September 11

I don’t know if I’ve written about this before – I may have – but meh – it’s another year.  (How’s THAT for a run-on sentence?)

I think back 13 years to September 11.   I was heavily pregnant – my son would be born 16 days later.  I was already on maternity leave and watching the news in the morning, having gotten up with my older kids.

Everyone else was sleeping.

I watched as the plane hit the first tower.   I called my mother, who then said it was a hoax.   I woke my husband.

I watched the second plane hit the next tower.

And while I was horrified by what I saw – I had no understanding of what I was really seeing.

All the people who were dying?   They left someone behind.

A spouse.

A child.

A parent.

A sibling.


I had no understanding of what that meant.   My parents were both alive.  My husband’s mom was still alive and I wasn’t around when his Dad died.  My husband was still alive.

I had never experienced loss.   I was young, naive and it was all a theoretical exercise of “oh that’s awful”

And today, 13 years later, I get it.

I understand what it’s like for those left behind.   I understand how devastating it is to have your life turned upside down in an instant.

Today, I remember.



I hate that there’s so many people I talk to now who DON’T know Mark. 

He’s just Jane’s dead husband to them.

He’s not Mark, who loved fishing, who was passionate about the environment, who cried when the Cheakamus River was blown out by CN Rail, who spent countless hours on the river, who had a laugh that sounded like the alien from Flight of the Navagator, or Marty McFly, depending on what he was laughing at. 

The people I know now didn’t know his incredible strength, his dedication to his kids, his ability to see the good in everything. 

They just see a picture, a box full of stuff and a beautiful urn. 

Some days, I just want to talk to someone who knew him… and understands why he’s left such a huge void in my life. 

First Breakdown of the Day

I want to post lots of good memories posts.  Lots of happy memories posts.  

And I do have a lot of good, happy memories. 

But right now – I’m in the middle of a breakdown.   The memories overwhelmed me.   I couldn’t find a way to distract myself. 

And now…. hopefully last breakdown for the day.  

3 hours later… 

nope.  Not the last one. 


But out of today comes the decision to donate my wedding gown to Angel Gowns here in BC.   I checked with my daughter and she’s ok with it – it will do something good for people going through a hard time. 

Mar & Jane Wedding

About Robin Williams

It has been a week since I read about Robin Williams’ death. 

A week ago, I was sitting at my desk, in a relatively unpopulated office (myself and 2 others) that was fairly quiet, but we were busy. 

I had taken a moment to break from the busy-ness and check Facebook out. 

And there it was, Robin Williams dead of apparent suicide. 

I exclaimed (I didn’t really think people did that, but hey!  I did it…)  out loud and fairly suddenly… “HOLY FUCK ROBIN WILLIAMS DIED”

My co-workers looked at me in disbelief. 

I then reached for my phone to call my husband.  We were both big fans and I knew he’d be devastated to hear the news, if he hadn’t already. 

Wait.  Back up.  I can’t call him.   He DIED 2 years ago. 

I didn’t expect the wave of grief over a celebrity’s death.  No matter how popular, how talented, how beloved… it was sad news, but not something that should have triggered a wave of grief. 

But it was there.  Because I wanted to tell Mark about Robin Williams.   Because, even after 2 years… once in a while for a split second, I forget that he died.  And it’s like losing him all over again. 

A friend of mine, another widow, signed off of facebook for the day – it was too hard for her to see the news pop up in her feed all day.   I tried to stay online.  I tried to let go.   I was, for a brief period of time, grateful that I was out of cell range and couldn’t see my Facebook timeline.   Because then I didn’t have to read about Robin Williams’ death.  I didn’t have to feel bad.  I didn’t have to remember for that tiny moment how I reached out to call my husband. 

I hope that Mark and Robin are somewhere out in the cosmos, having coffee, laughing, and telling each other jokes.  Mark had the best laugh.  The best smile.  He had this one crooked tooth… he hated it.  But I loved it because it was part of his smile.   So I hope that they are enjoying a good laugh…. loving their wives from beyond… remembering the good times and the love and laughter we shared. 

I know I do. 

