Coping With Loss

Drop Dead Life on Kickstarter

»Posted on Aug 8, 2013 in BLOG, Coping With Loss, Dating For Widows, Death Of Spouse, DROP DEAD LIFE, Featured, Memoir Excerpts, Parenting & Loss, Publicity, & Interviews, Sudden Death | 0 comments

For the past ten years, I have been advocating for widows, women, defibrillators in schools, and a treatment for Brugada Syndrome—the sudden death cardiac condition both of my daughters, unfortunately, inherited from from my late husband, Erik. And now, I am reaching out for help to reach 100% of my Kickstarter funding goal by 8/19 so that I can publish my forthcoming memoir, Drop Dead Life: A Pregnant Widow’s Heartfelt and Often Comic Journey about Death, Birth, and Rebirth. This is more than a story about widowhood. Drop Dead Life dives deep into the worlds of online dating, hereditary depression, finding humor, parenting, afterlife connection, and the belief that each of us—regardless of our circumstances—can create the love and happiness we...

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The Father’s Day Timepiece

»Posted on Jun 16, 2010 in BLOG, Coping With Loss, Death Of Spouse, DROP DEAD LIFE, Sudden Death | 0 comments

On Father’s Day, I hold the wristwatch—a stainless steel Bell & Ross—and notice the delayed clicks of the white second hand. My thumb moves in circular motions across the waterproof glass. I’m surprised by its weight. Erik, my 29-year-old husband, pleaded with me for this expensive watch, but I said, “You know we can’t afford that right now.” We were saving money to buy our first house in over-priced Marin County, California. “Hyla, he’s going to give it to me for one-third the cost.” Oh, Erik. “Why do I have to be the one who has to say no?” Erik put me in charge of our finances after he’d accepted that his impetuous spending habits weren’t helping us save. We were newly pregnant with our second daughter, and...

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God Inflicts Anger

»Posted on Nov 25, 2009 in BLOG, Coping With Loss, Death Of Spouse, DROP DEAD LIFE, Sudden Death | 0 comments

I walk out of the closet, my arms full of Erik’s shirts, all still on hangers. My 8-month-pregnant belly acts as a shelf, enabling me to carry more. “I hope you’re alright with this,” I say to my brother, Troy. “That you don’t think it’s weird I’m giving you Erik’s stuff.” I pile the shirts on top of my bed, the white plastic hangers clinking together like falling dominoes. “No, I don’t think it’s weird, as long as you’re fine, as long as you feel ready,” Troy holds up a navy blue button-down. “This one will definitely fit.” “Erik would be really happy you had these, I’m sure of it.” It hasn’t even been three weeks since the blood trickled down the side of my husband’s mouth...

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Pregnant Widow Shutting Down

»Posted on Oct 15, 2009 in BLOG, Coping With Loss, Death Of Spouse, DROP DEAD LIFE | 0 comments

Tatiana clings to me, her legs wrapped beneath my 9-month pregnant belly, while the other Marin Day School toddlers push balls, rakes, miniature vacuums, and each other around in the outdoor play area of the preschool. Primary colored toys are scattered everywhere—many of which Erik had cleaned only two months before, when he donated his time to Tatiana’s school to make some “minor repairs.” Erik was supposed to fix a couple of loose locks over a weekend, but the teachers returned to a new garden of potted flowers, re-stained benches and sandbox, and a large rainbow play-structure that had been flipped and scrubbed from bottom to top. When he walked through the metal gate to bring Tatiana there the next day, the entire staff gave him a standing...

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Father and Son’s Ashes Scattered Together

»Posted on Sep 29, 2009 in BLOG, Coping With Loss, DROP DEAD LIFE, Parenting & Loss | 0 comments

I give Troy the burgundy velvet bag that contains Erik’s ashes. “Do you mind holding them? I may need to run down to the beach by myself.” “I’ll put them in my back pack.” Troy rests the gray sack by his feet and slides the ashes in. He starts to zip up the backpack, but pauses. “Jeanette, I might be able to fit yours in, too.” Jeanette hugs her pine box closer to her chest. “No, I want to hold him. Hayden’s fine right here.” My mother-in-law, Jeanette, has held on to her husband’s ashes for 17 years now. When we talked about scattering Erik’s ashes, she said, “We’ll scatter them together. It’s never felt right to do it before, but it feels right now. Erik can be with his daddy. They can...

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Erik Grieve 1973 – 2003, Life is Not About the Dates on Either Side, But the Hyphen in Between

»Posted on Sep 7, 2009 in BLOG, Coping With Loss, Death Of Spouse, DROP DEAD LIFE, Parenting & Loss, Sudden Death | 0 comments

I walked in slow-motion towards Erik’s closed, mahogany casket. The old stone chapel was filled with familiar faces. There were faces from Skywalker Ranch and other Lucas parties, faces I had photographed in my studio, faces from my bridal shower, my wedding, and Tatiana’s birth. I kept my head down. As the pregnant widow, all eyes were on me, but I did not want to be seen. Direct eye contact would break me open in a way that I would not be ready to be broken open for years. Dressed in an ankle-length maternity skirt, long-sleeve black shirt, and the comfortable three-inch heels that had taken me hours to find just the day before, I sat in the front pew. My brother, Troy, and his wife, Jen, sat next to me. Only ten feet separated us from the blanket of...

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