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From the Book

"THREE DAYS AFTER MY HUSBAND DIED UNEXPECTEDLY...HE TOLD ME WHY."

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The View

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It seems as if life always has a way of reminding me that it is magical.

For the last few months I’ve been keeping an eye on the homes for sale around my house. My parents are moving to town in the next couple of years and we would love for them to live near us.

One day about two months ago I received an email saying the home next to mine was going up for sale. My heart started racing. I thought, “It’s a sign! It would be so great to have my parents next door!”

Long story short, I got the home under contract, but after ten days of struggling and strife I finally realized it wasn’t going to work. And in the middle of lots of tears, I let go of that home.

Surrender

Basketball Net

Over the last year and a half I bought and remodeled a home for us that is closer to the boys new school. The first day I set foot on the property, before I even purchased it, I knew I was going to live there. I also knew that between that moment, and when we moved in, it was going to be a back-breaking job to remodel. I knew it so deeply in my bones that I sat in the back yard on a wall (that first day) and cried.

The home was 40 years old and needed almost everything. But, it was just over a mile from their school, had “good bones”, was on an acre and had an old basketball court that the boys loved.

Reminders

Connor and Brannon in Cozumel Nov. 2013

As we head into February it shocks me that it has been almost 5 years since Mark passed away. In some respects it seems like yesterday and in others, like when I look around my life and see almost nothing the same as it was 5 years ago, it seems like a lifetime ago.

That said, the universe seems to always tip it’s hat at us and say, “I’m still taking care of you, remember?” This was evident last November when I took the boys on our first cruise together.

One of our stops was in Cozumel. If you have read my book you will know this location holds a deep meaning in our lives, but one the boys are not aware of.

Rapture! Can it be that simple?

This morning my yoga teacher put us into a very hard pose, and left us in it for a long time. When I was about ready to fall over and cry from exerting so much effort, she moved us into the next pose. My mind screamed, “Thank God!” And then I heard my awesome teacher say, “Enjoy the release.” And something in me woke up.

I knew that as part of the class she meant we should enjoy the experience of the physical release of the effort. Which her comment made me realize I did, immensely! My legs were now tingling rather than burning and it felt wonderful. But my teacher takes her physical yoga ideas into other areas of her life. Which tends to make me do the same. And I kept thinking about her words.

“Enjoy the release.” What a novel idea.

Surprise!!

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April has unarguably been the busiest month in my entire life. And yet amongst the whirlwind of activity we adopted a new dog from the pound. Jasmine.

When we brought her home I realized she wasn’t going to be satisfied with running around the back yard. That she would require lots of walks, and even runs on occasion. So, several mornings a week after dropping off the boys at school instead of rushing to work, (like I should have been) I’ve been heading to the park for a fast half hour or so trot with my ball of energy.

Dallas

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Dallas

The first time I met Dallas she looked at me sideways, as if to say, “I’m not sure you are good enough for him.” I respected her immediately.

Dallas was Mark’s dog. She walked beside him step in step wherever he went. She laid under his desk when he worked, she sat at his feet at the dinner table.

The only time she wavered was when one of the boys dropped crumbs on the floor. But right after she gobbled them up she was right back with Mark. Until the day he died.

That morning, she was lying beside our bed. That day, I wondered if she knew he was gone. That night, I went outside to bring her in and there were tattered shreds of metal all over the yard. She had torn down a gutter and ripped it to pieces. She knew.

Rain

My Best Friends and Rain!

As we go into the fall season here in central Texas I’m reminded of how weather has affected mine and Mark’s lives.

The night before we were married there was a huge thunderstorm that rattled through our town. Mark, who was raised in Texas, barely noticed. But not me, I adore the storms. My best friend Tab, who is also from California, and I watched out the windows in wonder.

For me the excitement of the lightening and thunder were a sign of the excitement that was brewing as Mark and I got ready to join our lives together in marriage.

Happy Birthday

Mark w connor on back

Mark would have turned 53 today if he had chosen to stay in his body. If you have read the book, you will understand how that is a bittersweet statement.

I woke up this morning and couldn't put my finger on why everything seemed a little gray even though the sun was shining brightly. I didn't remember it was Mark's birthday until the boys and I were eating breakfast and there had already been a few difficult 'mishaps'.

Mark's birthday has been on my mind off and on over the last few weeks and so my body knew and my subconscious knew, even though I didn't consciously acknowledge it.

The Path

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A couple of weeks ago the boys and I took a trip to Hawaii. One morning after we finished our breakfast next to the pond with hammerhead sharks, we decided to take a stroll.

As we meandered our way down the path in front of our hotel we quickly realized that the path was coming to an end. There was a sharp drop-off of about three feet that went through a few bushes. And there was a sign. It said, “Warning, you are now leaving the property, enter at your own risk.”

My oldest, the ‘rules’ kid, said, “Mommy, we have to turn back.”

My youngest and I both smiled. I said, “We could go check out what is beyond the path?”

With a hint of fear but a definite glimmer in his eye my oldest said, “Are you sure?”

My answer was to start making my way down the drop-off.

Next step

About a week ago I made a very difficult decision, with Mark's blessing, to let our nanny go. She has been with us since Brannon was a baby, almost three years BEFORE Mark passed away. In many ways she has been the bridge that has connected the time when we had him with us, to now.

This decision was not taken lightly as it means more work for me, less input from other adults for the boys, less time for me to work, and the added emotional side of letting go of someone who has been like a family member, especially since Mark died.

When it hit me that it was time to tell her, there was a flooding of different emotions, sadness, fear, worry and even numbness. But as I worked through the details of how it would effect our lives the unexpected feeling of excitement grew within me.

Endorsements

"A story about loss turns into a beautifully written affirmation of life."
       .... Neale Donald Walsch, author, Conversations with God