Grief in a time of Grieving

I woke up at 5:00 this morning- wide awake, listening to the Starlings dance on the roof and watched the sun slowly iluminate Longs Peak.

June 30th always wakes me with a jolt, a collective FU(K, a deep sigh and a muddled plan to get through the day.

It’s hard to relive one of your saddest days. Grief freezes time and memories into smells, sounds and snippets as vivid as film. As the day goes on, the edge wears off. I become distracted and the day passes. But the morning of June 30th is my time. My time to remember my Jack. My time to remember how a day started with such promise and how it ended.

15 years of this June 30th- some years are better some years are worst. But today will always be a deep stain on the rest of 365 days. And today, as July-eve begins, so does a collective month of bittersweet anniversaries.

And I am not on my ‘A’ game this year.

This year I am tired.

Four months of unknowns and quarantines, and riots and a bad economy and a pandemic that keeps raging; I am not going into July as my best self. I’m showing up disheveled, a bit anxious and fully aware that the tribe I lean into during this time might be feeling the same way. I have lost my big girl pants and kick ass boots.

And I am tired of rationalizing the last four months knowing that we are still in the thick of it. I am so tired of fighting for my joy. I’m tried of drinking the kumbacha and marveling at how great my coffee tastes in the morning.

And you know what? My homemade masks are really the worst ever. My husband asked me the other day if we could please just buy some.



I will be back. I’ll be back in some annoying joyful way…..give me about 10 hours, a glass of wine and access to our Courage Classic pictures.

This morning? Screw it. This morning I will lie in the suck for a bit.



I have been hesitant to write about this for years because the memory is so painful.

And I have been watching my friends divide and unravel in the last week.

I have remained silent.

Part of the reason is that I am a privileged white woman. I am. I see this fight. I know this fight is overdue. And I am so afraid of saying the wrong thing. Picking up my phone at the wrong time, exposing myself as a Karen.

Can I just pause for one second and apologize to ALL of my friends named Karen? I am so sorry this all somehow got pegged on your name. Sorry, back to my thoughts.

I have admittedly, been a Karen. I have walked in with my Marriott points and demanded better service, I have switched rooms, tables, asked for the manager. I have at times been an ass. I am working on this.

A friend of mine took her daughter into a Chik-Fil-A a couple weeks ago. My friend is half Hispanic, half English. Her daughter’s father is black. They ordered their fries well done, the manager refused and somewhere along the way, the manager told them they could wait for their fries while they waited for the police.

My friend was ready to sit in the booth and sip her sweet tea while she waited for the police until her daughter started to cry. “No police. Please Mommy.”

They left without their well-done fries.

My friend is fine to wait for the police. Her daughter is growing up to fear them.

I do not care what side you are on. Read the above again. I am not for defunding. I am for reforming. Why does this nine year old fear the police?

I was on the wrong side.


This is ironic because I really pushed the police several times in my 20’s. They could have hauled my drunk ass to jail and everyone would have said, “Yeah…..well.”

And for that I thank you.

But at time when you and I really needed to connect, we missed it. We missed it to the point I had to go through trauma therapy to be able to write and post about this as I do now. EMDR- three months. I highly recommend it.

On July 25, 2010 my daughter died in my mom’s house. She suffered a massive seizure. When paramedics arrived, there was no heartbeat but they kept working. I jumped in the ambulance as we took off to the hospital.

My husband grabbed his keys to follow behind. The detective on-scene stopped him. He told Hubs he would drive him. There was no option. Get in the car.

My parents tried to get in their cars to follow. They were told they had to stay behind.

This house in Highlands Ranch became a potential crime scene.

My husband drove with the detective. He was told that we would be separated for questioning. We were not under arrest. We were not suspects. We had done nothing wrong but this was protocol.

The hospital called our primary care physician. While she was devastated, she told the ED doc this was not unexpected- that our girl was very sick and had been for a while. The ED docs accepted this. Douglass county coroner was on their way and we all started the lifetime process of grieving our girl.

It was Sunday and the coroner had to be paged at home. According to our jurisdiction, until a body was released, we were under investigation.

Hubs and I were separated and we were not allowed to be alone in the room with Samantha. We could not leave the hospital. We were stuck; waiting for the coroner.

Oh Lord. I was so mad and sad and just let me grieve and be with her. I paced the hall like a caged tiger.

“I know how you feel,” said the young policeman denying me entrance into her room.

I may have thrown an F-bomb. I didn’t care.

How dare you.

How dare you?

“What?! How could you possibly know how I feel? You need to let me in there!”

I had pushed my luck. The room changed. People stood up, faces grew hard.

