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A Little Heart to Heart

Hey there my readers.  I know I’ve been silent for a good while.  December started well with all sorts of great food contracts and fun stuff.  I so wanted to post lovely images of all my baking and Christmas Basket Making and maybe a picture of a walk or two with Zeke but frankly, when I had the time, I chose to sit on my duff!


Then, on December 11th, my world came crashing down with one phone call from Armen (Mick’s friend and partner):  “Mick is in the hospital after collapsing at Gino’s.”  What???   Nothing more could be reported as his status was unknown.  Sorry, Zeke, no walk for you.

You see, Mick could be “accident prone” at times so for the first few seconds I was not too worried.  Then the words sank in and I turned in circles a few times trying to get my bearings.  Collapsing does not imply accident. Then came a horrid feeling in the depth of my heart and in my gut.

Being a take-charge-kind of woman, I shook myself off, entered the coordinates of the hospital he was taken to (as I had absolutely no clue where this one was) and off I went.  A mere 9 km away and thankfully, no traffic.  Parked my car and ran to Emerg to find Tony, an employee of Gino’s, pacing back and forth, waiting desperately for my arrival.  “Oh quick, quick, they need information on Mick that I don’t know,” he urged as he steered me to the wicket (Information? Registration? I couldn’t tell you.)  Gave them Mick’s stats and asked what had happened.  He had had a heart attack.

A heart attack?  No. THREE heart attacks! One at Gino’s, one in the ambulance and the third one at the hospital itself.  The last one was the worse as they worked on him for 45 minutes to get a rhythm.  They were just about to call it and all of a sudden his heart started again.  A glimmer of hope.  They realised there was serious blockage happening and were not equipped to do anything about it so they had to send him via ambulance to another hospital one to have angioplasty and insert two stents.  This was done and within an hour or so, he was unblocked.  The doctor told us it went well but that he had a huge mountain to climb.  Since there was no room at this hospital’s ICU – yeah, we have just great medical here in Canada – he was ambulanced back to the first hospital.

The prognosis was very grim.  The chances of his brain being too badly damaged were great.

Mick was adamant that there was no way in hell he EVER wanted to be plugged to machines for the rest of his life.  He repeated and repeated:  “You don’t let them plug me in.  You kill me.”  Well, I love you and all that, dearest husband but not enough to go to jail…

Mick in FL

That said, seeing him on a ventilator was most difficult.  For ten days we talked to him, stroked him, kissed him and I promised him this was only temporary until he was back on his feet.  Or until other choices had to be made.  He never regained consciousness.

December 18th came along.  Mick’s 51st birthday.  Not at all the party we had intended.  There was some movement, the pupils were reacting a bit but he just would not come out of his coma.

The next two days he regressed.  The doctor started talking organ donation.

Oh God.

(To tell the truth, the first doctor he had was talking various possibilities/outcomes and that was one of them!  He did not sugar-coat a thing.  Not even to the boys and we appreciated it because we are optimists but realists at the same time.  We did take to calling him Dr. Ray-of-Sunshine, however.)

On the morning of the 21st, after discussing with the doctor, we agreed with the decision to let him go.  With his best friends and family surrounding him, he took his final breath at 5:15 PM.

My vigorous, enthusiastic, ball-of-positive-energy, loving husband’s light was snuffed out.

Mick Fire

Everybody’s favourite guy/uncle/brother/friend/insert title here was gone.  How could such a thing happen?  We were (are) stunned and disbelieving.

During those ten days of waiting/hoping/despairing, I would post a picture of Mick along with the poem of the day.  Where did this thing come from?  I have always admired people who can recite poetry at a whim for any occasion.  I’m not one of them.  Google turned out to be a wonderful aid in this!  Search term:  Hope.  A whole listing of poems popped up.  Found the one that spoke to me and good ole copy and paste was put to work.  I did this every morning.  Faith. Strength. Love. Miracles.  Whatever word or feeling I needed, I Googled it.

It helped.   It also did something I never expected.  It sent me love, prayers and, good wishes, from all over the world.  People can diss Facebook all they want.  Not I.  I was given the chance to see the good side first hand.

I did consider writing a post to let all of you who are not on Facebook know what was going on, but I just couldn’t.  I needed a “quick fix” and Facebook was the way to go.  Post, leave for the hospital and sit with my beloved.  Come back, eat, sleep, repeat.

