First blog post

This is the post excerpt.


Life is hard period. As we grow and discover, life tends to teach us lessons along the way. I want to start a blog about MY life. Through my journey of finding my place I have experienced the unimaginable. Until today, I have never felt so lost. With so many souls depending on me, I must find some strength. Today, it is a matter of life and death. I am hoping that telling my story, finally, will help me find my way giving me the strength I have needed for a long time.

I’m Having A Baby!?!

During my pregnancy, I was blessed with morning sickness. The mornings were horrible. Nauseated until two in the afternoon every day. Usually the nausea would end after the first trimester but for me, it continued through the entire pregnancy. I ended up becoming diabetic and my doctors couldn’t seem to keep my blood pressure down. I was considered high risk through my last trimester. Marcus and I decided to find an apartment so when the baby came, we could build our family and become more dependent on ourselves. It was a nice three bedroom apartment with a living and dining area. We made one room our office, the second for our baby and lastly, our room. One bathroom was hard but we made it work. It was now January and our baby was coming anytime. We were so excited, asking friends and family what the trick was to bring the labor on faster. Some of the answers we got were ridiculous. We tried them anyways! Marcus took me to a mall’s parking lot with many hard bumpy speed bumps. He began driving over them one at a time. Over and over. I think my boobies hurt more than my tummy. Finally through laughter, we decided to call it a night. My sister told me her doctor told her about castor oil. Her pregnancy went two weeks over for all three kids. Why not? Marcus got me a small bottle of castor oil one night. We had watched a movie and were ready for bed. I decided to take a small teaspoon. To wash it down as it was oil, I made a small cheese sandwich. I did a little countdown then took the spoon. I couldn’t swallow it! It was horrible! No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t swallow it. Weird? I took a bite of my cheese sandwich with the oil still in my mouth and it finally went down. It tasted awful. I finished up my sandwich and called it a night. I was so tired and every part of me ached. This baby sure was a swimmer and a kicker and loved to blow bubble all the time. A very active pregnancy definitely. I fell asleep rather quickly. My eyes closed and I was out for the count. I slept pretty peaceful through the night. From the moment I learned I was pregnant, Marcus would massage my entire back. He always took such good care of me. Buying me shrimp at two in the morning and helping me chase my weird cravings. His hands always felt like heaven on my tummy and when he would cough or sneeze, baby would move around. Suddenly, at seven in the morning, I woke up from a sharp bowl pain. “Oh dear lord” I thought, “that castor oil is giving me the runs”! That’s just what I need. A pregnant woman cannot move very fast but regardless, I was able to literally jump out of the bed running across the hall to the toilet. The worst cramps and the runs I had ever had. When I was done, I looked over to the bed from the bathroom toilet and saw Marcus sleeping soundly. He was so exhausted as well. All I wanted to do was crawl back into the bed and cuddle with him. I took a long drawn out piece of toilet paper and began to clean myself when another cramp came on. I looked at the toilet paper and it was greenish and weirdly colored and it was not coming from my backside either! I panicked. I started yelling for Marcus to wake up. I think my water had just broke. No matter how many times I called him, he snored through it. I couldn’t leave the toilet and had to get him up! After yelling for ten minutes, he finally asked me what I wanted and assured me that he was still tired. Once the “MY WATER BROKE” registered, he got out of bed so fast as though the room was on fire. I had never seen my husband move so fast! He came to me and I showed him the toilet paper. He agreed that we needed to get to the hospital right away! I managed to make it off the toilet and get my slippers on. He had the bags all ready to go. He would just assist me while holding our luggage down three flights of stairs. We got into the car and amazingly, made it to the hospital in seven minutes.  As soon as I arrived and they settled me in, I was told I was already four centimeters dialated. Almost immediately after that, I experienced my first real contraction. Ouch!? I couldn’t handle that kind of pain. My nurse encouraged me that the anesthesiologist was on his way immediately to give me my epidural. I only had to suffer with one more severe contraction before he arrived to take my pain away. Finally he showed up and asked my husband to stand in front of me and hold my hands trying to keep me perfectly still. Just as I was about to get my epidural, my husband started to lean to the left. Then the right. He began to slowly sway when the anesthesiologist told the nurse my husband was about it faint. They took his hands away from mine and sat him down on a chair with his head between his legs to settle him down. Finally the epidural was over and I could feel it’s reliefs almost instantly. My doctor was no where to be seen or heard of. We managed to call her on the way to the hospital. She told us she wss packing to leave on a trip the next day but assured us she would drop everything and come to the hospital right away. It was now eight in the evening and still no sign of her. The doctor on call at the hospital who was overseeing me was so angry at her. He told me our baby’s heart rate was getting a little faster than he liked and the green stuff coming out of me was my baby’s poop. The baby pooped inside me while my water broke from distress. By nine in the evening he rushed in to check the baby’s heart rate and it was so fast he quickly checked if I had dilated all the way but I only made it to nine and a half. He requested emergency surgery be done immediately and did not want to wait any longer for my doctor to arrive. Next thing I know, I was given a small liquid substance to drink.  As they took me down the hallway to the surgery table, I remember throwing up all over the hallway walls. I was about to have an emergency c-section. They tied my hands down and Marcus got to watch the entire thing. I mean everything! Until today, I don’t know how he did that. Watch them cut me open, pulling out a baby, pumping my uterus. I waited to hear the cries of a baby…so tense. There it was. A baby screaming. I began to cry right away. All of a sudden I had the overwhelming feeling of fear. True fear. The doctor told us it was a girl! A beautiful little girl. Almost right away, the sensation to protect her began so real. The worry now began almost instantly. How could we protect this little thing? What if anything ever happened? How could we keep her safe always? More fears just kept coming as they were closing me up. Instead of the usual 6 inch incision, mine was 10. They had rushed the emergency surgery because the baby was struggling with the umbilical cord. When all was done I still was unable to hold her. They had to work on her and myself. When they finally got me back to my room, there was Marcus holding our daughter.  Just as he handed her to me for the first time, I had a strong sensation to throw up. He quickly took her from me again and I threw up all over myself. The nurses told me that was normal from the sedation. They finally cleaned me up and Marcus put her in my arms again. We named her Mary after my mother. Oh my goodness! This little precious baby was so cute! So much hair. She smiled as she slept in my arms. I immediately took her wraps off to check out her little body. All her fingers and toes. She was a perfect a little girl. Marcus was so proud. When he carried her, he wouldn’t take his eyes off her. Even to sit down with her. He kept kissing me and thanking me for making him a father. 

