saw Stafford at our dorm and told him what happened, he immediately forgave me! He was such a positive person that even after having been left far from home, with no explanation, he didn't hold it against me. Apparently, he was able to bum a ride off of strangers all the way back to the dorms.
Most, if not all of the fun I had during those times with Stafford was totally inspired by him and his spontaneity, and I will never forget him.
Margaret, I am so sorry for your loss. I am so heartbroken, but I could never know what you are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
How do I find sufficient words in the English language to say "Thank You" for such an incredible salute to Stafford!!! I have always felt that Stafford had an incredible influence on people (and most definitely upon me) and I have always called him my "Electric Kid!" He always lit up every room and situation!
This is an incredible mountain for me to climb and I have yet to see the top. It’s an experience I have never had or dreamed of encountering!! However, your letter has added strength to my journey! Heartfelt thanks for your willingness to share my son's friendship and experiences. I was always so very proud of the friendships that he made throughout his life .. he was always aware of "good souls". Your "good soul" has truly brightened my day!!! I know Stafford is smiling!!!
Talking about and sharing Stafford’s life is incredibly important to me so as to “keep him among the living!” Once again, I cannot express sufficient gratitude for your heartwarming letter! I pray that Stafford continues to “tap” on the shoulders of those he knew and whose lives he affected. That alone tells me that he is merely in another dimension but still “among us!”
A step back into our Canadian Family - years ago
|Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on September 10, 2012 at 4:30 PM||comments ()|
This will be a little short -- but wanted to add a little thought before I forgot! I was "wandering through" some photo albums and came across what I feel is a remarkable memory -- especially considering that the three boys are descended from some very great "Clark" men!
About 1984, we took a geneology tour across the US and into Canada -- 7,000 mile roundtrip journey! I was determined to find my Indian roots and what surprises we found!
To begin with, a fellow by the name of John Clarke came to this country in the early 1700's. He "married" a white Indian captive, Elizabeth Mckenzie and they had a son, John Kinzie Clarke, Jr. in 1792. (Now known as the"Father of Deerfield, Illinois")
John CLarke married a second timeto Elizabeth McKee (sister to Col. Thomas Alexander Clarke) and they had Thomas Alexander Clarke who married a Huron woman, Mary Brown. (Her father was Chief Adam Brown)
Their child was George Ironside Clarke who became the Head Chief of the Wyandotte Nation (following his brother William R. Clarke who had been the Head Chief.)
George I. Clarke married a Huron/Shawnee woman and they had Richard W. Clark, who became Tribal Secretary. (The "e" in Clarke was dropped)
Richard W. Clark married a Huron/Shawnee woman and their son was Hiram Northrup Clark who became the first Native American to be Superintendent of an Indian Agency under the BIA. He was also a Founder of the National Congress of American Indians in about 1942.
Hiram Northrup Clark married a White Earth Chippewa woman and they had my father, Richard Charles Clark.
Not until recently did my oldest boy, Steven, remind me of something I had not realized: My three sons and my sister's 2 daughters are the first generation of Clark offspring to be born "OFF" the reservation!
I have some photos of the three boys scouring headstones, etc. while on our month-long journey. (More later.......)
On the other side of the 9-month fog, he IS because I AM!
|Posted by Margaret Clark-Price on September 7, 2012 at 1:50 AM||comments ()|
Grief and mourning from the loss of my "Electric Kid," Stafford Alan Clark-Price, is beyond explanation. My mind races with the mental images of him through the various stages of the horrid cancer that he so valiantly and vigorously fought. In my mind, I see his face contorted with pain. I see him smiling as he bravely put one foot in front of the other albeit difficult at times to not just walk but to get up from a chair. I see him with a far-away look in his eyes as he wrestled with his mortality. I hear his voice when we talked for hours on the phone, trying to make sense of a senseless situation. I hear his tear-filled voice saying: "Mom, I don't know how to die!" I see him smiling up at me from his bedpillow, gasping for breath, but yet, caring about and consoling me with his words: "Mom, I'm still fighting!"
9 months ago on December 8, 2011, my precious and youngest son, at 35 years of age, took flight ---- he rose above the pain and left behind a devastated body that could no longer survive the ravages of a cancer that was determined to end his earthly presence.
