The memorial run for Mark is on Saturday. This is also the day we will bury his ashes. The headstone is in by a small miracle. It was supposed to be in a month ago so they weren’t sure. I can’t help but think Mark played a little part in that because it was very important to me that it was there for Saturday. I took ‘E’ and ‘B’ there to see it, and to prep them for what is gonna happen on Saturday. They loved it! They even wanted their picture with it and ‘E’ asked if she’d be able to walk there when she’s older. Validation I made the right decision :). I know you all have been on the edge of your seats to see the headstone so here it is! For a headstone it’s as perfect as it could be. The back says “Run by my side; Live in my heartbeat.” Saturday will surely be a hard day.
To say that I’m under a little bit of stress would be an understatement. On top of thinking about starting to pack up this house to move in the next month, we have Mark’s memorial run on Saturday. It is also the day we will bury his ashes. I have been (possibly) subconsciously avoiding thinking about that day. It’s 6 days away. I told the kids they could write daddy a note to include in the “vault” where his ashes will be buried. I thought I should write one too. I guess I didn’t realize how emotional it would be for me. Yikes. This is why I shouldn’t do this before bed. I guess I had a lot of things to say to him! I need to figure out if or what I want to say at the cemetery. And they asked if I would “kick off” the 1 mile run on Saturday, so I want to figure out just the right thing to say.
Next up, working on packing. Like I said, I have at least started thinking about it. You see, I have a road trip planned for July 9th, we close on June 27th, but we will be staying with my parents until the house is ready. So I have to pack 3 groups: Road Trip, Summer Stuff, PODS. Thoughts of it are totally overwhelming. Probably why I’ve been avoiding it. But the POD will be here in 3 weeks, so I guess I gotta get on it. Wish me luck! Off to finish my movie then off the bed…
A rough few days… lots of good and fun things, but the underlying feeling is still always there. Something is missing. ‘E’ and I had a pretty emotional heart to heart a few days ago. We both are just missing Mark. I started to tell her how lucky I was, to have found someone to love so much who loved ME so much too… some people never have that. And I told her how lucky she is because she would always have daddy with her because she was made from him (which lead to an impromptu biology lesson).
This weekend has actually been good. We have had lots of family and friend time. It’s times like this I am thankful I chose to stay in our town and continue to feel comforted and supported by our friends, neighbors and family. Initially, I wanted to run away. Move to a new town where NOBODY knows me. I went from being “Jodie” to “that girl whose husband killed himself at the train station.” It feels like everyone knows me, but I don’t know them. I wish I could just go back to being me. I know this has changed me, and I am not the person I was 6 months ago. I’m hoping I will eventually be BETTER because of this. Something positive has to come from this. I still dream about going far away and “starting over” but we have too many roots here. And while I know it is hard, I feel I made the right choice by staying. For the kids and for me. I know the kids are already adjusting to some HUGE changes, and moving to a brand new place and making all new friends would be even harder.
Tonight we enjoyed playing in the backyard… just over 1 month from now and we will no longer live in this house. I have to say, I was truly happy watching the kids play. I was sad Mark wasn’t there to see how cute they were being, but overall I felt happy. We went for a bike ride, home for baths, stories and bed. Every night I tell ‘B’ “I love you, and Daddy loves you”… well, tonight since it was a rush job (they had a sleepover last night and were WAY over tired!) I just said, “okay, time for bed… go to sleep, I love you, good night.”… and he said, “you forgot something”… so maybe all these months it really was meaning something to him to hear it. I asked him if he missed daddy (he doesn’t like to talk about it a lot) and he said “yes, but I’m getting more used to it.” I know what he means. He told me he likes when I tell him Daddy loves him…so I will do it every night.
