Are You Ok?

Three simple words.

Sitting at the afterparty, a derby girl I’d just met, just played with for the first time that night, sat across from me at the table I was sitting at and asked me, “Are you ok?”

She saw that I was teary when I came into the dressing room.  She wanted to check in with me that I was ok.

She asked, and was genuinely concerned.  She genuinely wanted to know.  And so I told her.

And she… she listened.  And understood.

She held space and let me talk for 5 minutes.

Because.. she truly wanted to know.  Was I ok?

I was. And having someone just take those 5 minutes, take that time to be genuine, I was even MORE ok when we were done talking.

Really ok

If you randomly read this, for whatever reason, Amanda… thank you.  Thank you for that moment of just being genuine and holding space and allowing me, for one moment, to just not be ok… before I was ok again. Thank you for that moment.

Be Grateful

I’m sure you’ve seen the meme on Facebook or wherever.

Don't Cry

I was at a derby bout this weekend.  Northern Mayhem vs Terrace.  In Terrace.

Terrace is the place where Mark and I moved a month after we got together. It’s the place he proposed to me.  Where we conceived our first… and lost it.  It’s the place we had our marriage blessed by the church we belonged to. It’s where our Andrew was conceived, and born.  It’s where we solidified our relationship and who we were as a couple. It was the start of MarkandJane.

And I was there, driving around the town, ripping off bandaids, picking at the scabs, allowing myself to bleed a little.

And then I get to the derby bout.

I had planned to ignore the last weekend and just have an amazing fucking time, learn new things and play hard.  But one of the North Stars came up to me and offered me more.

“You’re my buddy.  You and I are going to work together all night.  Last weekend was last weekend and tonight we’re going to have fun.”

I started crying. Apparently it took someone just being nice and supportive (damn you Mark for dying and taking that from me!!!) after the day of picking at the emotional scabs for the tears to finally come out.

I had to explain that this (tears and emotions) had nothing to do with this (the derby stuff that happened last week and I was ignoring it this weekend regardless of what happened)

And she said to me…

Be grateful for the town.  Be grateful for what it gave you and the memories you have because of it.

And somehow… for the first time… I’m able to see that.  I’ve seen the “Don’t cry” meme before and in my head I’m like.. DUDE.  Do you not GET how fucking PAINFUL it was to lose him? (yeah, I yelled at the meme a few times)

But grateful.  I can do grateful.

Grateful doesn’t mean I’m not sad.  Grateful doesn’t mean I don’t cry.  Grateful doesn’t mean I ignore the pain.

Grateful means that even when I’m crying, I smile because of everything we shared.

Grateful means that even when it hurts so much I can’t breathe, I still hold on to the love we shared.

Grateful means that I can look at the town here we started and smile at the memories even as they’re ripping me apart.

Grateful means that picking the scabs and ripping the bandaids means the healing can carry on… even if it leaves a scar in the end.

I can do grateful.  And I am incredibly grateful for her for saying it in those words.


The top image is Mark and Me and Kyle and Katie at the mouth of the Shames on the Skeena River.

The bottom is Mark and Chi-wen & Simon and someone I don’t remember hiking Terrace Mountain.


Did You Exercise mom?

This was the question posed to me by my 12 year old last night.

A note to followers of both my blogs – I will be copy/pasting this directly into the other blog – it fits in both.

So back to the question.

My children, for a long time, have been aware of my weight loss efforts. My children have been aware of how being overweight has affected my ability and desire to do anything active.

Its basic. When I exercise, I have more energy. When I have more energy, I want to do more. When I do more, I get fitter. When I get fitter, I want to exercise more. And when I exercise, I have more energy. Round and round and round I go.

I took one of those links out of the circle a few weeks back when I stopped skating with the team and decided to focus on my boys.

An interesting, if predictable thing happened.

I stopped skating 2X a week, and suddenly I didn’t have as much energy. I then got sick and my running was cut out as well. And then I had *no* energy.

So my days have been spent reading, crafting, doing quiet stuff with the boys, and cleaning the house.

And my energy has been dropping.

On Sunday, I made my kids clean up the family room. The rule was that I needed to be able to access my exercise equipment because I wanted to get up at 5.30am and exercise. Every. Day.

Last night, two days after the clean up, my 12 year old asks: “Did you exercise yet Mom?”

So I asked him why he cared if I exercised. He mumbled something about me and making them clean the room, blah blah blah… and I looked at him and said “Are you concerned about my health?”

Yep. That’s it. My boys are concerned that I won’t live a long healthy life. They want me around. They don’t want to be orphans. This is bothering them enough that they ask me if I’ve exercised and have I been eating healty.

I wonder how many things have changed in their psyche’s. How the fears of their Mom dying like their Dad did will affect their lives.

I have the opportunity right now to change how my children see me. I have the opportunity every day to make better choices. I can do my best to be around for a long long time.

But did I exercise today? No. Today I got up and cleaned my kitchen. Last night I folded laundry. Tonight, I’ll do a 15 min run on my treadmill before craft night.

I’d like to answer every day with “Yes, I did exercise today.”

It's Too Late

Skate it Out

Run it out.

Yoga it out.

Walk it out.

Skate it out.

Work it out.

I know in my other blog I talked about the after-effects of derby practice.   How I was riding high on endorphins and was feeling oh so good.  (Until I crashed, which happened right around sleep time LOL)

I have heard other widows/widowers talk about working it out.   Walking it out.   There’s a bereavement walking group here in town.

It’s too bad that grief & depression are such insidious energy-stealers… its one of those things… if you could only get MOVING, the movement would help amazingly.

The problem is, grief weighs you down and you can’t move.

But breaking free of that allows you TO move, to push past and to get out there and make some positive changes in your day.

