October 19th, 6:30 a.m.

It doesn’t matter the year, it’s a date and time that is hard for me. I wish, every year, that I didn’t notice the time; but, if it’s a week day, it’s impossible not to. Next year will be a Saturday, so maybe I’ll sleep through it.

6:30 is the time they called from the hospital. I was getting ready for work and getting Nicholas ready to hang out with Mark’s parents. They were taking turns with me, sitting with Mark at the hospital so I could work. When the phone rang, I knew it was bad. Nobody calls you so early in the morning if it’s good news.

They told me to come to the hospital because Mark had been found choking. You would think that everything would be a blur, but it’s not. I can remember every step, every part of that morning.

Seven years later, and I can still remember like it just happened. He squeezed my hand and Nicholas was so very little, only 4 months old. The nurses in the ICU were so good to Mark, to Nicholas, to me. To our whole family. We were with them for a month, and we were all their patients.