I was to spend a week in the hospital from my c-section. Marcus stayed in my room with me and refused to leave my side. No matter how uncomfortable the sleeping arrangement was for him. He didnt want to leave my side. The hospital food was terrible so he managed to get me addicted to the BLT’s and turkey sandwiches they served in the cafeteria downstairs. Nurses would always be in the room helping learn how to breastfeed this little precious baby that I could not seem to get to latch on. Such a weird feeling and Mary sure loved to bite down which was painful. It had to be done. I was adamant on perfecting this breastfeeding thing. Some moments were tricky others, pretty simple. The night before leaving the hospital, Marcus had gone down to get us yet another sandwich and I was alone with Mary. She had pooped and I needed to change it. Through my incision pain I got up and placed her on my bed. As I began cleaning her up, she opened her eyes and looking right into mine. I got a smile. Her eyes wondered everywhere and then back onto me. That smile was so precious. It was like she was thanking me for cleaning her up. I kissed her cute little body. Every finger and every toe. It was a moment I would never forget. 

We were finally ready to go home the next day. I had many staples from my incision and I was in discomfort but excited to leave to hospital with this precious package. I loved this little baby so much and she was ours. 

The Renewal Of Our Vows..July 9, 2000…

The day was approaching when Marcus and I could have the wedding we always wanted surrounded by our entire family. I had my long eight foot train on my studded wedding gown. Marcus as sexy as ever in his black tuxedo. Our wedding party consisted of eight bridesmaids and eight groomsman. We had a feast the night before and we were nervous. Not sure why as we were already married. Marcus had family drive all the way from Tuscaloosa Alabama. His parents and his sister with her husband and their son. My sister joined us from Houston with her family. We were to have 200 guests attending our special day. We had a third wedding band made for me. The engagement ring, the actual wedding ring from our vows to each other last October and now the renewal of our vows on July 9th, 2000. I was now three months pregnant as well! I was unable to wear those undergarments that suck a woman in from all our bulging parts. So important for a woman especially on her wedding day! I was also not able to toast with any wine or champagne. I wasn’t much of a drinker so that was ok. I was having morning sickness and my breasts were extremely tender. I was also starving all the time. I could only concentrate on food! 

