Fire on the Mountain

When the above fire broke out behind my house just a few weeks after Lance passed (actually the day after Lance’s birthday), I thought “Okay, this might actually push me over the edge.” As thousands were on a pre-evacuation warning, it beckoned the question “What would I take?” I know people always say pictures…but I was thinking letters…which I had just come across a box full of letters Lance and I had written each other over the years.

After the fire was no longer a threat and the slight sense of panic resided, it made me want to purge…like crazy. I started asking myself, “How would I feel if I lost this in a fire?” and if I wouldn’t miss it, I’ve been donating or tossing it. It’s been a good exercise for me because I realized how replaceable most things are. I’m not saying I wouldn’t be slightly traumatized if my house burned down but I realize that very little I have matters…beside my kids and dog. I mean I already had that lesson over the year but now I felt the need to do something about all the “stuff.” I thought about when you die you leave all these material things behind so why are they so important in this life? When Lance and I would go on our big trips to Asia, we would bring very little and I never missed a thing.

People sometimes ask me what I’ve been doing. Now you know. My sister and I filled three big bags of my clothes and I immediately gave them away. My friend Tiphaine and I practically took shovels into my kids bedroom and cleaned out their room. Every drawer, closet, and room in the house and eventually my attic is getting the big purge and it feels really really good. I’m recruiting more friends to continue the process and for anyone who wants to go at it in my garage is welcome.

I’ve always been a purger (my sisters would disagree but that’s because they are minimalist) but this particular time it feels extremely freeing and cleansing and clearing and just opening up the energy for new beginnings. I am not saying I am ready to move on…but I am willing to do anything and everything that helps me along in this process. I don’t want to be weighted down with stuff. There’s something about uncluttering, freeing the energy, not holding onto stuff….literally and figurtively. It’s amazing the amount of stuff that accumulates.

In case you are wondering if I have gone through Lance’s stuff, my initial reaction was not to touch a thing just in case he came back (I mean he did really look like Jesus when he died) but realized that’s not exactly moving on. I do a little bit here and there and I am trying not to feel too attached to his belongings. I’ve realized that I’ve got the best of him in my kids and his ever present spirit. So far I’ve gone through his clothes and have given the majority of them to his friends and family. I realized I wanted to spread him around and see his friends wearing his clothes and that would make me happy. I kept some ratty beloved t-shirts and sleep with one every night. My kids also kept a collection of his favorite t-shirts and wear them to bed or in Amélie’s case…all the time.

I’m saving the letters for a rainy day.

In the meantime, I’m purging. I encourage you all to do it too. It’s unbelievable addicting and liberating.



Lance was my DJ.

When we first met, he made me countless tapes(!), then we graduated to CD’s and finally to our sonos system. When we discovered sonos, we thought we had died and gone to Heaven. I don’t know what a life without music would be. I listen to music when I’m happy, sad, mellow, mad, and every emotion in between. I know many of you can relate.

We bonded instantly over our love of music. If he was my DJ, I was his muse. He would DJ and I would dance for him and the kids. I could always say “Hey Lance…I’m in this mood, can you put on some music?” He would get it right on the money. His musically tastes were vast…from classical, to punk, to jazz, to hippy, to classic rock, to spiritual, to reggae, to grunge, to country (Johnny Cash country), to world music, to contemporary, to bluegrass to you name it. We related on that level in a big way. While Lance was growing up listening to the Sex Pistols and the Violent Femmes, I was going to my first concert (The Police, Oingo Boingo, Thompson Twins, Madness and The Fixx). We both went to countless Dead Shows. We feel in love to Neil Young and Ben Harper. Lance claimed he had discovered Pearl Jam when they were a little unknown band that came to CU. I thought that was kinda cute and awfully cocky of him ;).

While we were on road trips and if we were listening to the radio, he always tested me to see if I knew the band that was playing. He was always trying to get me but nine out of ten times I would get it right…it never ceased to impress him. I was his match…maybe not quiet as eclectic but somehow I would pull it out of somewhere.

Music to me just defines and intensifies my mood…if i’m elated and listening to a song I love, I feel even more elated. When I’m sad, I blast those sad songs until I can cry no more. I sometimes wonder where my daughter gets her moves and then I realize…duh! Zach thinks I’m weird when I do some goofy dance but claims he loves a weird mom (we’ll see how long that lasts). Bottom line, music is cathartic for me.

Lately I’ve found myself listening to Justin Bieber…embracing Amelie’s music…but have had moments like, “Is this normal? Are other 40 something year olds listening to 18 year olds singing and actually kinda liking it?” There I admitted it!

I’m a little worried Lance is shaking his head wherever he is when he sees me rocking out to JB so this post is actually a request. My DJ is gone but I know I have countless die heart musically friends of all types. Could you post some suggestions of your favorite songs? Happy, sad, danceable…you name it. I need it! I have rhapsody and I can play them instantly.

It will bring lots of joy because I’m a little tired of my music and a little lost without my DJ.

Love and many thanks,
PS: Just in case I’ve worried you all, Amelie and I have bonded over Adele too.




I’ve been on a hiatus for several reasons…traveling and being with my kids but also feeling the need to unplug. However, I’M BACK (not as in everything is all hunky-dory but I am back to writing) and I have a lot to say in these upcoming months.

Yesterday marked two months since Lance passed. Anniversaries have taken on a whole new meaning. A little over a week ago would have been Lance and my 12th wedding anniversary. I thought we were going to make it to 50, yet we didn’t even make it to 12. That has been my saddest day to date.

I don’t know if I can comment on what grief is yet because I am not sure I even know…for a long time I was in fight or flight mode, then shock and disbelief (still in that phase sometimes) and when the emails and cards stopped coming…a feeling of loneliness, realizing that as time goes on for most, it stands still for me. It was a reminder that I am truly alone on this path, but even so I am continually surrounded by the love of my kids, friends and family and the watchful eyes and loving hearts of my community.

I often read this poem at night…when the day settles and the true loss of my man is felt. It gives me comfort and solace and reminds me that even though I may feel alone and Lance is not here physically, his spirit and soul will always remain.

Native American Prayer
I give you this one thought to keep –
I am with you still – I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the morning’s hush
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone –
I am with you still – in each new dawn.