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”



Always Loved, Never Forgotten

Two years ago, a light died in my life.   My husband, my best friend, father of 2 of my children and Dad to all of them, let go of his fight to stay with us.

We had an amazing last night together.   We talked, we laughed, we cried, I comforted him, he comforted me, we loved each other fiercely and without reservation.

For a long time I was angry.  Angry at him.  Angry at the doctors who didn’t FIX him.  Angry at the doctor who tried to make me guilt him into trying a little harder.  Angry that my kids would have to go the rest of their lives without that beautiful man guiding them.

And I was sad.

And I mourned.

And I grieved.

And I loved him fiercely and without reservation.

I still do.   I love him with all my heart.  I will love and miss him forever.

He was, in many ways, a better parent than me.  He was, in many ways, a better spouse than me.  He was in many ways, a better person than me.

He taught me to love unconditionally.  He taught me I was worth loving unconditionally.

It has been two years since that day.  Two years since he took his last breath.   I still have the printout of his last heartbeat in my wallet (sorry Patricia!  My kid took it and didn’t tell me until we got home.)  I carry him and his love with me everywhere.

Mark W. Smith.

Forever Loved,
Forever Missed,
Never Forgotten.

Mark's Urn Coloured Memorial Tattoo Mark in Fruitvale

June 25

To the powers that be who may be checking out what I’m doing using government resources – I’m just writing a short blog – nothing about work – just personal.   I’ll be off here in about 10 minutes.

To Mike, yeah I’d like to keep thinking happy thoughts, but the “at this time 2 years ago” thoughts keep coming back.  It’s friggen killing me. 

At this time 2 years ago – he said he wanted to go home.  He said he was done fighting, that he wanted to go home.  And when I asked him if he understood that that meant that he would DIE, he nodded and said he wanted to go home.

How am I supposed to ignore that fact?  How am I supposed to just pretend that today is another day?  It’s not.  

My sister-in-law told me last year that June 26 forever will just be about her husband’s birthday – that she won’t be thinking on her brother’s death – she’ll be focussed on her husband.

Fair enough.   Her husband is still alive.

For me though, this is the day when the end started.  This is the moment when my world shifted off it’s axis.   This is when I had to tell everyone that no, Mark was not going to come home.  There would be no retrofitting of the house, no renewal of our vows, no growing old together.

There was no more fighting.  He was done.

And today, at this moment 2 year ago, I looked him in the eyes, and I loved him enough to say “Ok.   I’ll make the arrangements to take you home.”   I loved him enough to let him go with love and peace and dignity and in a manner of his choosing.

I love and miss him every. single. day.