I’ve gone back to thinking about the suicide part of it again (I hadn’t been thinking about it for a while)… so I typed in “why do people commit suicide?” into google. This article came up: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2010/06/6-reasons-people-commit-suicide.html #1 has to be it. Based on the note he left and some of this things it said… I know depression runs in his family so it isn’t really shocking, but it really IS because depressed is not a word I’d use to describe Mark at all. He must have been really good at hiding it. Even after 6 months, my brain still can’t wrap around this idea. This FACT. That Mark was depressed and died by suicide. That sentence STILL does not make sense. I wonder if it ever will.
The ups and downs of this grief journey are the hardest part. I never know how I will feel from one day to the next. I don’t know what will trigger it. Living in this house and even staying in our town keep it in my face. I drive down the road he went down that morning… I go over those tracks to go to the grocery store. We’ve lived all our married lives together here and have made 10 years of memories all over this town. It’s hard, but it also helps to keep him alive. “Remember when Daddy took you to that park?” or “That’s where Daddy used to push you in the stroller when he would go for a run.” It’s hard and comforting at the same time.
Do me a favor… keep thinking of us… and praying for us… and wishing for our peace. That’s what we need more than anything else. Acceptance and peace. Are you still out there? Still keeping up with us? Thinking about us? I never knew that it would mean so much to know people STILL care. Thank you ❤
Again, music has me thinking… I heard this song on the radio (I’ve heard it many times before but I usually turn it off because it upsets me)… I don’t know the name but it’s a popular song on the radio lately. The lyrics go something like this:
“If you need help.
Your hope dangling by a string
I’ll share in your suffering
To make you well”
I think a big part of why this hurts me so much is because I would have fought for him. I would have been here to help and support and encourage. I didn’t know because HE didn’t want me to know. He chose to keep his thoughts and feelings and pain and hopelessness inside. Which is so sad. Because he knew that I would be here to support him, but he just wasn’t in a place he felt it was possible.
Okay, so I went to finish and typed up some great stuff… And then went to publish and it was gone! Sorry. My computer crashed and I’ve been crazy making house decisions. Once I have a functional computer I will get back… Man, it was good stuff too. I’m too tired to type on my phone… Until next time…
Okay… wait for it… I worked out FIVE times this week!! I’m really getting into my groove with this working out thing (of course, once the kids are out of school, it’s back to the drawing board). While I haven’t really lost any pounds, I can tell a difference in my body. And I can definitely tell a difference in my ability to do the exercises and weights. It has been about 6 weeks since I started Bob and I have to be honest, I hadn’t changed much about my eating habits. I would say that I worked out because I like to eat bad food. And while it worked for maintaining my weight, it’s time to work on that part of it.
So, I got myself a fitbit last night and I’ve been tracking what I am eating. I know this is the key to truly living a healthy lifestyle, and I am hoping that in combination with the exercise, I will become the person I always wanted to be. I have lived my entire life gaining and losing weight. My body isn’t naturally slim. I can get there, but staying there is not easy. And I am an emotional eater. I eat when I’m happy, sad, stressed, bored… you name it, I want to eat. So, my goal is to have a different focus. On being healthy instead of food. I know it’s important because I want to be here for a long time for my kids. And I know Mark believed in living healthy.
Day One: Success! Now onto the rest of my life.
I had my counseling appointment tonight. I love going to talk with her because she always makes me think and asks me things I hadn’t thought of. I told her about the house and the move (a topic that often comes up). And this idea of “moving on.” I told her that I don’t really want to move on. I am because I have to, but I’m resistant. We got to talking about another situation of someone I know who suddenly lost her husband and started dating again 6 months later. At the time I remember saying I couldn’t judge, because you never know what you would do until you are in the situation. I didn’t think that I would ever do that, but you just never know. And since I now have a similar experience, I get it. I have NO desire to date (ever again, but that’s a whole other blog post!) but I could see how people do. Because you feel so scared of being alone, especially if you’ve been with that person for a long time. You are scared to do it ALL by yourself. If I didn’t have a lot of family support to help or was a dependent kind of person, I might look for someone too. And this idea of “it’s ONLY been 6 months”… is completely asinine. Because when every day is an emotional struggle and filled with grief and pain, it feels like an eternity. Tomorrow will be 6 months, but it feels like 6 years. So while 6 months might not seem like a long time, when you are missing the love of your life, it is forever.