The day was finally here and our house was a zoo. People running around getting ready and looking for this and that. Thankfully we had three hairdressers in our family and they sure were busy! Shoes, dresses, makeup and hairspray everywhere. Table filled with food like usual. Thats where i hung out of course. The limousines had arrived and we were ready to go to the church. The ceremony went off without a hitch. No one fainted or threw up especially me! A friend and owner of a very large restaurant closed its doors for our reception. A little squishy but we all fit. Everyone ate and drank and danced the night away. Every time I looked over at Marcus, my heart melted. I was falling more in love with him every minute. Was that even possible? How can you love someone to the moon and back yet still fall in love with them more every day? I guess it was possible. It was happening to me. Marcus and I began a ritual that day. He would say “I love you”, I would reply with “I love you more” and vice versa. I knew in my heart that when I said it, I truly did love him more. He saved me. He was the man who changed my life forever and took all the fear from my heart and soul. He was also the man to give me this baby I had always dreamed of. 

When all was finally over and our family had gone back to their hometowns, Marcus and I could start to piece our lives together with what we wanted and needed. We were now ready to officially begin our lives together.

Waiting For The Sign Of A Work Permit…

Dealing with bills and payments wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be.  I always had a different look to how simple it should be. Declaring bankruptcy put a little dent in our future but it sure helped from nasty creditor calls. I never really blamed the creditors as those payments truly were owed to them. We were never one to go back on a commitment or our word. Life circumstances tend to somehow throw wrenches in normality causing mini hurricanes. Life has rewards, I’ve learned, but also sacrifices and sorrows. I lived by the motto “live for the day”. That’s what we did. Every time we would make a plan, it would change. They would change so fast! Regardless of how dedicated we were to follow through, it would change. Sometimes for the better but sometimes for the worse. Our first Christmas together was going to be fun. Our Christmases were always huge and fun. Lots of traditions with making sure we had the most beautiful tree. The largest with some of the most beautiful decorations. Presents everywhere. So much food, family and friends. A turkey feast Christmas eve and a glorious massive morning breakfast Christmas morning. We all got to open presents Christmas eve and some more special ones Christmas morning. We would have such a nice lazy day all Christmas day then on boxing day, run around shopping the deals and returning items that didn’t work or fit properly. Our New Years Celebration was also huge. Either a massive party in our house, a hall rental or buying tickets to an event. Whatever everyone was in the mood for. We would also just leave the city all together to visit and stay with my brother in Lloydminster. He was such an amazing cook. One of his many talents. My brother was my eldest sibling. He was involved in the oil industry. Rob supplied tanks for oil storage. Designing, building and welding them together. He would eventually own his own business making him a comfortably wealthy man. My brother had 2 children. A boy and a girl. Now in their 20s they would both get married and have children of their own. I had already been a great auntie 3 times. My brothers wife was a very different type of woman. It seemed as though she was loving and caring but any time we were around her, she would make us work so hard. She owned a party store. Event planning and such. My first Christmas with Marcus in Lloydminster was mostly spent in her store doing inventory or building wedding pillars. When you only get a few resting days away, the last thing you want to do is work harder. We were only there for 7 days and 4 of them were spent working in the store. By the time we got back, we were exhausted. Wasn’t much of a holiday but for our brother, we would have done anything. I don’t think he realized how hard she worked us. They would argue as a couple often. It was very noticeable that love did not exsist between them. They had been married 20 years. We had a feeling that the his wife had a gambling problem. Every spare moment she had was spent on a vlt machine. We would never talk about it with him. We didn’t want to sound like we were prying into his business.  If he wanted to talk about it with us, he could. 

