The Damned Parking Spot… and other triggers…

I pulled into the parking lot at the pizza place. I had just under 20 mins to get my pizza and get back to work – half hour break does not give me much time to clear my head.

I looked down at the parking space. It had one of those concrete barriers in front of the store-front protecting the walkway and the pizza store.

I could faintly read the letters “Video Update Parking Only”

Oh fuck I gotta tell Mark this….

Oh wait.  I can’t.

Sadness washed over me.  Not the deep, broken, painful grief storm that hits me when a trigger gets me, but the sadness of “oh yeah… that’s gone” and the reminder that for a moment, I forgot and I wanted to tell him something.

Something he’d think was funny.  Something he could relate to but no one else in my life could.

A Video Update store I’d never been to but I knew where it was now. It was on the cusp of his territory as District Manager.  He managed from Williams Lake to Prince Rupert and I’d never been to the Williams Lake store.

And I saw it… the faint markings of the remnants of a business that died out in 2010… well actually before that. 2010 was when the company that bought out Video Update finally went bankrupt.

It was the faint markings of a life gone by.

I let the sadness wash over me, then I picked up my pizza and headed back to work.

At work, I was dressing the wound of a patient who was from my home town. We talked about the places we knew. We talked about how much it changed. We talked about how it was not our home anymore.

And then he started talking about his medical history.  About how he used to be diabetic but he wasn’t.  How he had had a pancreas transplant. How this had happened at Vancouver General Hospital 20 years ago.

And all I could think about was how 6 year ago, I was told it wasn’t a possibility. That maybe somewhere, some one had done it, but it wasn’t really possible.

And in the middle of wound care, my most favourite thing in the world to do in nursing…

I fell apart and had to leave the room.

I lost my mind and started crying.

Because 6 years ago I was told that it wasn’t possible and what if it had been and it would have saved his life?

It’s all a moot point now.  But at that moment, on that day, my heart broke again.

And instead of the wave of sadness like at the pizza joint… I was hit with the deep ugly sobs that always result in me looking like I’ve smoked a lot of pot.  Bloodshot eyes and blotchy face and cannot hide that from anyone.

I’m happy for the gentleman who is living his best happiest.

Life is full of triggers.  Some will be a gentle reminder….  some will be a brick wall I run into full force.

I’m grateful that I loved well enough to still grieve that hard.


This is Us

It has taken me almost a week to write about the Superbowl episode of This is Us.

It shook me, more than Grey’s Anatomy’s depiction of Derek Shepherd’s death (sorry if you’re not caught up on that – but it’s been a few years…) It shook me not because of the way he died, because Derek’s death was more like my husband’s but because of the aftermath.

The having to tell the children. The having to parent the children. The 20 years in the future and how the memories still affect Rebecca and how the children cope and how life was so drastically altered as a PARENT.

Not just the wife. The mother.

I can’t find a video of it, the moment where she goes to Miguel’s house to talk to the kids.  Where she stands in the doorway and tells him that she needs to be strong for her kids and if he can’t, he’ll need to take a walk until he can.

But in watching that…. all I could see was myself. How my kids went home in one car and I went home in another and I was lost. I was not a pillar of strength for my kids. I was not strong, I was not able, I was not the rock they needed to lean on.

All I could see in that moment was how I failed my children when their father died.

How one of my kids would tell me that she thinks of the good memories and is happy.  And I thought that was such an amazing thing. But really – she didn’t want me to be sadder.  Now, when her life is changing so much, she needs her dad and he’s not here and she’s ANGRY because she hasn’t grieved.

How one of my kids asked me after a fight with my chapter 2 if things were ok, because he didn’t want me to be sad again.

How my daughter says flat out that when I’m old, one of my other kids will be responsible for me because she took care of me when he died. She did her part.

How I failed them.

I don’t know how to fix that.

I was in so much pain. I hurt so badly. I couldn’t move past it. And I failed them.

This is Us showed another side of being a widow. It showed what happens on the other side – not just from the widow perspective, but from the children’s perspective.  Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t. The kids are a plot line, a side story that come out every once in a while to make a point.

And because of it, This is Us, the episode where Jack died, the episode after where they went to the funeral (and the odd needing to have him with her at all times) that affected me in a way I wasn’t expecting. I wasn’t expecting to be reminded of how I abandoned my kids when they needed me the most – not on purpose – just because I didn’t know how to cope with it myself.

How do I fix that? They are my heart.


6 Years

I’ve reached a point in my grief where I feel as though I don’t have the … right? to grieve anymore.

At least not publicly.

Or even in my home in front of other people.

Especially not my Sexxy Chef.

Except I still grieve.  And I try to hide it.

6 years ago, Mark went into the hospital.  At this point, 6 years ago, we had come through a surgery that was his only hope.  He survived it.  He was stable, but still incredibly fragile, medically speaking.

At 6 years… the grief is still there.  I still hurt.  I still miss him. I still think life is INCREDIBLY unfair that he is not here to be a part of everything that goes on. I still wonder what he would think, how he would feel with all the changes in our lives.

Luke is now Leah.

Andrew has had 2 girlfriends.

Katie has a son.

Kyle has 2 boys.

