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I have been in the process of writing this post for what seems a lifetime.  Most likely sometime this evening there will have been 1 million views on this blog.  That is SO hard to believe.  Maybe it is time to take a break.  I’m not sure.  Either way, for me, here is what it really is about:

Dear Zion, Jacoba and Zekijah.

I wish things were different.

I wish that you didn’t have to grow up so fast.  Zion, you get understandably angry when you hear about people either separating or divorcing.  You tell me that it doesn’t make sense.  You tell me this, not because you are a regular 6 year old that doesn’t understand the concept, but because you are an irregular 6 year old that DOES understand the concept.  You teach me.  You have a vision and perspective that even many adults don’t have.  You come home from school with art pieces after art pieces about the things that you and I do together.  That is SO important to me.  I love you.  Please keep eating your vegetables.

Jacoba, your beauty and ability to light up a room (and my each and every day) is just like the way your Mom used to do it.  You are 5 now, and the fact is, you adore me.  And the fact is also that I adore you.  If  that adoration must change, I hope it will evolve in public expression only and not in spirit.  I love you.  Please keep that spunk.

Zekijah, soon you will be 3.  Your Mom died when you were 1.5.  You have lived nearly half your life without a Mom.  Your athletic prowess and ability to communicate exactly what you want is a gift from your Mom.  You are a rainbow to me. Already at such a young age you have her ability to bring forth a joke that makes the listener think.  I love you. Please keep spicing up our lives.

Children, when your Mom got cancer, our goal was to beat it.  And that goal was because we wanted Her to live to see you grow up.  You need Her, we thought.  And we were right.

When your Mom knew She was dying, I told Her that She would raise you through me.  I believe that this is proving to be true. 

And children, at the end of the day, your Mom and I were faced with a question that one day we ALL will face:

Are you strong enough to do this on your own?

And children, our answer was a resounding, clear, no.

We need Peace.  We need our family.  We need a community.  We need each other.  I need you.  And thankfully, you need me.

You have a loving, caring community.  You have an unshakable family.  You have me.  I have you.  You have Jesus.  The only way I can explain why all three of you are contributing well to your surrounding regardless of what happened to you is that you are full of grace.  Grace.

Our days are busy now but children, today I am with you.  I go through my days now understanding that tomorrow will be easier for us.  We will be more mature, can handle things better/different and will still have.  Without taking anything from the spirit and presence of today, I look forward to tomorrow.  And Children, one day there won’t be another tomorrow.  The last one will have come.  And I plan on being with you on that day as well.

Thank you for being with me.



I spent last month in conversations and meetings with the genetics program at MacMaster Hospital.  I was sent there from my supportive family doctor.  We met to discuss the type of cancer that Marisa had and what that means long and short term for our daughters as breast cancer can be genetic.  My mom came with me.  It was good to have her even though the irony of that is thick.  My mom coming to a meeting about my girls who don’t have a mom.

When I got a letter back from the genetics program, it was a glorious, warm day.  After school we were all playing in our backyard.  Jacoba and Zekijah were running in the field chasing each other.  I went in to check on supper.

I grabbed the letter from the geneticists.  I read it.

I looked up from my letter.  I saw Jacoba’s long blong hair bounce up and down as she chased Zekijah while their face gave the sun a soft and purposeful place to land.

And I was reading the letter about her dead mom.

It was yet another reminder that what happened to Marisa and us has no finite end.  And the truth is sometimes I yearn for that.  Sometimes I wish I could have a day, week, moment off from this. 

But alas, that is not the case.

We went to the cemetery to bring the eggs that we painted.

The kids were excited to bring them to Marisa’s grave. 

Zekijah asked dozens of questions.  Her questions not only prove that she doesn’t understand what has and is happening to her but they also prove my/our importance in her life.  She is approaching 3 years old and that math tells me that she is at the point where she will have lived longer without a mom than with a mom.

At three years old.



Jacoba made hers with precision and purpose. 


Zion was proud of his. 




After Jacoba and Zion brought theirs to the side of the grave, Zekijah refused to.  It didn’t seem right to her.  (It didn’t seem right to me either).  Then Zion counselled her and said that if she left the egg there, “Mommy would be happy”.  Zekijah then oblidged.

It is a pensive moment when you stand next to a believer’s grave between Good Friday and Easter.  It is a meaningful, broken, holy and thin place. 

A blessed Easter to you all.  And to Marisa, who is celebrating Easter every day in full.


Today was my first encounter at an agency wide event.  I saw many colleagues that I hadn’t seen since Marisa died.  I was publicly welcomed back to work and that announcement even set off an applause. 

Breathe Mendelt.  They are all looking at you.

The fact is that I am used to people looking at me.  Being a musician and performer, I have been watched by thousands of people at a time.  But this time it was different.

They were looking at me as the new Mendelt.  I could see their faces.  It was a different look.

I spoke to many afterwards.  Most of them asked about the kids.  It is less emotional that way.  Sometimes I answer the question in detail/truth.  Sometimes I don’t spend the emotional energy to get into it.

The truth is the kids are getting older and thus their questions of Marisa are deeper than they once were.  They miss Marisa.  It is hard for me to watch the kids grow older.  Zion is a great reader now.  Marisa didn’t know Zion as a reader.  The day in and day out of single parenting is both exhausting and rewarding.  I experience some regret everyday when I drop off Zekijah before I go to work.

But the real answer of “how are the kids” is….I don’t know.

I don’t know that Jacoba feels protected.  I don’t know that Zion feels happy.  I don’t know that Zekijah doesn’t feel abandoned when she goes to 4 different houses in 5 days.  The kids seem like they are doing well.  But I don’t really know yet. 

Zion and Zekijah played rock/paper/scissors today and they both put out a rock and then Zion quickly switched his to scissors so Zekijah would win.  Maybe that is a sign. 

Peace to you,


It has been a while since I have published a post here.

I thought I would give you an update on how we are doing.

We are doing okay. The kids LOVE their school, Jacoba tells me everyday something new about what she learned or hear from one of her classmates. It is beautiful to hear her speak. Zion tells me everyday about either recess, soccer or the special thing that I put in his lunch. Cool.

Zekijah is ‘used’ to being ‘shipped’ to different places while I go to work. She is still as sweet and saucy as ever.

I have recently joined a grief group run by two women who have had a significant loss in their lives. There are 5 participants, all of us have lost a spouse. We have been getting together once per week and are going to do so for the next 5 weeks. It has been good. And it has been hard. Many days in the past few weeks, the loss of Marisa has hit me like the ‘early’ days. And that has been both good and hard.

This weekend my friends Paul and Del took the kids for a fun time with their three kids. It was glorious for me. I had a chance to privately and deeply grieve with the ability to sleep in, take naps, be with good friends and only have to make lunch for one. That was really nice. Thanks Paul and Del.

Most suppers we take turns telling or retelling a story about Marisa.  The kids love that.  And so do I. 

We shall continue to continue.

Peace to you all,


Shine On DVD

This DVD is of a concert put on by Marisa's family that raised funds for a yearly scholarship in Marisa's name.

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