The months after Christmas that year were definitely the months of patience. Marcus was going crazy not being able to work. You can only sit around the house doing nothing for so long. I decided to quit teaching for a while. I ended up taking a job as a courier. It felt so weird having a normal job with a boss but the good thing? Marcus could be with me and working all day to help me. We just had to deliver packages through out the city all day. From seven in the morning until seven at night. We would pack lunches and it would be like a little mini outing all day. Just Marcus and me. Alone everyday all day. We had such a great opportunity to talk and chat about life. At the end of April I ended up getting sick. The flu hit me really hard. I never get that sick. Marcus tried his best to tend to me. It wasn’t until I got antibiotics did I finally start getting better. I finally reached the end of that terrible flu and only needed a little cough syrup to contend with the days. That weekend Marcus and I decided to go stay at a hotel in downtown Calgary just to have some night time alone. Wow did we have so much fun. Am awesome dinner at The Keg in Banff Alberta then back to our room for some fun! He made love to me for hours. It was so weird that I had been so afraid of sex and told myself, throughout my life, that I would always hate it. I couldn’t even think about it because the abuse would always haunt me. With Marcus, it never came into my mind. Only Marcus could do that to my brain and my thoughts. He was magical and I loved him. We spoke about having kids one day. We thought perhaps after he got his work permit papers, we would be able to get our own place and start or life together totally. Not living amongst family members. We had no problem living with my family. In a way it was definitely cheaper. We could save up money to get our own place. One day a month later, we started our usual deliveries and for some reason I could not stop throwing up. I felt wheezy and dizzy. The next morning, same thing. Then again and again. Marcus took me to the doctor once again hoping the flu didn’t return. The doctor was unable to see me so we went to the hospital. It was freaking us out why I would be so nauseated and my upper body ached. After the doctors assessment and some blood work, the doctor walked into my room with Marcus next to be and told me something that totally shocked us both. I was pregnant and going to have a baby. How??? We always had protection. The doctor informed us that cough syrup cancels that protection out leaving the womb more vulnerable. Well? It sure did!! We were so shocked and excited and felt overwhelmed with feelings. Marcus kissed me and said “Well? We are going to have a baby”! What? How exciting. A new unexpected chapter of life!

So, My Married Life Began

I could not wait to start my life with him and live normally. Have a home, have a mortgage, pay bills and have a family. I vowed and dedicated my life to Marcus. I also vowed to take care of the family I would one day have. I would never let harm or betrayal come into our lives especially with the kids we would one day have. I was ready to protect my family from any harm and suffering as I had endured my whole life. I wanted to take with me lessons that I hard learned along the way. I loved our family life and routines growing up. The closeness and love we felt as family members in my own family, would be instilled in my new one. Family vacations, eating together, having family time and date nights alone with Marcus to build our relationship together. There had to be a time for everything made no matter what to accomplish success. Hard work and dedication would be the key.