I’ve become a nurse.

And we live in the place I swore I’d never move to.

But after 6 years, I wonder what words to use to describe the things that hurt. How many ways can I say I miss him? How many ways can I say it’s not fair? How many ways can I say I hurt because he’s not here?

3 years ago, someone asked me why I was still grieving so hard over him.

3 years ago.

Which makes me wonder – how many people look at my life, my new love, my ability to move forward and walk through and would see me grieving hard and ask me WTF? Why are there still tears? Why are you still sad? Why are you still grieving so hard?

My only answer is that I grieve as hard as I love.

I loved him enormously.  I died when he did. But I’m still here, breathing, living, growing, moving forward in my life.

So after 6 years, I don’t know if I have many new words to describe how I feel because he’s not here. But the ones I have are still very important.

I love him.

I miss him.

Mark in Fruitvale



Happy Anniversary!

It amazes me how many people I know that got married 18-22 years ago.

How many of them are still married.

How many of them are posting recently on Facebook about how they’re so happy to be celebrating their 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, or 22nd anniversary and I love you SOOOOOO much.

How many of them I want to punch.

How much I want to cry about it.

Happy fricken anniversary.

It would have 18 years for me and Mark on Aug 21.

We *almost* got 13.

And I’m getting married to a new and amazing man soon-ish.

And I still want to tell all of them to STFU.

Don’t get me wrong.  I AM happy for them. I just want them to STFU about being happy about their anniversary when I didn’t get it.

Yep, totally selfish.  I wouldn’t actually tell them that though – I just send them a happy anniversary and move on.

But dammit.  Could you STOP with all the in-your-face love-y dove-y crap for a month or so?


Mar & Jane Wedding


It’s Your Birthday.

I’m writing this a day early.

You see, tomorrow is your birthday.  But it’s also date night. And while it’s your birthday, you’re DEAD and I have date night with my LIVING fiance.

I had to think this morning. I had to count the number of years you’d been gone vs how old you were when you died in order to remember that this would have been your 54th birthday.

It’s not that I don’t miss you – I miss you with every fibre of my being. It makes me cry when I stop and think about it.  I keep myself so busy that I don’t have time to stop and think a lot of the time.  I don’t want to miss you that much when I’m snuggled up to him. I don’t want to be laying in bed with him and wishing it were you.

I don’t want to be sad about you and have him make jokes to cheer me up when I just want to miss you.

I need those things to be somewhat separate. I need to miss you when I miss you and love him when I love him. They do intersect – he’s freaking amazing when it comes to my grief over you.

But there’s a shame, a guilt about missing you when I’m so happy with him. I don’t want to make him feel bad for not being you – but I don’t want him to be you – I want him to be him.

But it’s YOUR birthday tomorrow.  My 5th without you. My 6th without you at home. Actually my 7th without you at home – you were with Wade on your 48th, remember? You spent that birthday with Wade, the next birthday in the hospital and then you were gone.

Happy Birthday my Forever 49 Love.  You are missed. You are loved. You are always remembered.


That moment when…

… Christmas is coming and the stress of missing him is getting harder to handle.

… you’re focussed on everything Christmas and every single moment is blocked off between Christmas crafting and school stuff.

… you’re getting more and more on edge… snapping at those you love.

… your amazing fiance calls you on what is really bugging you… pokes the “Mark box” you’ve been trying to keep closed inside your heart and emotions.

… you fall apart… in his arms…

… he just lets you cry

… he spends time doing all the amazing things that make you feel incredibly safe and loved…

… he tells you he loves you and that it’s ok, the grief storms will always be there and he’ll be the shelter you need.

I finally told him about my nightmares. And the visitation.  And he held me while I cried.

I am so very grateful for the man who will weather my storms.  I am so incredibly lucky to have found a man who loves me to pieces…and picks me up and puts me back together when I fall apart.



Dreams and Visits

He’s all around me lately.

I had several nightmares last week.  In one of them, I watched him die again.

Why can’t I have a dream about him where we’re happy? Why do I have to watch him die over and over and over and over?

I wanted to talk to my Sexxy Chef about it, but this is his crazy season and he’s distracted with work.  So I’ve left it… for now.

And then, last Saturday, I’m in bed.  By myself. I can hear the Sexxy Chef out in the living room. I know my boys are in bed at the other end of the house and that there’s no one else in the house.

I’m curled up under my covers… reading…and suddenly… someone sits on my bed. There’s *no one* else around. I’m not gonna lie. I was a little freaked out.  Because I’m not sure that it’s him. I mean… it must be. I don’t think I have any other spirits hanging around. So I closed my eyes… put my phone away… and said “Good night Mark.”

And went to sleep. Dreamless, peaceful sleep. First time in a week.

I see him, in the corner of my eye lately. I see him around me.  I’m hoping it’s him. I don’t know for sure…but I’m hoping. I don’t feel like it’s another presence…but I’m not 100% sure it’s him, either.

I miss him.  I miss his presence. I miss his smile, his laugh, his outlook on life. I miss the way he could calm me at a moment’s notice.

I appreciate that he’s come visiting… it makes me smile.

But could I have a happy dream please?

Mark in Fruitvale