Friday, January 16, 2009

Leslee Morabito

I just received word that Leslee Morabito died yesterday at her home in Trinidad, California. She was recovering from breast cancer when, suddenly, after the holidays, her condition worsened and she was gone. She died surrounded by her adoring husband, son, and pets.

For those of you who may not remember Leslee, she was a steady presence and office support for Nancy Bush, the first and only full-time, paid Secretary of the International Association For Near-Death Studies (IANDS), when it was located in the Psychology Department of the University of Connecticut, in Storrs. I met Leslee on my first trip to this hallowed place back in 1981, the year I began writing the column "Coming Back" at the behest of Kenneth Ring. The column was published in "Vital Signs" magazine - what became a five-year run. We bonded immediately and have remained good friends throughout the years since. We shared a hotel room at an IANDS conference not too long ago, a stay I treasure because it enabled me to re-establish old ties and enjoy again this incredible woman - a spunky, loving, honest and very real angel come to earth. When you meet someone like this, you don't forget them. And I can never forget Leslee. Thank you, dear one, for blessing me with your presence, your joy, and the sound of your voice as you told your stories and laughed. – PMH

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At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Tory MacDonald and I am Leslee's sister. What a beautiful tribute to her! I remember her talking about her trip that you mentioned. I was so happy for her that she was able to get away and enjoy it!

THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts and feelings about her!

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am Leslee's sister, Tory, and I just want to thank you for all the wonderful things you said about her! She was an amazing person and I am going to miss her terribly!

At 3:16 PM, Blogger PMH said...

Dearest Tory. Please know that many of us loved Leslee, and we loved her with all our hearts. Leslee and I were room-mates at the last big IANDS Conference. I can’t begin to tell you how much it meant to me to see Leslee again, to hug her and laugh with her. She is and will always be a treasure. Blessings, PMH

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for getting back to me. We have had her memorial service here in CT last week (Feb 16th)and I am still trying to adjust to her not being her (physically) any more. I have been blessed with visits from her though so that makes me HAPPY!! I would like to share with you the AMAZING eulogy that her friend "Cha-lee" gave at her service here. It is as follows:


When I was asked to do the eulogy, a remembrance of Leslee…I was honored and taken aback with this enormous task ... for how do you describe a current
of wind, or the light from a star, the majesty of a whale or iridescence on a dragonfly’s wing? They’re there.
You can feel them, see them, sense them, be touched by them, and reflect on them. But how do you capture in words such a presence?
In my attempt, I will tell you that Leslee was/is a force
of Divine nature; a huge drop of God infused with gentleness and power and I know in my effort to describe her spirit through words I run the terrible risk of losing precious drops of who she was.

I have often said when someone dies we create what I call a memory soup. We season our remembrance with who the person truly was, with who we wished they were, with parts of who they never were but we fill things in to smooth out their rough edges. Leslee’s life was such, that no editions, deletions, alterations or modifications are necessary. She was a masterpiece; a jewel whose many facets took the form of wife, friend, daughter, sister, mentor, sage, counselor, listener, healer.

Her skill in all these arenas only left us wanting more time with her. My Friday talks with Les are and will be some of my finest life’s treasures.
The Iron chef or Rachel Ray or Paula Dean or Bobby Flay would be hard pressed to deliver the culinary expertise of Leslees freshly brewed espresso infused with sambuca which guided our talks to the highest level of insight and humor and enjoyment ... our conversations became journeys. Accompanied by toasted small breads drizzled with olive oil, fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes, topped with goat cheese ... my stomach and my mind wanted every day to be Friday. We talked about nature, animals, God, love, blessings, family, politics, and challenges in this human form.

She could deliver answers that made you go deeper with your own question or deliver an “I don’t know” with such peace that you felt you had found an answer.
But without fail, at some point in our conversation, her eyes would fill and then there’d come sweet tears ... of love or pride or joy or gratitude or all of these and into the conversation would come the name of someone she loved.

Friends like: Linda, Robin, Brian and Charlene, Skeets and so many others whose names over the years I can’t remember, but three people were always mentioned regularly.
There was Tory with what she was doing at the bank, or her devotion and love for horses or “did I tell you what an excellent photographer she is” and “oh I am blessed to have her as my sister”.
Or Seth ... Dear Seth ... I would make her tell me over and over again the mountain story because she told it with such relish and such cherish.

