Aloha, Mom

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My sweet Mother, Doris Cusick Christie Gray passed-away quietly in her sleep around 5 a.m. yesterday November 9th in the Golden Pond Assisted Living Center in Golden, Colorado. She was 86. My Mom is survived by her three sons, Roger – wife Share, David – wife Jane, and Peter – wife Nancy and their two daughters, Evan and Brenna. She is also survived by her sister Helen and Helen’s son James Baker and his wife Raquel.

Our Mom was born in San Francisco on March 27, 1926. Her father Will E. Cusick was the manager of the famous City of Paris store in Union Square which still exists today as Neiman-Marcus. Her mother was Edna Franz, daughter of the Franz Construction Company family that lived at Mountain Home Ranch near Calastoga and, among other things, built the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1920’s World’s Fair in San Francisco. That beautiful building remains as one of the icons of the city.

Mom had a terrific life and made many long-lasting friends throughout. She attended Kent Place School in Summit, New Jersey, and graduated from Briarcliff Manor in New York with an interest in interior design. Mom adopted her school motto of “Manners maketh man.” She loved me and my two younger brothers every single day of our lives and will be dearly missed. It’s easier for me to love people today because my Mom loved me so much and taught me good, simple, strong values in life.

My Mom supported me in every way throughout my life. Co-incidentially, three days ago Colorado voted to legalize Cannabis, my life’s passion and most meaningful work. I like to think that Mom smiled at that fact and pass-away a little easier with the historic news in our home state. My Mom idealistically wanted all the people of this beautiful Earth to be cared for and loved, some of the reasons that I’m a Cannabis sacrament Minister. I feel honored to help end prohibition and to be able to share the healthy blessings of Cannabis hemp with the world.

Mom married Neil Christie, a WW II veteran of the 10th Mountain Division, and they lived in Steamboat Springs, Colorado where I was born in 1949. Our small family migrated east where my two younger brothers were born in Summit, New Jersey. We lived in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

In 1975 Mom married Ray Gray who she had known many years ago. They settled on his ranch in Steamboat Springs for many years of married life until Ray passed-away in 2009. Mom loved Ray’s daughter Marsha and her husband Doc and their children and grandchildren. Mom spent nineteen winters as a retired ‘snow-bird’ in Hilo, Hawai’i, her favorite adopted town. She enjoyed the County Band, the YWCA warm pool, the Farmer’s Market and had many close friends there.

The night before last I dreamed that I was attending a family reunion in Colorado and our whole family was there. When I woke-up I received the news about an hour later from my younger brother David that our Mother had passed-away.

Mahalo and aloha, Mom. You were the greatest mother and friend that I can possibly imagine.

I told my Mom in every letter and phone call that I would love her forever … in this life … and in the next. A hui ho … I’ll see you later, Mom. Rest in peace. You did good.


From the new book “Proof of Heaven” by Eban Alexander, M.D.


When tomorrow starts without me,
and I’m not there to see
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
all filled with tears for me

I’d wish so much you wouldn’t cry
the way you did today
while thinking of the many things
we didn’t get to say.

I know how much you love me
as much as I love you
and each time you think of me
I know you’ll miss me, too.

But when tomorrow starts without me
please try to understand
an angel came and called my name
and took me by the hand.
It said my place was ready
in heaven far above
and that I’d have to leave behind
all those I dearly love.

But as I turned to walk away
a tear fell from my eye
for all my life I’d always thought
I didn’t want to die.
I had so much to live for
so much left yet to do
it seems almost impossible
that I was leaving you.

I thought of all the yesterdays
the good ones and the bad
the thoughts of all the love we shared
and all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday
just even for a while
I’d say good-bye and kiss you
and maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized
that this could never be
that emptiness and memories
would take the place of me.

And when I thought of worldly things
I might miss come tomorrow
I thought of you and when I did
My heart was filled with sorrow.

I felt so much at home
when God looked down and smiled at me
from His great golden throne
He said, “This is eternity,
and all I’ve promised you.
Today your life on Earth is past
but here it starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow
but today will always last
and since each day’s the same way
there’s no longing for the past.

You have been so faithful
so trusting and so true
though there were times
you did some things
you knew you shouldn’t do.
Please know you’ve been forgiven
and now at last you’re free.
Won’t you come and take my hand
and share my life with me?”

When tomorrow starts without me
don’t think we’re far apart
just like every day on Earth
I’m right here in your heart.

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