Missing Mack

It has been a rough month. No lies. Like amusement park rides, emotional roller coasters make me nauseous, and March has jarred my body, unsettled my mind, and bounced my spirit up, down, and sideways. I spent most of the days of this month, sometimes hours at a time, keenly missing my Mack, missing life around me, and mostly missing any level of strength to cope with my sorrow. Passing a second of Mack’s birthdays without her, giving the most important professional presentation of my life at Ford’s Theatre just two days later, making my first visit to Mack’s grave at Oak Ridge Cemetery, and then marking the fifteen-year anniversary of my father’s death on the same day as a McDermott family dinner in Mack’s honor really beat the crap out of me. March has punched me hard in the gut; and right now rainy April never looked so good.

But I am not writing today to remain submerged within my sea of sorrows. Rather, I am writing today to settle my stomach, to put March 2016 in my past, and to set my sights on a happier spring. I want to leave behind this emotionally challenging and spiritually draining month by sharing the blessing of a new family tradition of which my sweet, spicy and always hungry Mack would heartily approve. Mack’s cousin Jacquie, the eldest McDermott cousin, had the idea last year to plan a Mack Day Dinner, and so we gathered for Thai food, Mack’s favorite cuisine, on her first missed birthday, on March 17, 2015. Then, on March 26, 2016, at the King & I Thai restaurant in Oak Park, Illinois, twenty-six McDermotts made the Mack Day Dinner an annual tradition. From the belly of our sorrows, a beautiful new family tradition is born. A tradition in which we can all miss Mack together. A tradition that will keep us connected to Mack’s spirit. A tradition that will keep us connected to each other. And a tradition that tethers the past, the present, and the future.

Missing my Mack…



March 26, 2016

Missing my dad (here with Mack)…baby Mack and Dad

But thankful for a new tradition…


5 thoughts on “Missing Mack

  1. Stacy, I enjoyed your presentation on C-Span this past weekend, and after looking for more info on Papers of Abraham Lincoln, I stumbled upon this blog.
    I cannot imagine the crushing pain of losing a child. I have spent the past hour reading about your beloved “Mack”, and through your words and reflections, it is easy to see why she was so loved. Not only by her family of course, but by the large circle of friends, fellow students and athletes who she obviously touched during her too short life.
    I am sure the blog is therapeutic for you. However it is also a wonderful way to help perpetuate Mack’s life & legacy. Thank you for sharing a small glimpse into your daughter’s life and allowing others to celebrate and commemorate.
    May peace and acceptance be yours,
    Very Truly,
    Glenn Morosco

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a wonderful tribute and a great way to honor your Mack. I didn’t know her, but seeing how her life has led to this new tradition is inspiring. Thank you


  3. Stacy, you continue to mine the grief and the moments of hope and love with grace and tenderness. Thank you for continuing the very hard work of life without Mack with determination and living intentionally. Big, huge love to you!


  4. Stacy, the loss of Mack has been so profound. I am still trying to grasp it. The lives she touched and the things that have taken place since she passed.The Mack project and the new traditions that are starting. She is with us in spirit and in our hearts and minds forever. Its not the same, but it is comforting. Love you


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