How Ed and she took you up the mountain as a little baby just as the sun was waking from the night and they held you up to the heavens as an offering to the Divine. And did I tell you that Seth is studying Arabic, or Japanese or whatever language, my memory may be confusing the names of those languages, but I am not confused about how amazed she was by you Seth, and how she held you so completely in her heart that I could close my eyes and see you. Or “Cha-lee did you know that only a handful of students were chosen for this school on bookbinding and Seth got in or Seth got a job with a start up company or Seth is in love and I am so happy for him.”

And then there’s Ed. It would take over an hour to condense all that Leslee shared. She cherished and adored you. Her words were as gifted in speaking of you as your hands are to wood and metal.
“He is such a spirit Cha-lee. He is such a soul and so generous.”
If there was any wavering in her joy when she talked about you, it was occasionally when she would say with some sadness “Oh Cha-lee, if only Ed could see in himself what I can see in him, around him and through him. I am so blessed.”
The outside patio that you made with the water falls and lily ponds, which drew fishes and frogs, dragonflies and butterflies, squirrels, chipmunks and raccoons ...Les would say,” why would I need a vacation when I have all this?”
And then the bowls, or the wands, or the plates that you’d make, she would always show me the latest carving and tell me from what wood or the latest scrap of metal that would be part of a new sculpture or “I’m going to help Ed paint this one or he will be written up next month featuring his work or he’ll be showing his work at such and such a show or Paul Newman bought some of his pieces” or ... and on she’d go.

Ed, Seth and Tory ... you three were her holy trinity.

Oprah Winfrey once had on her show a boy by the name of Mattie Steppaneck who was crippled with muscular dystrophy and died before his teens. When he passed away, Oprah did the eulogy and at one point she said…. all my life I have believed in angels.
I have felt their guidance, heard their whispers and seen miracles in people’s lives, but I’ve never had the opportunity to meet an angel face to face. Truly, she said, I did the day I met Mattie who has forever changed who I am.

I won’t put a title on Leslee as angel or evolved soul other than to say she was a Mighty Blessing from the Universe for all of us fortunate enough to have known her and will continue to know her in her changed form. I would urge us all to listen to the current of the wind, look for the light from a star, the iridescence of the dragonfly’s wing, the sighting of a whale because ... she’s there, ... she’s there..

Before Leslee died, I went downstairs knowing that her time here on earth was quickly vanishing and asked the Divine to help me write my fondest wish for my earth mother sister.........

“May the moon dance for all the light you have brought.
May the sun reflect more brilliance for drinking your radiance.
May winds blow stronger to carry my sister back home.
May oceans quiet in reverence for your journey.
May there be stillness to hear you.
May birds pick their finest plumes to cover your eyes.
May whales sing a song to you.
May the great owl guide you to the next world.

May all the blessings your have brought be the chariot that carries you.
May our prayers invoke kisses from the Divine.
May all our love provide a blanket of peace.

I will close by saying, that the Bravo channel hosts one
of my favorite shows called the Actors Studio with
James Lipton where he interviews individual actors and actresses before a live audience of students. Towards the end of the interview, he always asks the same question.
What would you want to hear God say when you arrive?

I can only imagine Leslee would want to hear ...

“Hi ya glad you could come.”

I would also like to ask that if you have not done so already, please visit her obituary and sign the guestbook. I have uploaded photos there and will be adding more and my goal is to have the link spread around to everyone that knew her so they can share how she touched their lives and then have the guestbook printed for Ed as a gift! So please...if you could share this link and have those share it and so on I would be eternally grateful!

I miss her SO much!

Thank you!


At 10:50 AM, Blogger PMH said...

Tory, thank you a million times over for sending me this eulogy for Leslee, this hymn of love and praise. I am taking the initiative of sending a copy on to others who also dearly loved Leslee Morabito. The words said are my words in the sense that I have felt the same feelings next to and around Leslee and cherish the friendship I have had with her over the years. Many of us share that, and many of us miss her. I have never thought about signing any kind of register anywhere. My testimonial is already posted where many can see it and know how lovely this woman was, is, and will always be. But for you, I will give it a try. Perhaps the others will too. By sharing these thoughts with me, you automatically share this with countless souls who long to hear of such beauty, who long to know that there are people on this earth who shine God in every smile and whisper. Leslee is such a person and so are you, Tory. You could never have been moved by Leslee if some of her was not resident in you, too. Blessings, PMH

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you!



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