Last night, I managed to start crying.  I managed to break the wall and start sobbing, releasing some of the sadness.  I’m good at holding the sadness in.  I’m not so good at letting it go.   But I managed to last night.

And then I was afraid it wouldn’t stop.   I had roller derby practice at 8, and at 715 I was still trying to get the tears under control.

Finally they stopped – and I was off to derby, still teary, very red-eyed, and afraid of another breakdown in the middle of practice.

It didn’t happen.   What happened instead is I started moving with the rest of the team.  I started pushing myself, and by the end of the warm up, all I could think of was how wallowing in grief for the past 3 weeks has affected my body.

Last night hurt.  Physically hurt.   By the end of it, however, I was feeling so good. I had a positive outlook on the rest of the day, and I was ready to tackle a cross-training program that will get me to where I want to be.

Most importantly, as much as I miss Mark, there was no ovewhelming need to cry, no blocked sadness making my chest tight and my throat clogged.

There was peace, tiredness, and a desperate need for a shower LOL

You don’t need to roller skate.   Just move.  Go for a walk with a friend.  Do some yoga – there’s some amazing tapes out there that are fantastic – one of my favourites is AM/PM Yoga for beginners – it’s a quick 15 minute yoga stretching that allows you to centre your mind and move your body.

But get moving.  Because stagnating and wallowing in grief, although absolutely needed, will keep you exactly where you are.

You can only move past it if you’re willing to move.

Roller derby has saved my life, my sanity, and given me a lifeline when I was drowning.  My team gave me an “Awesomness Award” of being the “Comeback Kid”  For returning to skates after a shitstorm….

What they don’t really realize is that without derby… I may not have come back. It forced me to move, forced me to interact with other people, and forced me to step outside my grief.

In my house?  I can hide.  I can isolate.  I can pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

Roller derby saved my sanity, and is helping me to be a better parent & friend to those who have been there for me.

Skate it Out PhoenixRising



Find what works for you, and skate it out…. it helps… more than I realized.

Fuck You – You Survived

For a while after Mark died, I’d read about some tragic illness, some sad story, some fundraiser for another person who was in ICU and recovered and now they’re doing better but can the general public help???

I was bitter and angry that Mark died.

My reaction to those stories was “FUCK YOU – YOU SURVIVED”

It wasn’t that I wished they had died… it was that I was angry Mark did.  I was angry he died.  I was angry that I’m now a widow.  I was angry and bitter and couldn’t see the joy in the moments that someone else didn’t have to go through what I was going through.

Yesterday, I read a story about a woman who ended up in ICU before Christmas, and they were concerned that she wouldn’t survive.  She lost a leg, some toes and possibly some fingers.    She’s a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, a derby girl.

My initial reaction was “fuck you…”  but there was no heart in it.  No real anger.

There was sadness.  And relief.

Her children get to grow up with their mom.  Her husband doesn’t have to learn to live without her.  She gets to enjoy life, although she will have to find a new normal.

She’s lost a lot – but there is joy in the fact that she’s. still. here.

And she’s a derby girl.   She’ll never play derby again – but she has an amazing community of people around her who are coming together to support her and rally for her – just as my team did for me.

And so that initial reaction of fuck you… turned almost immediately into… thank goodness…

Thank goodness she survived…

Thank goodness she is in derby…

Thank goodness she has an amazing support network…

Thank goodness her husband and children get to continue loving her…

Thank goodness…

Dance in the Rain

My life has changed in ways I wouldn’t wish on anyone… I’m glad for them, that they don’t have to go through what I’m going through.

If you’re in the Abbotsford area on Jan 19 – please come out to this Super Scrimmage – all funds donated will go to help retrofit her house and provide financial support while the family learns to live with their new normal…






PS.  This was an extremely hard post to write – it’s difficult to admit less than charitable feelings…

Skate It Out

I don’t know where I got this picture from – probably a facebook steal.

Skate it Out


I want to redo it – change one of them to “Heart broken”

I’m counting the minutes until derby.  I don’t want to go – I just want to bury myself in grief today.

I’m forcing myself to go though.  Just as I forced myself to eat something.  I’m forcing myself to participate in life.

I’m hoping that if I skate it out tonight, I’ll feel a little less like I’m drowning.

No one should have to go through this.  I get why some people die of a broken heart.

When I Hit My Head…

I guess standard protocol when one hits their head is to have them lay down in a quiet dark space for 10 minutes or so then assess them for suspected concussion.   On Saturday, when I was skating and fell, this is what happened to me.

I lay down, and as I lay there, I could almost see Mark.  Sitting there, worried expression on his face, waiting to see if I was ok.

I know that if he was alive, he wouldn’t have actually been there, but this seems to happen when I need him the most… I don’t even have to close my eyes to “see” him.

It happened at my high school reunion.  I was standing in a corner, talking to Roger & Chantal, and I could almost feel him behind me, almost see him with me.  It was overwhelming, and at the time I just thought it was a by-product of grief, given how fresh and new it still was.

Tangent:  I wonder if that’s why I am doing as as I am… I never stopped living… I never put my life on hold… I still did things like my high school reunion, and heading to Bowen Island…

So when I was laying there, in the dark room, ‘seeing’ Mark watching me, I started crying.

Evada, the woman who was watching over me (she’s tinier in person!  I follow her blog and she seems so much larger than life…), started to tell me about how when she hit her head, she cried for 3 1/2 hours and she’s not one who cries.   I’m glad she gave me an explanation – I didn’t have to go into how much I missed Mark at that particular moment.

After I was assessed, I didn’t “see” him there any more. I guess he was satisfied that I was okay.

It’s nice knowing he’s staying around… watching over us like he promised to do.