They Did It Again…


I am a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy.  It’s the only show I have watched since day one.   The show has never been formulaic, never been repetitive in how the plots are carried out, it has been fairly realistic and at the same time enough fantasy to keep things interesting (because lets face it, sometimes real is boring)

In September of 2012 – they killed off Mark Sloan.   He was in a plane crash, had some undiagnosed internal bleeding, and ended up on life support.   The entire season opener was watching him while it crept to the time where the machines were going to be shut off.   And then they shut them off.  And I fucking BAWLED because it was so close to home….  we turned off life support for my Mark only 3 months prior.

I figured I was in the clear.  They wouldn’t kill off another major character like that.   Then the next week, the episode was all about the month leading up to him being in the coma.   And the turning off of the machines.

Ok.  Done.  Again.  Can we get back to the story line please?

Seattle Grace Hospital recovered.  The people recovered.  The storyline became less dramatic.    I enjoyed the show again.

And then… last night…. OMG last night.  They fucking did it AGAIN!!!  Derek was in a car accident.   The doctors at the hospital screwed up, and he was on life support.   And Merideth had to turn off the machines.   And… almost 3 years later… I’m pretty sure this is just about fucking killing me.

How do you explain to someone who’s not a widow, who didn’t have to watch their spouse die how a TV show can rip you apart?  How it can take you right back to that moment when the doctors are telling you there’s NOTHING MORE THAT THEY CAN DO??

The show managed to emotionally devastate me.    All I wanted was to curl up in someone’s arms and bawl.  That’s still all I want to do.   But I get to carry on… because I am the parent for my boys, I am strong, I survived this once and I will survive it again.

Tears are healing.  I knew that when I started watching Grey’s Anatomy a couple weeks ago.  And I’ve healed a lot of the pain from my ex.   I just wasn’t expecting this… dammit.

Heartbeat Grey's Anatomy

Putting Him First

I talked to a friend of mine yesterday.

She was there before Mark died.

She was there when he was sick.

She was there after he died.

She supported me when I decided to move to the middle of nowhere to be with my Chapter 2 (who hates that term)

The conversation was that I needed to do some work on me, because I need to get to a point where I’m ready to move forward.

That things with Mike didn’t work because I wasn’t ready to move forward.

I have to wonder… is she correct?

Do I see things with such a “widow’s outlook” that I can’t see how much I put Mark in front of everything else?

I don’t feel like I do.  Not now.

Maybe I did?  I don’t know that I do now.

I’m a widow.  I’m a mom.  I’m a student.

Not in that order.

I was a girlfriend.  But I want to be a wife again.

How do I find the balance between girlfriend/wife and widow?

How do I honour my late husband and still plan a future?

I don’t know. I don’t know what I want. Well, I do.  I just don’t know how to get it. I don’t know how to overcome the challenges I see in front of me.  I don’t know if I CAN because it’s not all up to me.

But in the end… where I”m supposed to be… who I’m supposed to be with… will happen.

I will always be in love with a dead man.  But I want a future with a live one.

Life Is Short

I Forgot

I forgot my anniversary.

Not my wedding anniversary.

The anniversary of us getting together.

February 1, 1998.  We got together for the first time.   It was a Saturday.

And I forgot it.

I was having a grief wave the other day.  I attributed it to missing his special brand support and encouragement while I’m in school.

A friend asked me if there were any special dates.

Then I remembered.  I had forgotten.   Our anniversary.

I remember so very clearly when he came out of the coma, when he was awake… he remembered our anniversary in 2012.   And I forgot.

My life has been pretty freaking good lately.  I love where I’m at, what I’m doing and everything else that is happening in my life.  I… am happy.  (something changed last night to change part of that, but I’ll work that shit out on my own)

So yeah.  Happy.

Not Mark-centered happy.  Just happy.   Never not missing him.  But happy.

And I forgot our anniversary.

And I’m sitting here, trying to figure out if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.   I feel slighly guilty… but he’d be SO happy that I was happy enough in my life that I forgot.  So I’m confused about how I feel about that.

I’m still happy.

Another anniversary is coming up next weekend.  Valentine’s Day was the first time he ever said he loved me.   I have not spent a Valentine’s alone in 17 years.

I think I’m going to be happy anyhow.  Because my life is pretty freaking awesome.  And I’m happy.

Heart Broken Heart

A Normal Monday Morning

It was a normal Monday morning.   As we had for the past 158 days, Kathy and I sent the kids to school, loaded up our supplies for the day, and headed to Vancouver General Hospital.

It was a normal Monday morning. In the Lower Mainland, the sun was shining between the clouds and there were cloudbursts of rain between patches of blue sky.

It was a normal Monday morning.  He was awake, alert, and responsive but he was somewhat cranky and starting to refuse care; he was done with being poked and prodded.

It was a normal Monday morning.  While the doctors did their rounds, Kathy and I walked up the stairwell from the third floor to the sixteenth floor and back while we waited to go back in.

It was a normal Monday morning.  The doctors delivered the news that there was nothing further they could do. Should he have another emergent dip in health, it would be against his best interests to bring him back.  It would do more harm than good.

