Moments

One year ago my life changed in an instant. In one moment I had just hung up the phone, having spoken to my husband about mundane things like dinner and grocery lists, and I was wandering through the grocery store looking for nothing in particular…nothing more than coffee beans and lunch meat. I actually lingered there for a bit longer than necessary, in hopes of finding an extra moment of solitude in the vacant aisles of the supermarket, which as a mom of three little ones was so rare in my house. In the next moment, I was home, and upon walking through the door, immediately loading the dishwasher and simultaneously nibbling on the food that was left behind on the stovetop before realizing it was unusually quiet in the house. Where was Mark?

The minutes and hours that followed that fateful instant are both hazy and clear; jumbled but somehow sequential; catastrophic, yet intensely meaningful and fiercely influential. Those moments have shaped me. Every single terrifying, tragic, devastating, and heartbreaking second carved a hole in my soul. Yet somehow, within those mind-numbing instants of despair I also found little slivers of strength, fortitude, courage…and yes, even fragmented bits of joy, as I managed to smile, sharing and recalling among friends and family some of the best memories and greatest stories of my beloved Mark. You see the thing about those holes in your soul is that they let the light creep in, if you’ll allow it.

Every single second in that collection of moments over two days is inextricably a part of who I am now and of how the loss of Mark has changed me. Sometimes those moments play over and over again in my mind, perhaps as a reminder that yes, this really did happen. This is real. 

Looking back on those days, I recollect this tremendous sense of time suspended. In my mind, the moments are blurred yet simultaneously significant. I will never forget the faces I saw in the hallways and waiting rooms of the hospital, those who were there to comfort and console or to say their own goodbyes. I will always remember the music that played in the background, a playlist that remarkably seemed to have been created for the express purpose of speaking to my soul throughout each tender moment. I will forevermore recall the feeling of lying on Mark’s chest in those final hours, feeling both his heartbeat and his breath, and gasping for air myself as it hit me that it was the machine breathing for him, at once gaining the deepest understanding of how truly precious each breath is.  

While it has been one full year since that fateful instant, and we’ve survived a mountain of moments without Mark, those holes in my soul from the trauma, the devastation and the loss of him remain…but I still choose to let the light in.  And I truly believe that when you focus on the beautiful parts of life and the magical moments of synchronicity, the universe will keep giving them to you.

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  1. I only met Mark once upon starting my teaching in Shorewood last fall (and only in passing) and have only met you once since then, but I’ve been thinking about your family all week as today approached. You have so many thoughts and so much love coming to your family from so many people who know you and who don’t. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts and memories with all of us.

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  2. You are simply the most amazingly strong wife and mother that I have ever known. God has given you a gift of 3 beautiful children here on this earth and an Angel in Heaven. Stay strong.Thank you for sharing your most precious and private moments with us as you continue your journey. It helps many of us realize that life IS precious. Thank you.

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  3. Good God girl, these words you choose to write are as unforgettable as Mark Harris is. You are truly teaching so many about the true meaning of love and life through these posts, just they way he did day in and day out. Sending you love today and everyday, continually humbled by your strength.

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  4. Thank you for your words.

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  5. Erin thinking of you and the family today. So much love and growth was shared by you! Thank-you so much!

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  6. Erin you are amazing. Thank you for sharing your light with us. Sending you love and hugs always

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  7. No words can express how deeply sorry I still am for your loss. I am inspired both by the life he lived and your strength and positivity. You have a gift for words and while tears well up as I read them…your message is important! I am trying to see the water everyday…and keeping my eye out for rainbows. Big hugs to you and the kids from the fraundorfs.

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  8. I worked with Mark. I think of him every single day as I type my password into PowerSchool that he created – the only password I use that is very different from all of my others. He created it to reference a personal part of my life. He paid attention. You pay attention. The world is a better place for having had both of you in it, and it will continue to be a better place because of your children. Even though I’ve only seen you now and then in the hallways of SHS and SIS, you cross my mind daily. I expect you always will. Always all of my best to you and the children. Your ability and willingness to publicly journal this will help countless other people.

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    • erinharris820514244 April 11, 2016 — 9:39 pm

      Thank you, Amanda for this. Someone once told me, “Mark was both interesting and INTERESTED.” Such a perfect way to describe the way he interacted with people. He did listen. He did pay attention. He did See The Water. I am better because of knowing and loving and losing him. Thank you for sharing your memories of Mark with me. It means more than you know.

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  9. The power of strength you model and spread, the glory of seeing life as you do and opening my soul to accept times that are tough, Iam so grateful to have you. Your children laughing and running the playground and halls assure me you are making a daily difference for your precious children…the way Mark did each day. You are truly amazing Erin. Keep finding the light and PLEASE keep sharing this journey. Love to all. TICKLED PINK.

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