Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Ask and answer questions about Leonard Cohen, his work, this forum and the websites!
Post Reply
mike merriman
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:20 pm

Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by mike merriman » Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:29 pm

I dont know much about her. I found my long lost father " her brother' back in the fall of 1999 and found out then i had an aunt that had looked for me on the internet. My father robert passed away this year and i got a ton of pictures of my aunt sandy in a box. Have seen all her tribute sites and wish i would have met her. I know she has a daughter in texas somewhere but i have never met her. Did anyone on here meet her in person?

User avatar
Posts: 25384
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Re: Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by lizzytysh » Fri Jun 18, 2010 3:40 am

Dear Mike ~

A bittersweet and melancholy welcome to the Forum. I wish I had met Sandy, but I didn't. I came to here not long after she died. I don't think that Marie Mazur met her, but she may have some information of interest to you. She at least knew her online and I know Sandy had two cats. Marie will be able to tell you more about that, as well. If you've seen her tribute sites, you know she was a wonderful artist. I'm hoping that you also know that Leonard dedicated his song "A Thousand Kisses Deep" to her. It's especially sad hearing that she tried to find you through the Internet and never did, and now you're here trying to find out more about her. Perhaps, someone here will be able to assist you in finding Sandy's daughter, your cousin. I'm sorry that now you've lost your father, as well. People [again, my best guess would be Marie or Jarkko through private communication] who knew Sandy better [even if only online, as one can come to know people rather well this way] might have some insight as to whether Sandy would mind if you shared a few of those photos of her here. From all I've heard, Sandy was well thought of and I've seen only one photo of her.

Thank you so much, Mike, for coming here to share your story and your quest. I can only wish you the very best in finding someone who actually met her and maybe even finding her daughter in Texas. How I wish the two of you had connected and, even moreso, knowing that Sandy was looking for you.

~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
Jane Danko
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 5:03 pm
Location: Spain

Re: Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by Jane Danko » Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:01 am

Dear Mike,

Jarkko sent me an email telling me that you had written to the forum asking for information about your Aunt Sandy. I know I´ve waited a long time to respond to your post, it isn´t easy for me. And, I don´t want to hurt you. But I know that if I were in your place, I would want to know what happened, and for that reason, I´m writing now.

Your cousin was born of a relationship that Sandy had with a black man, with whom I think she was very much in love. For some reason, Sandy and her daughter did not get along, and Sandy´s body remained in the morgue in Houston for some time. We finally located her brother, who was living in, I think, Minnesota, and he gave me permission to incinerate Sandy´s body and claim her ashes. As you have seen on this website, I cast those ashes into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Galveston Island, a place that Sandy loved and had depicted in her painting.

At the time Sandy and I were both active members of this forum, I didn´t realize that she lived in the same city as I, in Houston. It was only after she died that I came to know this. All I knew was that I loved her poetry. I also know that she has found peace. Be assured of that. Because of the frightening ordeal I went through after her death, I came into contact with another member of the forum, a Spaniard, and we communicated by email. I poured out my heart to him, and he gave me support, care, and understanding. We wrote all our secrets to each other, and the emails led to transatlantic telephone calls. In the year 2000, I came to Spain to visit him, and we confirmed what we already knew: that we were deeply in love. Today he is my husband, and I live happily with him in the north of Spain. So you see, I owe my happiness to your aunt. This is a legacy of love, peace, and contentment that she left me.

Here is a poem I wrote about Sandy. I hope you don´t find it too disturbing. It relates much pain, and I didn´t finish writing it until 2006. But it also relates redemption and salvation, born of the bonding love that poured out from the Beautiful Losers, the members of this forum, for and to your aunt. In the midst of all the pain and fear, to be a part of such a concentration of support and love for another human being, for Sandy, was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Rest assured, she was much, much loved. And she is at peace.