It was a normal Monday morning.   I consulted with him as to what his wishes were.  Did he want to fight?  Or did he want to let go?   Were we going to say goodbye?

It was a normal Monday morning.  He wanted to come home.  He had been in the hospital for 22 weeks.  He had tubes sticking out of him.  He had wires in his arteries.  He had a hole in his throat to help him breathe, a hole in his belly where they cut him open to save his life, a hole in his side to drain the waste, and a hole in his back where his skin had degraded so far that it wouldn’t heal.

It was a normal Monday morning.   I walked over to the ICU physician who gave us the news and told them that he wanted to come home.   I was crying as I explained to them that he was done.  He was ready for the machines to be turned off, for the tubes to come out, and for him to come home.

It was a normal Monday morning.   I had one last day with him all to myself, before I had to tell our children that their Dad was going to die.  I had one last day to decide if I was going to try to convince him to keep trying, to hold on for us, or if I was going to honour his wishes, let him die, and bring him home.

It was a normal Monday morning.   His primary surgeon pulled me into a private room to explain that he has seen people come back from worse.   The surgeon urged me to use guilt and convince him to try harder.

It was a normal Monday morning.   I sat beside him, sobbing, my head on his chest, and asked him, “If I asked you to try one more time, would you?”   He shook his head no.   The man who would move mountains to make me happy, refused to do this for me.

It was a normal Monday morning.   I decided to respect my husband’s wishes and turn off the machines.   I decided to put his feelings, his desires, and his needs before mine or my children’s.  I decided to say goodbye.

It was a normal Monday morning.


Grief X 2


This sucks.

First set of tears this season was yesterday when my daughter gave me an early Christmas present:

Katie Pregnancy Test

I had posted about it… then lost the post.  SO if the post magically shows up…well… yanno how heartbreaking it is for me to be a Nana without Grandpa here with me.

So tonight is Christmas Eve.   Christmas Eve has traditionally been for me a fun night of wine, wrapping and staying up too late and being exhausted.

I procrastinate.

A lot.

Last year was much the same – lots of wrapping.  Mike & I were fighting, so it wasn’t full of love and laughter so much as just get’er done.

But the next morning… oh my gawd… the next morning, I was awakened by a song that just filled me with love.. filled me with joy.   One More Sleep

Even now… that song makes me think of him, makes me think of our Christmas together.  I was so looking forward to a good Christmas this year…

Then our life fell apart.

Everything ended.

So this Christmas?

I get to grieve not only my husband not being here to celebrate the little man who’s going to turn 1 on his Auntie’s birthday (how cool is that!!) and sesame growing inside my daughter.. but I also get to grieve the loss of the man I was hoping to spend my life with.  And I get to listen to him doing his Christmas stuff with his kids.   And I get to grieve the loss of another love.

Grief sucks.

Loss sucks.

Death sucks.

Christmas?  Christmas doesn’t suck.  It’s just lonely this year.  *sigh*

Tree Decorating night  2013 Pictures 025

Why Am I Grieving So Hard?

I had someone ask that the other day.  Why are you grieving so hard still?

And it occurred to me to stop and think about that.

Am I grieving hard?

Am I putting too much focus on my “widowhood” and my husband’s death?

It’s not the first time it’s come up.   It was one of the pivotal things that ended my relationship with my Chapter 2.  (who, btw, I still freaking love and I don’t know how to grieve THAT relationship).   It was asked of me when I asked someone why… why for the love of God did my husband have to die?

And I was thinking today…. would I change my life if I could?

I watched a movie last night – Predestination.  Good movie.  Interesting twists and plots.  Thought provoking.  Someone had a chance to change the outcome.   Would he?

So if I could go back in time.  To the summer of 2009… would I make my husband go to a doctor and have his heart checked out?   I believe the heart attacks were the beginning of the end. Between the meds he was on for his Ankylosing Spondylitis and his heart issues, I believe that’s what caused the pancreatitis that ultimately killed him.

So would I go back?

Would I change things, knowing it would change the outcome?

Would I alter the course my life is on… knowing I’d never get to know Liz or Dorine or Jennifer or Roxanne or have the opportunity to work at BC Wildfire or get to know my sister better or move to a completely new place or have Mike in my life or skate with the Gold Pain Girls or go to Camp Widow or meet all my widda peeps or go back to school to become an LPN?

Would I change that?

Who I am has CHANGED.

I like who I’m becoming.

I like the person I am, the woman who can fly across Canada on a wing and a prayer.  The woman who supported someone in fighting the Ministry, who helped 3 boys get into a stable loving home.

I like that I am finally getting my adult dogwood and going back to school and becoming a nurse.

I like that I’m going to get to help people.

I like that I’m figuring out who JANE is, not who MarkandJane is.

I don’t want to be MarkandJane.  I want to be Jane.   I don’t want to be MIkeandJane or AlandJane or DaveandJane or JulieandJane or AmandaandJane.

I want to be Jane.