I have no answers (or "how to's") for coping with such a loss. I only know that I have not ever been here before and there are no manuals that can tell me the number of steps to take through the grieving and mourning process or how long the journey will last. I can only love my son more each day while I miss his voice, his laugh, the details of his aspirations and dreams and our many lengthy conversations.
This journey is torturously long and the mountain is steep but I climb each day a little easier with the faith and knowledge that I will see my son again. Right now, I feel he has "passed" from this life into a dimension that allows him to be by my side 24/7.
I remember a particular conversation with him years ago in which we talked about our individual perceptions of, and our ties to, people in our lives who are dear and occupy special places in our hearts. If they were to be far away and beyond any of our sensory stimuli, would they truly exist? e.g. If a tree falls in the forest with no one around, is there a sound? (We discussed so many topics.) I concluded - for me - that no matter where my loved ones are, their "essence" is carried in my heart, brain, muscles, sinew and in the very DNA of my soul. Our loved ones meld into and become a part of our own "essence."
As I sit here at the late hour and type away, I am somewhat comforted knowing that Stafford's "essence" is - and always will be - an integral part of my being, my living and breathing and existing. He IS because I AM!
I think constantly of his impact upon my life and all that he taught me through his lifeways. He shared with me his philosphies, perspectives on life, his dreams for his country and fellow man. He felt fortunate his acting career gave him the opportunity to influence numerous theatre patrons and fervently hoped he was able to impart an understanding of the human condition. He once told me: "Mom, I'm not an actor -- I'm a story teller -- and through the stories, I would be fortunate if just a handful of people in the audience grasped a little more understanding of the human condition and felt a new awareness of their world and environment after the final curtain."
Stafford was passionately dedicated to everything he did, and looking back over the years, it all began at a very early age.
I promise to elaborate. For now, accept this as a first step for me in sharing with you, my grief and love for my son. I truly feel that through this act of sharing my pain, my love, my heartache and my joy of memories, I share Stafford's love with you. His love was magnificent, encompassing and boundless. Coupled with his ever-present essence and eternal love, he will see to it that Mom conquers the top of the mountain in due course.
Now I lay me down to sleep .......... my memory banks will be better refreshed for recollection and recordation. Stay tuned and - meanwhile, be not afraid to love. It will enhance your own "essence."
I AM A FIREFIGHTER by my son, Steven T Clark
|Posted by Margaret Clark Price on February 27, 2009 at 1:15 PM||comments ()|
I AM A FIREFIGHTER
Steven T. Clark
I work 24-hour shifts. Yes, I am allowed to sleep at the station, but the likelihood of me getting a full night’s sleep is 50% at best.
I work the equivalent of 15 months a year when compared to a standard 40-hour job.
I’ve missed my oldest son’s first steps. I missed my youngest son’s first words. I’ve missed both of their birthdays twice. They are 7 and 4 years old.
I spend a minimum of one third of my life away from home. My wife sleeps alone more than 120 nights a year. I don’t get to tuck my kids to sleep at night at least 10 times a month. In the span of a 30-year career, I won’t be home for 10 of those years.
I have delivered babies on couches, on bedroom floors, in the back of an ambulance and in a driveway.
I’ve had men, women, children and infants die in my arms. I’ve had to tell parents that their child is dead.
I have physically picked up body parts and placed them in bags. I have shoveled the remains of a person killed in a gasoline tanker explosion into a steel bucket. I know, firsthand, what a decapitated human being looks like. I have seen literally hundreds of dead, dying, mangled, burnt and broken people. I have felt someone’s last heartbeat and heard their last breath. I’ve looked into the eyes of a dying man and knew I was the last face he saw.
Countless times I have been a part of the process that decides when to stop trying to revive someone and let them finally die with what little dignity they have left.
In the course of my duties, I have been sprayed and splattered with virtually every type of bodily fluid and secretion the human body can produce.
I have chronic, work-related back pain that required surgery to repair and will plague me the rest of my life.
I have a 50% higher chance of getting divorced than the national average.
I have a 3.5 times higher chance of getting cancer or some other potentially fatal systemic disease.
I have a life expectancy 10-15% lower than the national average.
I have cumulative Post Traumatic Stress. I have had bouts with chronic nightmares.
I show up when someone is having the worst day of their life and I do my best to stop or reverse the process.
I don’t do this because I want thanks or glory. I do this because, without me, someone who could be alive won’t be, and because I simply can’t imagine doing anything else.
I am a firefighter.