Her damnation invaded my breathing being,
twitching whore-dragons and noiseless shades
that played a hounding hide-and-seek
hags that held me, terrified, immobile in my bed.
She floated in a maelstrom of oblivion
abysmally asunder in suspended isolation
quarantined soul, intruder in my dreams
to waste my peace, and let me know what hell is:
dull existence, unformed inertia
stripped of all but disconnected self
feeling yet recognizing only nothingness
aimless in confusion without context:
unhallowed delight of devils
joy of the fiery phoenix of perdition
disjoined spirit
utterly alone
formless in unending void
powerless to hurl a scream
silenced by a hell that grants no contact
not even her own within herself
aching separation.
I learned to pray, and beg for prayers
enlisted priestly power
rabbinic rituals
conspired with all who didn´t say,
“Sorry, we don’t pray for the dead.”
I claimed the ashes her daughter didn’t want
collected gifts: poems, baubles,
photos, flowers
from poets who had shared her verses
Beautiful Losers cheering for her soul.
I spoke aloud to her
“You´re going to be all right, as connected as you are.”
And I heard the silence change.
I waited, frozen.
Then, a whispered silhouette
reaching from the unbeing
thin sliver of a voice.
She said, “I am connected?”
“Oh, yes.”
From a jetty on the bay
one by one I threw her flowers, poems
and trinkets to the waves
that same moment sung
in chapels, churches, synagogues, and temples
of Gods and Goddesses in all the world
in thought, voice, prayer, and screams
her poets wept and wailed in unison.
I opened the box exactly as
the morgue attendant had instructed.
I turned it upside down.
Heavy downpour, gray chalk cascade
not air-light dust to float across the water,
but weighty, dense, more
than what that box should hold, it seemed
a never-ending stream
spilling calcic bits and pieces
leaden powder joining with the sea.
And then it ended.
Breath, release, came loud and deep.
Her demons let us go
they only thrive and torture in the vapidness
of separation.
I dropped the empty box into the sea.
And who are you beneath the smoke...?
mike merriman
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:20 pm

Re: Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by mike merriman » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:42 am

Thank you lizzytysh and Jane for your replys. From what i have gathered Sandys father left at an early age and she and her brother didnt get along with their mother or aunt. That is a shame that she sat in a morgue for so long without being claimed. I have read the numerous letters sandy wrote my father from 1995 thru August of 1998 and have learned a great deal of information about her life which unfortunately was a painful one. She did have cancer but am not sure what kind of cancer she had.

It was nice to see a more recent picture of her on her one tribute site. It looks like a drivers liscense pic. The one painting where her grandmother is making a quilt was neat to see. There is a newspaper article in a scrapbook i have that has her grandmothers picture in it making a quilt.

The poem is excellent. I am working 7 days a week now but will post photos of her that i have up until her early 20s as soon as i can.

Last edited by mike merriman on Sat Mar 16, 2019 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 3461
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:27 am

Re: Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by Cate » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:38 am

Dear Jane,
I feel as though I’ve walked into a private room and witnessed a very intimate moment – one that was not meant for me and although I had the feeling that I should have discretely backed out, I felt very touched to somehow share that moment in this vicarious way.
Your poem and story of how you met your husband were both moving.
Thank you,
Jane Danko
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 5:03 pm
Location: Spain

Re: Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by Jane Danko » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:10 pm

Thank you, Mike and Cate. Now that I have posted, and put the poem up, I´ve had a sort of third release, one that is more public, more liberating in an outward way. The big release came when Father Ted and I conducted the ritual to free her soul, and the nightmares and contacts stopped. Then when I cast the ashes, another release came, it was as if Sandy herself were saying, "Good-bye and thank you. I´m now going to the good place." I think that, through this thread, right now on this forum, the contact with this group of wonderful people who stayed with me all through this, never doubting, never thinking I was crazy, always supporting, has finally brought me full circle. This is all finally over. Sandy is free and so am I.
And who are you beneath the smoke...?
mike merriman
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:20 pm

Re: Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by mike merriman » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:43 am

Also Jane congrats on your marriage and thankyou for taking my aunts ashes to a place she loved.
User avatar
Posts: 25384
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Florida, U.S.A.