Marcus was unable to work. He was still on a visitors visa in Canada. The application for permanent residency would have to be completed in order for him to work and our lives to truly start. We had found an immigration consultant to help us with the then, confusing application package. In time, in small increments, we had paid over $15,000 to the consultant. Paperwork and documents galore. Then came the red tape. Naturally, Canada had to assure Marcus was not using or abusing the system to get into Canada. In Canada, the land of the free and diversity with an unbelievable medical system, it was a prime living opportunity to those on not so fortunate countries. In Canada, especially Alberta, we do not pay a penny for medical treatment. Mostly everything is covered by Alberta health care. A card given to you at birth at no cost. Any medical treatment was usually covered. In our neighboring country, the United States, treatment had to be paid for and paperwork had to be filled out before a doctor would look at you. They even turned people away that had no money or insurance. That would never happen in Canada. Even foreign workers received cards for free health care while in Canada for work. A visitor, as Marcus was, would have to pay for medical but still then, it would be so inexpensive. Forty dollars for a doctor visit. He would also never be turned away if he needed any medical surgeries or more intense treatment. They would perform regardless of money or payment but give a bill in the afterwards. Luckily, he was a healthy man and didn’t need anything during his waiting visitor year other than a doctor visit for a cough or cold. Marcus was also a very high candidate for migraines. They would hit him hard. He suffered from nasal infections constantly making him gag from draining. The altitude change would set his migraines screaming. They would hit more often than usual. He would have to succumb to a quiet dark room, lay down holding his head with tears in his eyes and rock back and forth. I felt helpless. Most of the time, all I could do, was tie a belt around his head and help him pull on it as tightly as I could. This would offer him some temporary relief. I had never had one headache in my entire life. I had no idea what a headache or a migraine would feel like. Watching him suffer always broke my heart. I felt helpless. We spoke to mama in Alabama on several occasions because she suffered from migraines as well. Mama would help by sending is some medications that worked for her. Over the counter vitamins and such to help prevent the migraine from getting worse. It helped somewhat, but his body was also adjusting to the new climate and altitude. Canada was known for getting amazing amounts of snow in certain parts and not so much in others. In Calgary, some years, the snow would be over three feet high, other years almost one foot. It would also get downright freezing with temperatures dropping below -20°c/-4°f. To Canadians, that is normal weather. We are so use to it. To visitors, that is down right freezing cold. Snow was now upon us. Marcus was going to discover Canada’s winter months. The first snowfall would fascinate him! He loved watching it. Marcus told me in Alabama, they would get snow rarely too but it was heavy and wet. They would not get very much of it and it would melt right away. If more came, it would shut down the entire city, county. In Canada, even in years of sometimes having an upward of 5+ feet of snow, it would never shut the city down. We would still have to drive or walk on those slippery roads to get to get to our destinations. Planes would still fly. Busses and trains would still function no matter what flurries or deep freeze we were undergoing. It would now be cold but not what was usual. We were having an ok winter season. To too cold at all but cold enough to freeze the hair on your head or in your nostrils. Marcus went out to brush the snow off our vehicles one morning.  Two hours later, we still saw no sign of him. I had ended up getting busy and then falling back asleep for a nap. After a few hours, upon waking up i noticed Marcus was no where in the house! I asked my family where he was and they said he was still outside clearing snow off the cars! They were giggling a little. I was so confused! I was more concerned than giggling or laughing like the rest of them until I went and looked from the window. In an instant, I started giggling like the rest of them. He had the snow brush in his right hand and slowly waving the snow off the cars in segments within a pattern design. He looked hilarious. It was like he was waving a magic wand over the snow and delicately, with long strokes, fluttering the snow off the car. From far it looked like a magical dance he was performing. I knocked on the glass window and asked him to come in for a sec. He walked into the house, his nose red like rudolph, his hair frosted over including the hairs in his nose. The first words out of his mouth was ” I can’t believe how fluffy the snow is here! I love brushing it off and watching it fall. I Alabama the snow is so heavy, wet, not fluffy like this but there is so much of it”! He was ecstatic! It made me laugh harder. I was worried about him driving on the slippery roads when he wasn’t use to it but he assured me he was a professional driver and had a class one truckers driving license. I always trusted and had faith in everything he told me but no matter what, deep down, I would always worry. I loved him so much I would worry about everything. I needed to protect him from everything. He was so precious to me. He saved me. I always felt like I had to return the favor. It wasn’t even like that….I wanted to. Government paperwork was all completed and sent in. It was now the waiting game. It would take one year for the paperwork to go through. Marcus would go stir crazy not being able to work or do anything for that long. We also had to pay is American bills in Canadian funds plus the bills I already had. That, in time would prove to be so difficult. I was now just teaching piano privately. I was not working full-time. My studio set up was not ideal for more students. There was no door to close for privacy. We stayed downstairs and the entrance was just the stairway. The time would soon come that we would have to declare bankruptcy in both Canada and The United States.  It was hard to do but it sure relieved us of financial stress. 

Yes, I’m Getting Married!