Well, yesterday we held the final good-bye.  I knew there would be lots of people despite it being in the middle of Christmas and New Year’s.  I knew there would have been even more had it not been.  Tonight we guesstimated that a good 300-425 people passed through the doors over the course of eight hours!  I was blown away. Too bad so many don’t sign the book, though.  Sigh.

We had held my father’s Celebration of Life at this same place less than two years ago and just felt it would be the best place for Mick’s.  The staff are all thanatologists and are the most compassionate group I have ever met (And I don’t really want to meet any more, thank you very much.)  This place is right on Mount Royal with views of the city and, in the summer, lovely gardens.  Who would think that this would matter?  But it does.  I cannot explain why.  It just does.

As you know by now if you’ve read a post or two of mine, there is humour in my life.  There was always humour with Mick around.  Lots of love but lots of laughs too.

Well, mixed in with the tears were stories of Mick.  From his childhood.  From his high school days.  From the past almost 20 years we spent together.  I have decided that these will be written down in a book of short stories.  Once I get my thoughts organised it will happen.

I am quite sure you will at least smile at this.  This is where Mick now resides until we send him to “swim with the fishes”!  Yes. Inside the Coke bottle…

2014-12-28 23.18.57

91 thoughts on “A Little Heart to Heart

  1. Dale, besides the love, the hope, the optimism, the realism, that this post epitomises, the over riding tone is one of strength – you are so strong and it may just be true that we are only sent the burdens in life that we can handle. I’ve expressed my sympathy to you elsewhere, and my heart goes out to your boys and Mick’s extended family too. Please go for it and write those stories – you are eloquent and wise, and I am sure your words will bring comfort to others. Wishing you all the very best, Safia x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written. I know I’ve already said this to you and obviously I didn’t know Mick, but I feel so sorry that you’re going through such an unbelievably sad time – and I was thinking about you on Saturday.

    I think that writing down all those memories sounds like a great way to remember him and I’m glad you’re giving yourself some time before you jump into that. And you’re right, that last photo did make me smile!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Dale — my heart sincerely goes out to you and your family. I truly feel your loss and your strength. It is all very poignant for me and I can guess what this month has been like for you. Truthfully, as I read the soberness of your words mixed with humour I thought this “story” would end differently … so I heartily agree with others who have commented that you’re showing an incredible strength and resilience. I can imagine there are many tears and other emotions beneath this strength. And while we are but “blog buddies,” please let me know if I can help. Always happy to support and listen and share. Wishing you great strength through this storm. ~ Dale

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Dale. I have found my “Blog Buddies” simply an amazing lot and for that reason felt it so important to share with you. The friendships forged on our posts is inexplicable to the regular folk! Thank you for your kindness.


  4. Dale, I am so sorry and my heart goes out to you and your family. Like Dale I had hoped the story would end differently and had to reread it again to let the message sink in. Please take good care of yourself and take time to heal. You are in my thoughts, Annet.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dale, you already know how sad, shocked, and sorry I am with this sudden upheaval in your life. (It always strikes me how dramatically our lives can change in a matter of minutes.) Without ever meeting you and Mick in-person, I feel like I know both of you already, as dear friends, through your cooking videos, blogs, and especially our almost daily communication (sometimes multiple times per day) over the past couple of years. (That’s how I knew something must be wrong–I woke up one morning and thought, “That’s odd–I haven’t heard from Dale in a couple of days.” Sure enough, as soon as I checked Facebook, I found out Mick was in the hospital.) I feel like I have such a clear idea of Mick through your beautiful and humorous tributes and the lovely poems you selected during his hospital time. You continue to amaze me with your humor and strength during this intense period of loss. It is just part of your chemical makeup, it seems. (You should bottle it: “Essence of Dale.”) You’re an inspiration. Sending you warmth and comfort across the miles. xoxoxo Joy

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dale, all my love and sympathy to you and the boys. Mick would be so proud of you for somehow keeping going in spite of the shock and sadness but I’ve no doubt he knew that the kids would be in the safest hands possible. Take care of YOU in the midst of all. jxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jean. He always said he had to go first. I think it would have been much better in 20-30 years though! I will find my new normal and do what needs to be done, whilst taking care of myself! xoxo


      • Dale, I’m glad he got his wish, though, as you say, it’s sad that it had to happen so relatively early in life.

