Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

To my Trainer

A couple months ago, my cocky self signed up for a bike ride called the Triple Bypass- it’s 120 miles over 3 mountain passes. It is a tough, tough ride. But my cocky self felt confident, I made it into the lottery and paid my $120.

I DO get a bike jersey out of the deal, so I got that going for me.

My lovely trainer-friend Tracey approached my cocky-self. “Have you started training?”

“Training? It’s February…the race is in July!”


“Oh she’ll be fine,” my husband said. “Heather is a Hoss.”

Hoss I’ve been called a Hoss once before, a group of 7 men and yours truly were lost in Crested Butte on a mountain bike trail for 8 hours. When we got back to camp, hungry and in the dark, a friend of mine said, “Heather did great, she’s a Hoss.”

I guess Hoss is boy speak for something complimentary.

I think the verdict is still out.

Hoss….I think I would rather be called something pretty, like a princess, or fairy-queen or ruler of all that is pink. That sounds better than Hoss.

Never-the-less my Hoss status did not convince Tracey that I could get my hiney over three passes. Tracey trains people to complete Iron-man triathlons….complete 2 miles of swimming, one marathon and 120 miles of biking….one might call this a long day. She is quite good and the people she trains do finish what they started. So I listened.

“I am going to write up a training schedule for you. Will you follow it?”

“Of course, I will follow it.” I said, holding a glass of wine in one hand and a cheesy poof in the other. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I am a trainer’s nightmare. I under-train and over-estimate my physical capabilities. I once trained for a marathon while still hangin‘ at the bars as a social-smoker. It was quite an achievement.

But those days are over. I am 40 after all and it’s time to take my aging body seriously…and I would hate let dear Tracey down.

So on Monday I went out for my first ride and was surprised to find it a little bittersweet. Two years ago, riding my bike became a solace, an escape for an hour or two from being Samantha’s mom. I now fondly recall those times, pulling my bike out, knowing that Samantha was in the care of her nurse or her Grandma’s and riding for a coveted hour or two…with the cell phone close at hand.

As I rode towards snow-capped mountains, I recalled the jersey I was given last year….Green Eggs and Ham…I am Sam….

And I started to chat…

I am Sam
I am Sam

Would you, could you in a box?
Would you, could you, with a fox?

I pedaled towards the mountains….

I am Sam
Sam I am

Would you, could you with a mouse?
Would you, could you in a house?

My heart rate increased…

Sam I am,
I am Sam

I will not eat green eggs and ham
I will not eat them Sam-I-am

I am Sam
I am Sam

And I got through my first ride; 25 miles and all. On my way home I stopped to watch a herd of elk and ate some gummy bears because a ride is not a ride without gummy bears.

Thank you Sam-I-am and Trainer Tracey. I might just get my a** over that pass 🙂

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

A forward post

This is not from me…it’s from my friend Deana- Max’s Mom. It left me ugly crying on a Delta flight from Atlanta this evening.

So I thought I would share.

Thank you Deana for putting into words this amazing relationship we have with this amazing place.

A time to give…

It’s that time of year again. The Alice 105.9 Alice’s 36 Hours for Kids to raise money and awareness for The Children’s Hospital here in Aurora, CO. Although I’m not listening to the radio all day at work, or in the car, I have followed this for a few years now, as they do so much to raise money for Children’s Hospital.

The stories are heart-warming, and full of kids who have needed this amazing hospital for some part of their lives, and many have gotten better because of the top-notch care they’ve received. These are worthy stories, beautiful stories of miracles. But, they aren’t the only stories. There are so many other stories that don’t make it on air. The stories like ours…maybe the stories of the kiddos that don’t ever get better. They are the stories that are hard to hear. We want to hear about the miracles. We want to hear about how this top rated hospital can time and time again “Make It All Better”. But we are the stories that should also be heard.

Ours are the children who make it into the hospital for a small stomach bug, and leave three weeks later, having spent Christmas on the Eighth Floor, an emergency surgery, with a price tag of twice our yearly income going back to the place that once again saved our son’s life. Ours are the ones who have been handed over into the hands of surgeons to stop the 200 plus seizures a day, coming back a new baby with part of his brain missing, but also hundreds of seizures missing too. Ours are the ones who have seen nearly every specialist department in the hospital, bypassing only the general pediatric team. Ours are the ones that have been in so much, we have favorite nurses, favorite rooms, favorite floors.

Ours are the children who died, and were brought back to life, but are never ever the same. Ours are the children who have the disease that will one day take their lives. Ours are the children who are mysteries to the doctors, who are still hoping for a diagnosis. Ours are the children who may look perfectly fine, but take a team of doctors with intensive care to help them do the things so many take for granted. Ours are the children who have left us, after the world renowned doctors just could do no more.

Ours are the children who make up the Children’s Hospital. The ones who will go to be treated time and time again for the remainder of their short lives. The ones who are here today because we are fortunate enough to have a thriving Children’s Hospital in our backyard. The ones who are no longer with us, but whose legacy lives on through foundations giving funds back to Children’s for research to find a cure of the disease that couldn’t be stopped.

So, when you listen, give…give generously. They do amazing things for all kids. The ones who get better, and the ones whose lives depend completely on places like The Children’s Hospital for them to get come home one more time.

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Happy Valentine’s Day

Statistics say…..

That if you lose a child, your chances for divorce are 90%.


What a crap-tastic statistic! And you know what its says?

“You have just lost a child, but be careful, you only have a 1 in 10 chance of your marriage surviving. You have lost a child, and you just might loose your family too.”

Rubbish, I say!


No one knows your grief for your child like your spouse. No one else knows ‘that look’ when a child cries in a restaurant. No one else knows how to dry your tears.

No one else knows when you need someone to hold your hand.

No one else will forever cherish that memory.

So, this Valentine’s Day is to my husband…..who is now sleeping on the couch after a dinner of steak and lobster.

No one else knows how to love my children.

No one else knows how to love that memory…..and to love me.

And for all of that, I am eternally grateful.

90% is a bunch of hooey.

Thank goodness.

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Chicken Soup Trifecta

Here is my latest story!

Page 197 🙂

This book hits me close to my heart. The Uninvited Guest was written on a fluke when Samantha was still alive. I wrote it about the Grief parents of terminally ill children live with every day….the Grief about having a child who will not walk, not talk, a child who has seizures, a child who will never live independently. I wrote it about the Grief that seems to accompany everyday life and how to live with that Grief….how to co-exist with Grief and still have a fulfilling life.

When the call for stories was posted I thought this story wouldn’t fit, we have Samantha. This book is about those who have lost a loved one. We still have our sweet, little loved one.

But it was still about Grief….so with a little encouragement from my writers group, I sent it in.

And I never heard anything back.

A week after Samantha passed away, I got a letter of acceptance stating they would like to publish my essay.

I think about this story often and how I told myself I can live with Grief and still have a fulfilling life with this uninvited guest.

Perhaps I need to see it in print.

P.S- We are having a book signing party and kick off for our foundation. You can find details here– please let me know if you would like to attend