The weekend was here and we made it to our hotel in Edmonton. The hotel was attached to this great mall. Within the center of it was a huge pirate ship and dolphins in an aquarium swimming freely. When the mall was closed, hotel guests could walk through the mall at night after hours. We preferred to do just that. The first night there, we spent half the night window shopping and playing with the dolphins. He was such a gentleman. Never let go of my hand and always offered me his arm. At the other end of this huge mall, was a section called “Burbon Street”. All the bars and nightclubs were lined up. All indoors. The music was loud. People everywhere. We both didn’t like all the crowds and drinkers wandering around. We decided to go back to our room. Our room was georgous. I always received special offers and room rates where ever I went from my previous work with lasers and fireworks. I knew and had sponsors everywhere that still loved and respected my past work. Our room had a large king size bed in it with a juccuzzi and fireplace. The bathroom had a six man shower in it all made of marble. The room also had a little sitting area of leather couches and a sofa with a small kitchen and bar. Our room greeted is with champagne on ice and chocolate covered strawberries, fresh fruit platters. The next day, we wondered the mall again having breakfast at a small indoor cafe that was designed as though we were out side having breakfast in Paris. After our wonderful meal we went back to our room for a little nap. Nothing wrong with catching up on a little sleep! We were up so late the night before. We slept a pretty long time waking up in the late afternoon. We took our time, got ready and went for an elegant dinner in a five star restaurant in the hotel. It was the first time we tasted crocodile! After a wonderful dinner we went back to our room for some alone time. We made love for what had to be hours.  I cherished every second of his tenderness. We laid in the bed reminiscing about the funny stories that led us to where we were. Next thing I knew, he got up from laying beside me, sat right next to me still lying down and said…”Could I ask you to be my wife? Would you marry me”? I laid there crying. I couldn’t answer him. My heart was overwhelmed. My past 28 years had meant nothing. All the good, all the bad. It all went away. My tears were flowing continuously. Marcus kept wiping them asking me what was wrong. I finally was able to tell him that he had already changed my life for the better. God sent me an angel in his form. He took all my pain away and made me stronger. He taught me how to love again amidst being raped by my father for 20 years. He wiped away all my sadness. He had the power to mend my heart, my soul and my brain. I know the reason this angel was sent to me. He was sent to heal and protect me and he sure was. Was it possible to love a human being this much? “Yes Marcus! Yes of course I will marry you”!! I cried some more. He kept kissing me tenderly for the rest of the night holding me tightly in his arms. I don’t think he planned to purpose to me that night. He did not have a ring but told me he wanted to buy one for me when we returned to Calgary. The next morning, we had another wonderful breakfast and began our drive back to Calgary.  On the way back we stopped for gas. He wasn’t coming back from paying. It was taking him a long time! I noticed him standing at a payphone. When he came back to the car he told me he had called my father to ask him if he could have my hand in marriage. Marcus was such a gentleman. I really didn’t give a crap what my father thought, his approval or disapproval. We really both couldn’t care less but had to act. We were now both good at it. My father of course, said yes. The whole family and the extended family and friends loved Marcus. There was nothing NOT TO love about him. I was engaged! To the man of my life. We arrived in Calgary and was welcomed with screams of excitment. Everyone congratulated us on our engagement.  We couldn’t wait to call the family in Alabama and tell them too. I felt so terrible taking him away from his family. It was a choice he made to do. He knew with my life and career that I couldn’t move to Alabama. We talked a lot about it. I loved his family very much. They were very similar to mine. Their beliefs in God and the love for one another. I especially loved pops. Marcus’s dad. He always made sure to make you laugh. Such a gentleman in his own way. Marcus and his dad had so many similarities. Same body style, hands, feet. Even their laugh was the same. He was such a character. His mama more conservative. We got on the phone and told them of our engagement. We had planned they be here for the wedding to make it official. They agreed. They purchased a beautiful trailer and a new truck to pull the trailer with. They planned to come up and visit us the coming summer. We decided to get married at home with a justice of the peace first. Marcus was still only a visitor in Canada. We wanted to get our life started together right away. Our vows were to be on October 2, 1999. We would commit to each other on that day. A nice small wedding with only close friends and loved ones. Then on July 9, 2000 we would have a full blown church wedding to renew our vows with friends and all our both families. I had found a simple nice white dress suit and Marcus a nice black suit. My family with my sister missing. They were still in Texas. My eldest brother and his wife, my best friend and her husband. A few close uncles and the Justice of the peace. That was it. Why was I so nervous? I couldn’t wait to marry this man. The love and passion I had for him was so strong. Food overflowing with champagne and loved ones surrounding us, we said our vows and we were officially married. Wow!!! It was done! I was married to my soul mate! The man of my dreams! I could now call him ” my husband”. What a wonderful feeling.