Re: Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by lizzytysh » Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:16 am

Dear Jane and Mike ~

I was moved beyond any form of adequate expression to do justice to your poem, Jane. I wouldn't even know where to begin.
Your account and the way you've described all that happened after Sandy's death is as though you were literally transported
to those realms and, given the grace of memory, were able to give voice to the many ways that a soul can experience
nothingness and the deepest level of separation that exists in any form. I'm astounded by the expressiveness of your
account. The immensity of the beauty that followed was equal in its intensity to the pain that's unfathomable to anyone
who hasn't been there, and I dare say few have been there. As I read, I felt like I was reading an account written
by one of the masters of the centuries of realms that only the spiritual world allowed them to experience.
Mike ~ Sandy was and remains so fortunate to have impacted Jane and others so deeply and to have had such
a phenomenally incredible poem written in her honour. I hope you will print and keep it with your other tangible
reminders of Sandy's life. Jane ~ You deserve all the liberation you have received at the various, pivotal
junctures since Sandy's death. You have paid a price for them in a currency that took part of you with it. From all
you've said, it feels like that part of you has been restored. Your husband and your life together in Spain seems to be
Sandy's way of thanking you for all you did for her. It seems the Universe granted her wishes that you be duly rewarded
for the immense energy of Love you surrounded her with in life, as well as in her death.

I sincerely hope that Jarkko will place your poem on Sandy's tribute page, as that is where it is meant to be. There are many
who have known Sandy through the Forum back then, and many who have heard of her since. This will continue into the
far distant future, through this thread, through her tribute page, and through Leonard's dedication to her of A Thousand
Kisses Deep, where her ashes seem to have gone in the sea. I am one of those who have heard of Sandy in various ways
through the years, yet this thread has resulted in the most substantive information for me, and I appreciate both
of your sharings. Such gifts you've each given. The gifts of happiness and peace that you've received in various ways,
Jane, and now in the full-circle sharing of your immensely astounding and profound poem, reveal the connectedness
that has always been there between you and Sandy, and the others who knew her and were there on that day with you,
either in their physical presence or their spirit.

Mike ~ thank you for your willingness to share other photos of your Aunt Sandy here. I am looking forward to seeing them.
She was clearly an amazing woman, and one who had amazing friends. People live on through the memories of those
who knew them. Sandy lives on through you, Jane... and, now, in your own unique way of coming to know her, through
you as well, Mike.

Thank you, Mike, Jarkko, and Jane. Thank you, Sandy. Your legacy of love continues and grows.

"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:45 am

Re: Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by CheyenneDelaney » Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:54 am

Hi all, if anyone is still attached to this forum I'm 99.9% sure that Sandy was my grandmother. My mother is from Akron Ohio and I was born in Galveston Texas November 16th 1998. My mother didn't have a great relationship with her mother (Sandy) and she passed away directly before I was born. My mom showed me her obituary page and told me that she was my grandmother, I've always been very interested to know more about her. I feel a deep connection to a woman I've never known. I just pray that anyone is still here, that anyone can tell me more about her. I'm willing to show as much proof as I can to confirm this info.
User avatar
Posts: 2867
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:11 am

Re: Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by Geoffrey » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:14 am

i remember sandy, her art, the messages she wrote before that violent ending. think of her whenever listening to the song leonard dedicated to her :-)
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 7139
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Espoo, Finland

Re: Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by jarkko » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:09 pm

Dear Cheyenne, would you please contact Jane Danko through her webpage
Jane moved from Texas to Spain many years ago. I am sure she is able to tell you more.
1988, 1993: Helsinki||2008: Manchester|Oslo|London O2|Berlin|Helsinki|London RAH|| 2009: New York Beacon|Berlin|Venice|Barcelona|Las Vegas|San José||2010: Salzburg|Helsinki|Gent|Bratislava|Las Vegas|| 2012: Gent|Helsinki|Verona|| 2013: New York|Pula|Oslo|||
Posts: 393
Joined: Fri Aug 23, 2002 1:53 am

Re: Sandy Merriman My Aunt

Post by dar » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:19 pm

I remember Sandy. Judith F had a close relationship with her. Never really knew enough to go very deep into why she left they way she did. I remember how Jane responded to everything with such compassion. (So good to see you post here Jane!)

Take care and be well.
Post Reply

Return to “Comments & Questions”