Grief Is Like the Ocean


Learning to Let Go

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a moment to myself to write.  Since I’ve had time to just sit and reflect on where I am, where I’ve been and where I might be going. 

My life has gotten fairly reactionary in the past few years – most recently it’s gotten extremely reactionary. 

Everything is exaggerated since he died.  My fears.  My loneliness.   How much I miss him. 

It all seems BIGGER somehow.  

I hate waking up alone.  I hate going to sleep alone.  So much that it has caused a problem with my current relationship.  The waking up alone without him there… so reminiscent of waking up alone after Mark went into the hospital. 

I want, more than anything, to be ok in my own skin.  To be able to be alone and at peace.  To enjoy quiet moments without overthinking this or that problem.   To just *be* and enjoy it. 

I sit here, as I write this, and my chest is pounding.  I have the familiar feeling of anxiety, of stress, of fight or flight.   I sit here, wondering how I’m going to make it through the night and how I’m going to sleep.  Am I going to have to chemically induce sleep?  Or have a drink?  Or…?  

I’m scared of going to bed alone, and waking up and he’s never coming back.  That’s what happened.  He got sick.  He was taken to the hospital.  I went to bed… and he never came home. 

Totally irrational fear. 

But it’s there. 

And because of the nature of my man’s work – I get to experience this anxiety and stress 4 days out of ever 16.  IF he doesn’t do nighttime overtime. If he does – then it’s worse. 

I don’t do well those weeks. 

One has nothing to do with another.  Mark didn’t die because I went to bed alone. I get that.  And Mike will not die while away from me at night either. 

And yet I sit here… wondering what method I’ll use to get myself to fall asleep, stay asleep and enjoy my sleep. 

Even though I’m going to wake up alone. 


Triggers that Find ME

It’s Sunday, and I’ve spent a lot of my weekend cleaning up and decluttering and organizing. 

I’ve gone through paperwork, I’ve thrown out or shredded a bunch of different stuff. 

And in the middle of it all – papers I had almost forgotten about. 

His disability parking permit. 

And the discharge papers from the hospital. 

Why do I read shit like that?   Why do I go through it, re-live all the moments that were sanitized down to 4 pages…?  

It doesn’t nearly describe the heartache.  It doesn’t nearly describe his determination to live.   It doesn’t nearly describe the painful moments of he was DONE. 

It just describes, in clear, concise medical terms, how his body failed him.  How he finally chose to stop fighting.   How he went from full code to comfort care. 

It doesn’t express how much he loved us, how he cried over his dog, how he asked our daughter in a private moment how I was doing.  It doesn’t tell how he was so determined to get well. 

It just describes the clinical moments of sick, worse, surgery, bleeds, and finally – a momentary sorrow at his passing. 

But leaves me remembering in vivid detail the moments, the pain, the sadness of a man who was our glue – who was so much more than what those 4 sheets of paper describe him as. 

The triggers suck.   But sometimes… I’m grateful for them; they break open the box of memories. 

And there’s so many good memories… 

Mark in Fruitvale

Oh Wait, he already did…

I ended up in the ER last night.

I’m sure overall it was a combination of stress, anxiety and the energy drink I had, but I was having heart palpatations, sweating profusely, shaking, dizzy, lightheaded, and my left arm was achy.

So I went to the ER.   I had a friend drive me.

We were conversing while we waited for tests, doctors, etc.    I mentioned to the doctor and her that my husband had had 2 heart attacks.   I told her that I didn’t think that my kids could handle another parent having a heart attack.

She agreed with me.

I said that their dad had had two heart attacks in 2009.   That he just needed to stop having heart attacks…. oh wait.  He already did.

I don’t know what happened, or why or where that came from.  He’s been gone 2 years.    He stopped having heart attacks 2 years ago.  I have the record of his last heartbeat.

But there it was.

My friend just said, “I don’t know what to say to that”

And I started laughing, somewhat hysterically.   And then I started leaking.   Crying because for one single moment, one slip of the tongue, I forgot that he’d died.

How the FUCK did I forget that?

Seriously?  Even for one moment?

I don’t know.  But there it was.  Something I hadn’t done in 2 years of widow-hood.

“He needs to stop having heart attacks… Oh wait, he already did”