        I must say that the most consoling words that were uttered to me back in 1981 when my boyfriend died were those of my sister: ‘Always remember that he won’t have to cope with losing you.’ That’s decades ago now but her words stay with me (and so do great memories of him!).

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Not an easy post to Like, but the author did very well. I imagine many tears flowed as you wrote this, but that’s part of the process … and I’ve got the feeling that writing this was good for you.

    May all those memories give you strength for the journey ahead, and in time – if you allowed it – you’ll be fine … just don’t challenge time because it will kick your butt.

    Be strong, Dale .. be strong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean. I was saying that just the other day…”Liking” a post on FB that is sad is really just an acknowledgement of having read it sometimes…

      I did pretty well writing it. It was definitely cathartic so yes, was good for me.

      I will be fine and you are absolutely right! Challenge time and it will kick you in the butt! Look what all this did! This was not his time in my books.

      I am and I will be. Thank you, kind Frank.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Dale, I can’t believe it. I started reading and thought, no…this really can’t be true. I just relayed everything to CJ and we are both very sad for you and your family.

    Your strength is both amazing and inspiring. My hopes are that others read your words and go on to live their lives – really, truly live them. You and Mick both lived your lives to the fullest, and I have enjoyed getting to know you and him through you.

    Please know that our love and big hugs are coming at you across the miles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you both for your kind words, love and hugs across the miles.

      I’m still pretty much in a daze and look around this house and see and feel him everywhere. He was such a huge personality and we totally rubbed off each other. We did indeed live to the fullest.



      • If and when you choose to share those short stories you mentioned, I would love to read them.

        What I love about you most is…well, I don’t know how to finish that sentence. I was going to say ‘your honesty’ and then I thought, ‘What about her humor?’ and then ‘your wit’ popped into my head.

        Too much good about you, Dale. Keep doing what you can at your pace and everyone will love you just as you are!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I most definitely will! Just got the kick in the pants I needed (but didn’t want).

          Aww thanks, Tammy. I guess I’ll just have to keep on being me – which is a good thing as I cannot pretend otherwise…

          Happy New Year to you and Mr. Hoombah! xoxo


  9. Fifty is too young. I’m so sorry. It looks like he enjoyed every minute of those years and there aren’t many of us who can say that. I’m sure your love brought those smiles on. Love and hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh my dear, Dale. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go with you. I pray for strength and comfort for you and your family in the days and nights ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dearest Dale – I had no idea. My heart breaks for you and I send you my most sincere sympathies in your loss of Mick. There are no words to offer comfort; only the fact that I am here, day or night, if you need someone to talk with, or simply listen (dakayt@aol.com). Blessings… Theresa

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Dale,
    My name is Angie and I am an old friend old friend of your husband that did not see or sign the register. I came in with Carmen and though we were introduced at the funeral parlor, I can imagine that day must be a whirl and doubt you remember me. I cannot even remember all that attended my parents funeral… I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am for your loss and how I admire the way your are dealing with you terrible loss. God bless. Your family will be in my prayers. Keep shining your beautiful light.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Angie. I was blown away by the number of people who came for Mick (Blair!) – though I shouldn’t really be. To know him, was to love him. Still, during the holidays? Just wow.
      Sadly so many people did not sign the register so I am unable to personally thank them for making the trip (which is why I did it on Facebook on Mick’s page, on my blog… tried to get as many as I could!)

      I will definitely try. Thanks again for commenting. Warms the heart.


  13. Pingback: A New Normal | A Delectable Life

  14. I saw your link on Sammy’s blog (bemuzin) so came over. I admire your strength to write this so soon after the death of your husband, it is so beautifully written and so warm and honest. I am sure the whole experience must have been a total blur. My father died at the same time of year, several years ago, but he was elderly (88) and frail and had lived a full and long life. So different to the suddenness of your loss. Dealing with death and funerals around the Christmas period is so very difficult. More so than other times.

    I can imagine the shock you felt and the loss you feel. I wish you well. And that Mick gets to swim with the fishes very soon 🙂
    Jude xx

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dear Dale,

    In the short time I’ve known you I’ve come to appreciate what a strong badass woman you are. I admire your ability to write about Mick so soon after his passing. This will be a legacy for your sons and their children.
    I’m raising my wine goblet to new and lasting friendship.



