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.


Well it WAS a Good Day

Today is the 21st.   I had a very quiet day.   End of day… having conversations about Thursday and just for a moment… I had a blank about what the day was… until I remembered.

But it was still a good day overall.

Tonight I figured I would watch a movie to fall asleep to.   Its a good movie my boyfriend says.  He neglected to mention that in the first 5 min the wife of the main character dies.

It WAS a good day….

Now to battle the emotions that have surfaced…

Sneaky Triggers…

L:  Mom, can I call my friend and ask if I can go for a sleep over there?

Me:  No it’s Father’s Day tomor…. never mind.  Go ahead.

L: Ok.

Yeah.  Father’s Day doesn’t have the same meaning anymore.  And now I get to hurt because for a moment, I forgot.

I got the downstairs kitchen cleaned in the process of trying to distract myself from the hurt.

AND found the source of the smell I’ve been trying to track down for the last few days.

Mark watching over us again, I suppose – if it wasn’t for that random trigger – I wouldn’t have cleaned up the kitchen, and I wouldn’t have found that the burner was on and melting the cooler sitting on it.   It was a fire danger… and now we’re safe.

Happy Father’s Day Mark.   We miss you.

Mark in Fruitvale

Father’s Day

I wasn’t thinking about Father’s Day in terms of what it means to me and my boys.   I was thinking about my three step-sons and how I was going to make it special for my boyfriend.

It didn’t occur to think of us… I get to spoil *someone* and be happy with his enjoyment of the day.

And then I saw this:

Father’s Day can be a grief trigger for widowed people in so many ways, here are just a few possibilities:

* You miss parenting with your partner
*Your kids miss their Dad
*You miss your kids Dad, too
*Your partner never got to be a Dad
*You have a new partner who is great with your kid/s, but they still miss their Dad
*You are a widowed Dad, and you miss celebrating this day with your love
*Maybe you also miss your own Dad, if he has died, too

However Father’s Day challenges you, remember that love never dies. Remember that Father’s Day is a reminder of the love Dad’s have for their kids…a love that can’t be erased by death. And if you are in the fortunate position of having even more love in your life this Father’s Day, know that your kid/s will find a way to do the same thing you’ve done, welcome the future, while valuing the past.Give them time and space to find their way, and the unique understanding that only you can give them. 

Every loving person who comes into our lives brings something important, and unique, with them. Embrace love, friends, in it’s many forms, because love lives on and on. 

- Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
And I remembered… it’s the 2nd Father’s Day without my husband, without my kids’ father.   It’s the 4th Father’s Day since my Dad died.
And that…. sucks.
Seriously sucks.
There’s 4 days until Father’s Day.  I don’t have any plans for the boys and their father.   I don’t have any plans for Father’s Day at all.
Because it hurts again.
I was ok until I saw that.  I’m very good at putting  my emotions in a box and keeping them segregated from the rest of my life… most of the time.
4 days…  And I’m going to do my damnedest to make it happen for my boyfriend and his boys.
But I hurt.
January 2010 039