I want my husband back.. the way he was before the heart attacks changed our life.  I want him back even after that.  He wasn’t sick.  He was strong and independant and determined.

But I want the life I have now, too.

I know it’s a futile exercise to think and pretend that he could just *walk back in* to my life… but I wonder… if I had a choice… would I change my life back?

The truth is…. I don’t know.

I miss him so much it hurts.  If I let the box open, the pain of his death overwhelms me.   But the joy of our life together… that’s been more prevalent lately.   Remembering all that was good and amazing.    There was some not good, and not amazing.  But what I miss most… (aside from him) is how COMFORTABLE we were together.  I miss knowing the dance steps.  I miss knowing the routine.  I miss the life we had together.

There was a lot of our life that was restricted.  There was a lot of our life that was limited by his limitations.

But there was a lot amazing. And I miss it.

But the reality is that I’m becoming someone I didn’t know I could be.   I found strength and joy in places I didn’t know they could exist.    I found a life.  I found a person I didn’t know I could be.   And I wouldn’t want to lose that.

There’s a lot of “I wish” still… but there’s a lot of “I’m happy with…” as well.

So would I change things if I could?   I’m kinda still on the fence.  I still wish he were here… but I like my life.

So yeah.

For some reason this was a hard post to write.  I miss him. I wish he’d never died.  But I’m happy with the life I’m building.

It feels a bit like a betrayal.


Death Vs Divorce

In a number of online boards, one of the most common “insensitive” things said to a widow is something along the lines of “I know how you feel, I got divorced” or “At least you don’t have to deal with seeing him anymore”

Because, yanno, death and divorce are the same thing.

Did you hear the sarcasm?

The anger that comes from that statement?

Death?  Divorce?

When you divorce someone, you choose not to be with that person.  You end a marriage, choosing that the person you once wanted to be with for the rest of your life is no longer someone you want in your life.   You always have the option of texting or calling or seeing or talking to that person.  That’s an option, whether it’s an option you choose to exercise or not.

When someone dies, that’s it.   You don’t get to hear their voice.  You don’t get to send them messages.  You hold on to those last few messages from them as if they’re gold.  There’s no option to go back.  No option to have dinner and rehash that last fight.  No option to have make-up sex.  Nothing.  It’s OVER.  DONE.  GONE.

When your spouse dies… you lose not only the person, but you also lose who you were… as in I’m not MarkandJane anymore, I’m Jane.  The Markand part of me is in the urn on my shelf in my living room.    You lose your future as well.   You see, I was supposed to have a 50th anniversary with him.  I was supposed to be a Grandma to his Grandpa.   I was supposed to be Mrs. to his Mr. Claus.   I was supposed to travel across Canada with him.   I was supposed to have a LIFE with him.

That was taken from me.  Ripped away in one tiny sentence.  “I want to go home.”

And that was it.  It was over.  The fight was done.   And within 30 hours, I wasn’t a wife anymore, I was a widow.  I was an only parent.  I was half of the whole I was before he died.

Death cheated me out of a lot of my life plans.

That’s not to say that my life isn’t good – but death took my choice away.  Divorce?  You make that choice to change your life.   When Mark died… I didn’t have a choice.

Death and divorce are completely different entities.   The defining point?  Choice.

I will forever mourn the loss of my husband, my future with him, our hopes and dreams.    Because I didn’t have a choice in the matter.

I Miss You

Kitty Cats and the Box

We moved.   We were living in a 7 bedroom house, now we’re living in a 3 bedroom basement suite.

It’s a nice suite, as far as basement suites go.

Lots of space, lots of room, and a landlord who’s wonderful about letting me paint.   Helps that I intend to buy this house, later.

So we moved.

My “Mark Box”  the one with all the momentoes and the bits and pieces of his life, that moved with me.   It used to be in the living room, under the front window, but now it’s in the living room, in a little “alcove” that would fit either the box or my piano.

Suddenly, the cats are ALL over that box.

Before, I assumed they liked to hang out on the box because they could look outside – but this spot doesn’t allow them to.

I was sitting on the chair beside the box – and Bandit, the biggest/oldest cat, was sitting up… looking… at *nothing* and then he just lay down.

Now he and Kudos… they share the box, the spaces on the box.  They’re there most of the time, it seems.

I wonder… if they’re there because of Mark.  Because of his presence that is so very much part of that box.

Or maybe they’re just hanging out there because we keep kicking them off the couch and chair to sit.


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.


Almost 2 Years

I’m in the home stretch.

2 years ago we were in the midst of a miraculous recovery from lactaid levels that were “not compatible with life” that came down to a healthy level again overnight.

I wish I’d known it was the beginning of the end.

I wish I’d known I would have just over 3 weeks left with him.

I wish I’d known.

I wouldn’t have done anything differently… maybe that last weekend I’d have visited instead of assuming that everything was going to be exactly as it had been for the past 5 months.

But I didn’t have the gift of foresight.  I did have the gift of 3 more weeks… but I didn’t know they would be the last 3 weeks.

It’s been almost 2 years.

I miss him as much now as I did the day he died.