    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that term: badass woman! Thank you very much for your comments. I do hope this will be a legacy to my boys one day (I’m thinking of printing my posts and giving them to the boys… in case they never read me!)
      Cheers to you, my newfound friend!


  16. Dale, thanks for the nudge, though I’m so very sorry to read this difficult tale. I can only imagine that this time of year must be difficult as you approach the first year anniversary. It’s a tribute to love, humor, partnership, that you write so beautifully about this, in the midst of loss… Sending you love and well wishes as you continue to work through all of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, Dawn. Life was great with him and it would be a disservice to him to focus only on the sadness. There was a lot of laughter and there still is.
      I know this coming December will not be easy but we’ll be okay.
      Thanks for your kindness.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Dale, I know several years have passed, but I’m so sorry. He looked and sounded like a great guy, in a world where there don’t seem to be many of that caliber. Thanks for sharing your story. You are a strong woman, humorously resilient.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. We lost a neighbor and good friend to a massive heart attack last November. It happened the day after my birthday and Connie and I went to the ER with him and Nancy. HIs heart stopped a couple of times and I was in the room when the wedged the ventilator tube down his throat. The scene is forever burned in my mind. We stayed with Nancy until her son arrived and have done our best to provide love and support every day since.

    Nancy’s brother is one of those pilots who flies into hurricanes to take weather readings. Last month he released Dennis’ ashes into the eye of hurricane Harvey. Dennis touched a lot of people in a positive way, and I can tell from the crowd that came to Mick’s celebration he did too.

    God bless you, my friend. This post will help others find strength when facing a similar challenge.


    • What a fantastic story. Yes, I am sad for Nancy and her son, and you but what a great brother-in-law..
      Yes, he was adored by many and I’m still blown away when I think how many people came at such a time of the year.

      Thank you, Russell. I hope it does.


  19. After your commenting, on my comment, on draliman’s post (Dude), I just had to see who this lady with an obvious sense of humour was, so I’ve been moseying around to gain an insight. This may seem an odd post to say Hi on but I figure you will not mind, and it gave me a chance to get to know a very tiny bit about Mike too.
    I absolutely love the Coke bottle, and wonder if it still resides with you?
    I look forward to catching up with you occasionally.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Peter. This is as good a post to get to know me as it does confirm my sense of humour 😉 And Mick’s too. He was quite the character. I mean who asks to use a Coke bottle as his urn? I do still have it with half of him still in it! Haven’t found myself a person with a boat to pour the second half where he requested. And 4 years later, it’s kinda weird.
      I look forward to you.catching up with me. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    • He was, wasn’t he? (To think I found him not too bad when we met on our blind date 😉)

      And I know you can… I saw references in your comments with Marc so I went a-snooping.)
      Thank YOU for taking the time to read it.


          • Thank you.
            It did but I’m weird. I can talk about him and laugh about his antics. I not only wrote that but wrote a “Dear Mick” at the one year and three year anniversaries. Writing, as you well know, can be most cathartic. Life is beautiful and meant to be lived. I sure as hell ain’t dead so I shall continue to live and remember the good (coz, let’s be honest, it was not always wine and roses 😉 ) And know that, if we believe in that stuff, he’s hanging with our first born, Austin, and all my friends who also left this earth way too early. He and Brenda are surely singing “Free Fallin'” with Tom.

            Liked by 1 person

  20. I know this was a few years back now, but I’m glad you sent me this way. Because … heart-truth is always beautiful, even when it is heartbreaking. And … I’m so sorry.
    And so glad you’d had Mick.
    And that he had you … and still has.
    As for a sense of humor – I don’t know how life goes on without one.
    Much love,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. Four years already. I am glad you took the time to read it and appreciate my effort.
      Yes, I was very lucky to have him.
      And yes. He was lucky to have me 🙂
      No way I could move through life without a sense of humour!
      Lotsa love,