Decisions Decisions

Marcus came with me to train a few times while preparing for a Western Canadian competition. He was pretty impressed by Bruce and the power I had. He was living with me in Canada now, which was to be forever. It felt so right and so good to know he had my back. He was “my rock” in every sense. Everything I once did, I did a little better because of him. We had decided to take a trip up to Edmonton Alberta so I could show him the world’s largest mall. We were excited to go spend the weekend alone. No family no interruptions. Our daily routine was obviously boring in a sense but as long as we were together, life was exciting! His kisses continued to melt me. I felt as though I could not breath without them. His tender kissable lips were addicting. We kissed for every reason. If I had to go to the bathroom I would kiss him first, if I left or came back to the house, had to kiss. If I went to take a nap, kisses first and the same with him. Even if he or I went out for a cigarette, had to give kisses first. Every morning and every night. When we slept, there was no possible way that we could sleep without some body part touching. Then we could both fall asleep easily. We were inseparable. I would thank God everyday for giving me this man. I still don’t know where the sky opened up and he fell next to me. He was with me forever and that’s all that mattered. His accent would make me laugh. I always understood what he was saying but forgot that my family members, especially my mother would have difficulty understanding him. I remember many times when Marcus was sitting on the couch with my mother. He would be chatting up a storm. They would chat for hours. As soon as they were done, my mother would come to me in the kitchen and say “what was he saying”? What? The whole conversation, 2 hours and she didn’t understand a word he said? My mother is one of those mama’s that like to pile your dish with food. You can serve yourself but she will always add to it and if your almost done, she adds more. Well, the way Marcus was raised, his mama always taught him to never leave food on your plate. My mother would fill his dish after he was done with another helping. I remember one time he quietly took me aside and said he couldn’t eat anymore but didn’t know what to do? She kept filling up his dish saying she loved a good eater! I finally had to tell her not to keep adding food to his dish. He was going to explode! The family got use to Marcus and fell in love with him. He would soon get comfortable with my family and fall in love with them all. With the exception of my father. He acted civilly around him. Deep down he wanted to kill him. He was a good actor when it came to my father. I felt so protected by Marcus. I knew he would never touch me again. Marcus would kill him for sure.

It was getting harder to go to the gym. I had a competition coming up so I had to go. I was not about to lift anywhere near the weight I did in Vegas. There was no need to kill myself with heavy weights. No one in Canada came close to my lift totals so I could do my warm up weights and I could win. I did. First place. Marcus and my family were so excited and impressed. The radio commentator, while I was deadlifting, said I looked like I was bending down to pick up my underwear! So simple and with no effort. I laughed while doing all my lifts. I ended up with the giggles that whole day and could not stop. Till this day, I don’t even remember why? I was also the only athlete to be running out the back door for cigarettes. One of the massagers that work on the athletes backstage asked me how I smoked and then lifted. I told him the cigarette was my power. He laughed. 

We were to go to Edmonton the following weekend to relax. Marcus and I looked forward to it. The time would finally come. We were packing with excitement! We finally hit the highway for a long three hour drive. Talking about everything the entire way. After our conversation we began to plan our future. Was It the gym? Would we settle down right away? Have babies? Do I continue to work? He was a visitor in Canada. Marcus was not allowed to work yet without the proper paperwork. He had to wait and go stir crazy. Sitting at home all the time. Marcus was a very hard worker. I never questioned that a bit with him.  Always helping others. We always told Marcus he had all the patience in the world. I didn’t. He grounded me. That’s what made us such a perfect couple! We finally arrived in Edmonton. The Fantasyland Hotel. This weekend was going to be so nice!

First Place…YES!

Just before it was my turn to go up, Bruce, our coach, came around the corner aiming right for me looking so angry! Bruce, so tall and huge and intimidating with red eyes, bent forward to me and put his face right into my face. He said, “They are red flagging all the Canadian lifters, they told me we are not going down far enough when we squat”! When you squat properly, as the weight is on your back and you begin the squat, you must bend down bending your knees, your buttocks must go lower than your knees. That is considered a proper squat. Apparently, we were told none of the Canadian lifters were doing that which means they were all being disqualified. One by one. Yelling in my face he continued to say,” I will go the bottom of the stage in front of you. Look for me. When you squat, I want you to focus on ME! Do not stand or push the weight up until you hear me yell PUSH IT UP! I will make sure you go low enough so your not red flagged. Our hope is in you. Watch for me. Look at me. Listen to me”! He sat me down right away and undid the wraps on my wrists and knees. He began to re wrap my knees so tight that it was cutting off my circulation! He then began wrapping my wrists just as tight. My hands went numb. My heart was beating so fast. Some lifters, right before going on stage, had a quick sniff of pneumonia and walked out. I had tried it once months ago before a lift and it messed my head up. No way was I able to do that! I didn’t need it anyways. I had so much anger always built up inside me naturally, I didn’t need to sniff anything. 

