New York Times Portraits of Grief
Michele, it's 11 o'clock!" Dennis Eulau would shout. "Could you just come to bed?"
After all, her day had started at 5 a.m., with the NordicTrack workout, then the frenzy to roust, dress and feed their three little guys -- ages 2, 5 and 7 -- and get herself to work, two days a week in the city and one at home, as a systems analyst at Marsh & McLennan. On city days, she arrived early so she could jam in a lot and leave on the dot.
Mrs. Coyle-Eulau, 38, would go home to Garden City, N.Y., dine on cereal, then supervise the boys' homework and bedtime rituals. Then she would plan weekends. A skier and snorkeler, she was the one who pushed everyone out the door for activities.
She was a to-the-max mom. A coach from an opposing soccer team asked her to tone down the cheering. Before school started, she would seek out teachers, demanding, "What can you do for my boys?"
Here is what the boys did for her: last Mother's Day, they cooked pancakes with red and blue food coloring. She even ate them.
What took her so long to get to bed? Packing lunches, making grocery lists, arranging play dates. "I never understood," her husband said. "Now I do."