Starting Over
Beyond the Margins Online Magazine, Oregon Humanities
© 2015

I sat in the kitchen the night my husband, Mark, died and stared at the list I’d requested the doctor make for me at the hospital. The three-by-five-inch slip of white paper was already wrinkled from my repeated opening and closing: call Mark’s family; call friends; call the coroner and funeral home tomorrow; love your children through this. And so it began, this march through the rest of my life. Our six-year-old son, Dylan, was at my parents’ house. Our twenty-month-old, Hallie, had been delivered home earlier and was asleep upstairs. I wrote out a script that began with “I have some very hard news.” At thirty-four-years old, my healthy, athletic husband had simply stopped breathing. We would soon learn that an arrhythmia shook his heart until it stopped and never returned it to a regular beat.

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The Still Point
Desert Call Magazine
© 2015

I was once married to a man who thought his body was the ultimate in sports equipment.  Mark hiked; he backpacked; he played pick-up basketball; he bicycled both our children four miles into the closest small town and back again.  He ran.  He pulled us up and over logs on long walks and never, ever, considered stopping because the going was rough. He paused for dinner, or for stretching out on the sofa to read to the children.  But, mostly he liked to move.  It seems, now, that his sudden death on an outbreath reflected the way he’d lived.  Though I used to wish for a long goodbye, his death spared him pain and a forced slowing. The arrhythmia that fibrillated his heart gave no warning. One minute he was there, enjoying a dinner with all of us; then he was gone.

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We Are Made of Water
Desert Call Magazine
© 2012

What is water but the generated soul?
     -William Butler Yeats

The first time I fell in love, the first time I knew where I came from, I was leaning over the front seat of my parent’s ’56 Buick, in the days before seatbelts, watching, waiting.  I could not name my anticipation.  Later I would say that it was my first sensation of coming home, and isn’t that what love is?  In a small V over my dad’s shoulder, between two coastal mountains, I saw the Pacific, the sea.  I was 7-years-old when I wrote my name on that water.

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