Thursday, March 10, 2011


three years ago,

my first march in

this house.

overwhelmed by circumstances,

unaware of what

i was in for.


in her bed at

the hospital, madeline

still waiting

to arrive.

the flowers

blooming in

our yard...

grapefruit, lemon and

orange blossoms.

the yellow flowers

on the vine.

the jasmine bush and that

tree in the back

i thought was

dead, suddenly covered

in small, white flowers.

that scent,

like waking up in the

gardens at the

other huntington.

that scent,

you could smell it

a block away.

that scent,

it could cover up

the constant shit smell

of a leaking septic tank

(in my neighbor's yard, not mine, thankfully).

that scent,

it's back.

it reminds me

it's march.

that she never

got to take it all in,

and that i'll never

be who i was

back then.


  1. Isn't is amazing how our sense of smell triggers so many emotions? I have been stopped in my tracks at different times picking up a scent that reminds me of my husband. I still have his cologne and take a sniff of it because even though it makes me crazy sad that he cannot fill this new house I moved into with the kids, a part of him is here. I hope that this spring brings you many more blossoms that remind us of the beauty left in this world, and its hope for a new season.

  2. Life became a “new normal” after Teri’s death. I can never be who I was before that fateful phone call late at night. I wait for myself to return to my pre-call state of mind.

  3. Oh Matt. This is really powerful. I do the same thing each October as it starts to turn towards Fall. It hit me particularly hard the second time for some reason which tells me to prepare for it this year. There is a smell in the air and it is what I remember as I waited for 8 long days for the inevitable. I'd sneak down into the parking lot of the hospital for a smoke early in the morning when they'd kick me out of the ICU for an hour for "passdown".

    I wonder if the sense of smell is the strongest we have for both pleasant an unpleasant smells.

    I appreciate this today - been feeling restless and maybe it's a March thing. Spring getting ready to pop reminding us that life does, indeed, go on.

  4. It's not a smell, necessarily, for me, so much as the knowledge starting in late May that summer is fast approaching. Summer is such a fleeting, late, short-lived season in Portland and Charley died right as summer was finally kicking in in July 2005. So for better or worse (and mostly worse), it means I've often really struggled with the approach and idea of summer in general because I was so miserable during it for a good three to five years. Last year the summer was shockingly great…and I hope to god that it doesn't backtrack this year and be a more difficult one again.

    Thinking of you this month especially, Matt. Hang in there….


  5. Thank you Matt! Great post. I lost my husband last March very suddenly as was your experience. He was a smoker. I am not. I complained about his smoking. But after his sudden death, the first time I passed by someone smoking I stopped in my tracks, inhaling the smoke and just started to cry. Go figure?

    On another note, I do believe that our spouses aren't missing out on things, as much as we miss our spouses being with us for these events.

  6. I hear you. I'm early in my second year, and the signs of Spring have brought back episodes of acute grief. Easter is hard. So is the fourth of July, as I spent one in a horrible state of fear when my husband was hospitalized. I've noticed that my sense of smell has been greatly reduced, maybe it's from the trauma. I've read your story, and to go through something so traumatic and unexpected and come out on the other side and still be standing is really a powerful statement about the human spirit. God bless you and your child.

  7. Oh, yes, is the month not only of my birthday, but my husbands first symptoms of cancer appeared. Yes, I am in the death march, so to speak, he died four months later.
    He has been gone almost 3 years, but the time of year I used to enjoy and treasure, just isn't the same anymore, but is anything the, as you say, we are not the same person, as we were then... the only thing is, is that the seasons stay the same...and that, we can count on.
    Blessings to you and your sweet little girl.