Deja Shoe

I had one of those déjà vu moments – déjà shoe actually – because I looked down at my shoes and had a fleeting thought that they had been exactly there before. Have you ever had one of those? They can feel so real and some would say that they are; there are spiritual and esoteric theories about the phenomena. Déjà vu has hit me over the years and I refuse to waste a lot of mental energy on the theory of it. After all, I only have so many synapses firing. If I try to analyze every thought of a previous thought that might or might not have been an actual thought, I would get stuck inside an internal Inception vortex from which I would never recover. I think of those moments as brain farts and move on.


Only at this particular moment, I knew for certain that I had been exactly in that spot. And I knew precisely when.



Science has various explanations for déjà vu. Besides my vaunted brain fart theory, this is the one to which I subscribe:


I would dumb that down for you, but when a statement uses the word parahippocampal, there is no dumbing down.


I love my new job. I love feeling like I am daily making a difference in the fight against childhood cancer – the mission I was given by Kylie. I work with an incredibly dedicated team who are great at what they do and all passionately devoted to the cause. They made me feel perfectly welcome from the day I started and not just because they needed me to lift heavy things and reach the high places. I have been there only four months, but in some ways, it’s like I’ve been there much longer.

And sometimes, I get to meet the kids and families who are in the middle of the fight. I see hope, fear, and angst in their faces as if it is written in indelible ink. I read them as only one who has lived their story can. Whenever I have the opportunity, I love being able to serve as I was served. I am always careful to not reveal my story because all I want to serve up is hope and encouragement.

This was what I was doing when I experienced my déjà shoe. I was serving when I realized I was standing in the very place where exactly two years prior, a huddle of doctors told me that Kylie’s cancer had spread beyond hope of treatment. I couldn’t look up at them anymore, I could only look down at my shoes. I will never forget that place. Four days later, she would be dead.


One might ask why… why would I put myself in a position to relive my pain and loss every day? I have gotten that question a few times and my answer is simple. I am a simple man, after all (ergo the brain fart theory). I reply that being at home is no easier – I drown in loss there, too.  In fact, I have found no place to take my shoes where I am free. I can run but I cannot hide.


So, there I stood, looking at my shoes – wondering about the fact that two years ago I hated this view and now I love it. And I hate that I love it.


I awoke from my shoe reverie because a mother with deep creases of story written on her face needed me. We talked briefly. She smiled through a battle-weary fog. I returned her smile as I was taught by my girl and hope the encounter recharged her.



And somewhere in heaven, a little girl smiled down because she had led my shoes to exactly where they were supposed to be.



February 13, 2017 – 2 years gone today and missed every minute.

Source for science stuff: Deja Vu : Scientifically Explained | MEDCHROME

30 thoughts on “Deja Shoe

  1. Hugs to your family today. I often wonder myself why we feel compelled to help others in this terrible battle when our children can no longer be helped by adances in research etc but, I think it’s just as you said, they are now leading our steps.

    1. I think it is what we have to do. I don’t know, that is a good question. To take it a step further, I often wonder how I would feel if we found a cure tomorrow. Of course, I would be thrilled for all of the children we wouldn’t lose, but the timing would be haunting. Why not two years ago? Like you said, I think we are just following our children and what we have to do.

  2. she has led and will lead your every step. She’s not as far away as she may seem at times, I can promise you that. We will never forget that smile. Good job, Mr. Mark. Love. ❤

  3. Love and hugs to you and your family today. Her smile and life continues to brighten and inspire so many of us. Peace and comfort today and always. Love you!

  4. From one father to another – you are an amazing man an inspiration. Thank you.
    My heart and thoughts are with you and your family.
    Rod Bentley (father of Abri)

  5. Thank you for putting your family’s journey and heartache to work by pouring yourself into others in need. Following your story has been an education and an inspiration.

  6. Lifting you and your family up today Mark. What a journey we are on. To be able to occasionally see with a clear perspective is such a treat for me. Even if its looking at my feet and getting a Déjà vu moment. I get it Mark. So happy you are in a place that is giving you direction.

    Much love buddy

  7. I can’t believe I’m thanking you for making me cry, Mark… but I am.
    Your story – and Kylie’s – never fails to inspire and move me beyond words.
    All my love to you both. (I’m sure she reads this blog from her place in the heavens.)

  8. Hi Mark. You have my deepest sympathies. I have first-hand experience with pediatric brain tumors and am actively involved with several organizations that make a difference. I’m very happy to be connected through social media with you and want you to know you have a real, supportive friend in me.
    All the very best to you and your family.

    1. Thank you, Kelly. I poked around your blog and enjoyed – will be looking for more. Thanks also for supporting childhood cancer causes. I’m so hopeful we can find a cure!

      1. Me as well, Mark. Thanks for the visit, happy to have you here. My blog is a place where I write all kinds of stuff… gave up on a theme a long time ago! It just is what it is and I hope you like it! Thanks again, have a nice night.

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