      Liked by 1 person

          • Amen to that. Yes. Not that I much enjoy the bad (and sometimes bad can be … well … REALLY bad), but I would not give up the ability to experience life. So it is a package deal!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Absolutely.
            It could never be properly appreciated, I should think. Like being born with money. How do you appreciate the value of the dollar if you never had to work for it?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Um … well … to that particular query I’d say … there’s no shame in being born into money (not that I was ….) but I am CERTAINLY not opposed to ‘coming into money’ now that I have worked hard for it and have a good appreciation for it and am perfectly fine if I didn’t have to work QUITE ad hard for it. …. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • Well ya… coz you know the VALUE of it. Bring it on. I am more than willing to accept a ‘coming into moolah’ myself. I have come to the conclusion that I am more than willing to become a “luxury chick” – don’t feel the need to work… at all. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  21. Me too, as a real late-comer, read NOW about your beloved and leaning on your sense of humour, I thought, upon viewing that last photo: Oh NO, did he drink too much coke and did he have his stomach eaten away by all that rubbish sugar etc?!
    You must know that I worked, as a young girl, with a very very kind and very overweight man who drank, each day of the week, one or two 1.5/2l bottle of Coca C – we ALL told him (and that was WAHAYYYY before Internet) that all that sugar won‘t be doing him any good. Then, I lived abroad and one day, out of the blue, without looking for anything, I found a obituary notice in the paper and it was that young man, aged 23, dead…. the CC consumption really HAD eaten away his stomach.
    See, even now, after all those years, that photo made me wince – so I‘m rather glad to read that the bottle contains his ashes.
    Your telling ‚how it was‘ is exactly what I think I‘d do too – it has to get out and often in truly difficult times, I wrote down my thoughts and feelings, not even in a diary, only for me – and I felt better. Because I got it off my chest, even if only for a moment….
    All those four years later, I still think, you‘ll hurt from time to time; if a beloved one goes so quickly, without a prior warning, it is surely even worse than with an ongoing illness before. I‘m very glad and happy that your sense of humour keeps you and your sons going. It‘s a privilege knowing you and I‘m glad we ‚met‘ – to joyful times on our paths – and to you much, much luck, joy, happiness for your new home to be! Big hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is so funny that you have landed here, Kiki, because I gave this link to another blogger friend and a day later, here you are as well!
      Thank you so much for reading. And yes, Mick had been an addict before I met him and he switched to Coca Cola instead of drugs. By the time we met, he was 7 years clean and never touched the stuff again. The Coca Cola was reduced as well, thanks to me.
      I think a sense of humour is a necessity to get through life.
      Writing is a great way to get it all out there and not leave it to eat you inside. And my realistic nature helps as well. Life is full of hardships and wonderful. I was never a “why me?” type of person so… Life keeps on keeping on!
      Thanks so much for your kind words and it is a privilege for me as well to have met you!
      Lotsa love,

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Thanks, Dale,
    For sharing with me this part of your life, both December 2014, and how you are now. I am honored that you would.
    When you asked, I thought I knew what the topic was because our chat and your poem were about seasonal sadness. I read every word including all the comments gathered over the years. Many of those commenting folks are still with you. I smiled when I saw some of the names, friends we share. At first, I thought I might not comment here, then changed my mind.
    It’s now seven years since your loss. You were married to a special man for a long time, and I think you should bemoan his death anytime you feel like it, but certainly each December, as you did with your poem.
    In my opinion, the way you handled it all, then and now, are inspirational to your fans (includes me) and anyone who cares to see. The death of someone close is always a great loss, but the death of a spouse or child must be the worse. I have not had such a loss, but my friends have.
    In May of 2017, while still living in Washington State, I posted a couple of poems by a man who suffered the loss of his wife. At risk of prolonging your grief (I hope not), I will share it with you and whomever else wishes to look. At the time, I was writing about the paradox of love.

    The Paradox of Love – Joan and John

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Bill.
      I am rather pleased and honoured that you took the time to come and read what I wrote all those years ago. I, now and again, come back here (usually when I’ve sent someone here!) and take note of who is still around and who has gone on to other things.
      I was really lucky. Now, fear not, Mick has not been put on a pedestal since his death. I curse him regularly, just so you know 😉 He had his moments, like we all do. I was ready to sell him cheap at times but when I look back and draw a line, there is more weight on the happy than on the sad/mad side.
      Death of a child and spouse is way up there on the grief scale, I cannot lie. I don’t know about being an inspiration. I just do what I need to.
      Thank you so much for sharing your post and John’s poems. Paradox, indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

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