Hubs touched my arm and pulled me back. I watched people react. I was a suspect. Everything I held true about this world and my place in it had changed.

Things could go wrong very quickly. Medical evidence and doctors clearance be dammed. I was suspect.

I was so sad. I was so angry. But beyond all of those things, I was very scared.

And so I complied. I did not say another word. We said goodbye to our child with that same policeman looking over. We never had another moment alone with our girl.

They confiscated all of the meds in her diaper bag. The detective told me he was taking them. I looked in the bag and saw my Zoloft sitting on top. I joking asked if I could have that back because I might need my anti-depressants.

I told a joke because I was so afraid of doing something wrong.

Three hours later they cleared my mom to leave. Her lovely upper middle class house in Highlands Ranch was searched inch by inch. The poor dog was so traumatized he blew his entire coat for three weeks.

This was protocol. I get that. You were following step by step what was in the training manual.

I do not blame you. Any of you. But maybe we can all sit at a table and say when a traumatic event happens it is not one person against another. There is no right or wrong. Maybe we can ALL do better.

I contacted Douglas County Police. They told me all child death cases are treated the same. I asked about creating a program to first responders recognize a medically complex child.

They told me there was no budget for that reform.

What if we had been black? What if it wasn’t in Highlands Ranch? What if we were in 5 points? What if there were something suspect on either of our records? What if I fit every single profile we all talk about.

What if I fit that profile and I threw an F-bomb in the Emergency Room. Would the outcome be different? Even worse?

This is not you against me. This is us. As a community doing better.

I thank you for what you do. With all of my heart. I know this post might make some of you angry.

I implore you to think how you would have responded had it been your child.

And if you were black.


Fight for your Joy

I got on my bike last weekend. The wheels were covered in bird poop and the tires were flat.

My bike shorts are a little snug due to embracing the COVID carbs but I pretended I was a burrito and snuggled on in anyway.

For some reason the clips were missing from my bike shoes. Seriously. Where the hell are my bike clips?

So many reasons not to ride.

Tires were pumped with a small prayer that flatness was due to neglect and not a leak. Bird poop is stubborn but scrubs off with a little persistence. Missing clips? eh. I can do it.

My friend Ging and I rode for 30 miles. Not bad for the first ride of the season, even if it’s almost June. Heart rate rose, legs got tired, Longs Peak was on my horizon.

I am so happy. I thought.

Seriously, giddy, giggly happy. As turned home, I told myself, remember this joy.

Last Friday the pools opened up in Boulder for lap swim. I reserved lane 3 at 4:00. I love summer lap swim. The water is so clear, the sun shines on your back, all you hear is your breath. I cannon balled into the pool letting the water surround me; fill my toes, my fingers, my non-showered hair.




My God I am so happy.

It is small. Last year it would have been insignificant. But it these times, when it is so easy to go down a deep, dark rabbit hole, I must fight for one thing.

I must fight for my joy.

I must fight for my joy.

I am a ninja-warrior, joy detective, finding moments, breathing them in and searching for others like them.

I must fight like hell to keep my head above the chatter and to know when it sucks me down. I KNOW when I am better, my head is clear. When my head is clear, my interaction with you is better. And maybe that joy can spread.

Seriously. Find it. Write it down. Inhale it. Fight for it.


Dear America,

We need to chat.

It seems our relationship has become tangled and a bit complex in the last year or two. And to be perfectly honest, the last couple months have been a little trying.

Here’s the thing. I really, really like you. I have never doubted that a life of incredible opportunities is nestled in the fact that I was born in this country. Call me naive but I had a solid belief that we, as Americans will do the right thing. Other countries face unrest, tyranny, division, riots but not us.

Maybe its me. Maybe I became a tad complacent, snuggled in the folds of the Stars and Stripes, knowing we may not always agree but knowing that we would rally to do what is right. We are founded in a Constitution that changed the world; trusting that the precious branches of our government prevent one branch from over-shadowing the rest of the tree not only for ourselves but for the rest of humanity.

I should have fought for you harder. I should have watered that tree instead of just basking in the protective shade.

But gosh, you’ve been so strong for so long; overcome a depression, world wars, arms race. I just assumed you were okay. My bad. I should have listened. Instead of reading the paper at dinner, I should have stopped, asked you what you needed. I should have told you how amazing you are and how much I love those three beautiful branches as a way to divide control.

Can we come back? I hardly recognize you anymore. You’re quick to react, a little snippy. I’ve noticed your old friends never call you to hang out anymore and quite honestly, I’m not sure I really approve of your new friends.

But I do love you. I am grateful for all you have done. We might not get back to where we were but perhaps it can be better for both of us?

I miss you.