Now was the time. My name was called. I could hear the cheering and yelling and I was ready! Bruce helped me up out of the chair and towards the stage. I walked like I was robotic. Wrapped so tightly and a very tight squat suit, it was a huge effort to even make it TO the stage. Oh dear Lord, let me just do this for me, my coach, my team! As we turned the corner onto the stage, Bruce naturally, grabbed the pneumonia and shoved it under my nose. Startled, I breathed in! It took him a split second to realize that I don’t sniff that stuff but it was too late. I already took a deep breath in and my head was spinning. He walked me up to the squat rack and then left me to the spotters. Bruce made his way down to the front of the stage and my eyes followed him. I needed to see and listen to his screaming at me when it was time to push it up! I had four spotters with me, two on each side. I was ready. I waited anxiously waited for the judges cue to do my squat. The crowd went silent. Everyone waiting for the hand gesture from the main judge. I was so numb! No blood flow. “Hurry up please”! I thought. Finally, the cue. I got the weight on my back. Held it tight, stepped backwards a few feet and waited for the judges cue to now squat. The judge lowered his hand, the moment was here. I began squatting the weight. Lower, lower, down slowly. It was so heavy! I still had two more heavier lifts to do and wow this one was heavy! I needed to qualify unlike my fellow lifters. When I thought I could go no lower, Bruce wasn’t saying push it up yet! I thought that’s low enough!! I listened for his voice, inching my way down as far as I could go. The pain was unbearable but I kept going lower. Finally, I heard his voice yell “PUSH IT UP NOW, NOW, NOW”! I was so relieved. Along with his yelling, the crowd began yelling as well! Everyone wanted to see a Canadian qualify! I pushed it up so fast. All the tightness with the wraps sure helped me spring back up. Now I know why he wrapped me up so tight! I sprung back up like a breeze! Everyone was yelling and cheering. It was so loud! Then complete silence. Everyone’s face was turned towards the flags. I needed two or more green flags to pass. Everyone’s eyes glued and waiting. First green flag! Everyone screamed. Second green flag, everyone screamed and continued to scream. I already passes with the two. Three green flags!! My coach ran up onto the stage and hugged me. He was so happy.  I could hear the roars from my family and team members. I did it! Now I could legally continue on with the competition.

I had finish my squats and was on to bench press. I opened at 200 lbs. My chest forced itself to pop out further than usual from my tight squat suit. When I layed down on the bench to press the weight, my chest stuck out so far that as long as the bar touched it, it was a good press. With bench press, you just had to take the bar off the rack, touch your chest and rack it back up to pass. Well, with my chest out so far, I only had a short way to go other than the rest! So funny. The guys were all mad at me because of that. I passed. 

Onto the deadlift. I was getting so tired. Being high on adrenalin for the day was super tiring. My turn for deadlift. You have to bend down, pick up the bar, and stand up straight locking your knees and pulling your shoulders back in a locked position. Wait in that locked position until the judges cue you to put the weight down. I passed all my weight predictions. Three green flags! I was done. An American girl was my only competition. She was super strong and in my weight class. I knew deep down that I had far surpassed her in my weight lifted when they tallied the total weights for each lifter, to determine the winners. Sweating, exhausted, mind blown and excited…all the lifters waited anxiously for the awards and placements. We were able to go into the audience and wait with our friends and family. 

The time was here. Weights cleared and the judges along with the medals and trophies, were ready to announce the winners. The cameras were all rolling. Media everywhere. All the lifters sweaty, covered with chalk, habing to make television appearances if they won. Starting with the women, going through the pound classes. I would be last in the super heavy weights. It was time. A lady from Germany taking third place. The ladt from the U.S. taking second which could only mean one thing….first place from Calgary Canada, ME! Ah! I did it! Everyone was cheering and clapping and high fiving me all the way up to the stage. They put the medal around my neck and handed me the beautiful first place trophy. I had lifted 1430 lbs making me the strongest woman in the world. The U.S. came in at 1050. It was so great. My coach came up on stage as well and personally shook my hand and bear hugged me.

It was over..the interviews, the excitement. It was time to go to our hotel rooms. I was so hungry! I just have ordered at least 8 or 10 dishes off the inroom dining menu. I ate it all. I fell asleep right after the last bite. The following morning, I was so sore I couldn’t move. My body screamed from pain not to move. After a few days of scorching heat and trying to tour Vegas in pain, it was time to go home. Home sweet home. What an experience.