Sudden Death

11-Year-Old Boy Tries to Save his Father

»Posted on Oct 12, 2009 in BLOG, DROP DEAD LIFE, Parenting & Loss, Sudden Death | 0 comments

Erik told me about his dad, Hayden, when we first started dating. We were both 20, both students at Florida State University. Erik majored in computer science while I studied creative writing. Within days of knowing one another, it was obvious that Erik’s rational, organized side would compliment the artist in me. Erik spoke slowly, with quiet intensity. “We were on vacation.” I sat cross-legged, on Erik’s bedroom floor, soaking in the masculine whisper of his words. My attention was focused entirely on him. He stretched out on his back and put his head in my lap, his eyes directed at the circulating ceiling fan. “We were on vacation, at the beach . . . I was eleven. It was just me, my mom, and my dad. My dad had brought me out...

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Death Caused by Thoughts?

»Posted on Sep 15, 2009 in BLOG, Death Of Spouse, DROP DEAD LIFE, Parenting & Loss, Sex For Widows, Sudden Death | 0 comments

I folded our warm white towels while Tatiana, only twelve months old then, napped in her bedroom. Erik and I had been married just over two years and, already, I was four months pregnant with our second daughter, Keira. Erik and I both felt the same intense love for Tatiana and were excited to have another baby right away. But there was no excitement in the house that day. The house was quiet, except for the annoyed thoughts I could hear myself thinking about Erik. Sick of his crap. We had not been speaking to each other for hours. I stacked the towels neatly into the closet, passing Erik in the hall. I did not look at his brown eyes or admire his thick black hair. Instead, I grabbed a new set of sheets and I walked away from him, into our bedroom. Erik...

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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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Love After All?

»Posted on Aug 18, 2009 in BLOG, Dating For Widows, Death Of Spouse, DROP DEAD LIFE, Sudden Death | 0 comments

Three years had passed since the last time I had seen Erik. This would be interesting, I thought, as I finished drawing the black eyeliner on my upper lids. I slid into a just-tight-enough pair of black pants and declared the matching violet sweater set winner of the “I want to look good, but not too good” contest. My bed was made for the first time in weeks, its inviting purple and red chenille covers setting a serene and sensual mood. It was time to present myself as the successful baby photographer. Time to show that I was a together 26 year-old woman, someone who learned from her mistakes, someone willing to take responsibility for her actions. Time to apologize for all of the crap I put on Erik when we broke up. I gathered the clothes that were...

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After-life Connection

»Posted on Aug 16, 2009 in BLOG, Coping With Loss, Death Of Spouse, DROP DEAD LIFE, Sudden Death | 0 comments

I stretched out on the green velvet couch, my legs resting in Carlyn’s lap. My statue of Quan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion, hovered above us, on the fireplace mantle. Quan Yin was peaceful and wise—exactly what I strived to be—her stone arms out in front of her, her hands open wide. The light from the candles illuminated Carlyn’s long, curly brown hair. Her green eyes connected with mine. We were present, no lies between us, no false pretense. Carlyn spoke softly. “I keep seeing his face . . . Erik’s face.” I stared at her, blankly, and said nothing. “Over your shoulder, his eyes looking at me. Do you see him like that?” “No,” I told her. “I haven’t seen him or felt him since just a couple of weeks after...

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The Worst Thing Imaginable

»Posted on May 2, 2009 in BLOG, Death Of Spouse, DROP DEAD LIFE, Sudden Death | 0 comments

At the hospital, just thirty minutes later, I stood over his body in total disbelief. Erik was stretched out on a steel table in the Emergency Room. Eyes closed, arms at his sides, he was motionless. There was no subtle rise in the white hospital sheet where the air once filled his chest. This can’t be real. The body in front of me was what had been carrying my Erik, but my Erik was gone. It was as if I had been able to feel his massive spirit pass through me—a disorienting consumption of my senses—in our kitchen, during my call to 911. All the while my brother had tried to revive him, all the while I had repeated to Tatiana that “Dada was going to be OK,” I had known it wasn’t going to be OK. Somehow, I had known. I had felt it. Erik was dead. Dead....

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