So I ask you to be understanding. Don’t judge. Not just me and the things I do, but anyone. Because you can’t possibly know what they are going through unless you have walked in their shoes. And let’s face it, even with similar paths, we all have different experiences. Maybe I’ll live the rest of my days content with having one real love of my life. Or maybe one day unexpectedly I will meet someone else. Maybe I will move to Hawaii or maybe I will start a new career. My counselor asked me tonight to think about my life 5 years from now. I told her that might be hard. I don’t like to make a lot of plans now (see my older blog post on this topic 😉 ) and so I honestly haven’t made plans for that far out. I’m out about through the summer right now, only because of the house situation. I think part of it is not wanting to be so devastated if life doesn’t go as planned. The other part is, I just don’t even know what I want. I am just surviving. Each day I make it through is a success, until I wake up the next morning and do it all again.
First solo mother’s day. I hadn’t really thought much about this day being hard (more father’s day) but I guess every “first” is going to be difficult for all of us. It started 2 weeks ago when E’s teacher called my dad. She was upset because she didn’t know how she would get me gifts for Mother’s Day since Mark always took the kids shopping and helped them make me breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. Of course my parents were awesome… taking care of everything including a pandora charm and MANY special gifts from the Dollar Tree! The most precious gifts of course were the handmade things the kids made at school. It was a lot of build up for today, and well, now it’s over.
Not without a few hiccups. I had a pretty emotional day due to some personal things going on. But on top of it, just missing Mark pampering me on this day. Thinking about how he let me have this day to do whatever I wanted. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great day. I had a lot of fun and the kids had a blast. But it just wasn’t the same without Mark here. You don’t realize how much you miss having the support and reminders about how you’re doing as a mom until the person who is there to tell you is gone. I don’t get the thank yous or the appreciation like I used to when he was here. We all know being a mom is a thankless job. But Mark always thanked me. Reminded me that while it was hard, and I wasn’t always sure I was doing the best job, that I was a great mom. I miss it all the time, but especially today.
And then there’s my mom. I can’t say enough about both of my parents during this whole process. But on Mother’s Day, I have to say she has been amazing. I know it’s not always easy and even when she’s tired, she still helps me out. She gives her time, her heart, her all whether I ask or not. She listens when I need it and gives me hugs when I’m sad. I know a huge part of why the kids and I are moving towards healing is because of her support. I always appreciated my mom and knew how lucky I was to have her. It just shines even more now.
So, to all you moms out there, remember the important job you do, and that even when your children are grown, they still need you.
I went into Mark’s closet (now my summer clothes closet) today since it’s such a warm day out. I haven’t had to go in there much due to this horribly long winter. I had forgotten that I did not pack up the box of cards and love letters and it was there sitting on the top shelf. It made me really sad. Feeling like all I have left to remember Mark and our love is in this box… that won’t have any new additions… ever again. I re-read some of the old letters. Of course they made me sad. Because I had it all. And I knew it and so did Mark. We decided to start dating when Mark moved 2000 miles away to California to follow his dream of working in the film industry. I know we had it a little backwards, but it took 2 years for us to figure out this friendship we had could be a really amazing relationship.
Before we “made it official” Mark decided we would keep a journal and send it back and forth to each other every few weeks. We did have email and instant messaging, but it was not like it is today. Anyways, I thought this was such a sweet idea. And it is one of my most treasured possessions. Just to give you an idea of the kind of guy Mark was and what our relationship was like, here is an excerpt from the journal from late 2000:
“I want to take you to the ocean and walk on the beach and all these other things that probably sound really cheesy to you. I want to be your everything. I don’t know what’s going to happen if I keep feeling like this for a long time. I feel like I’d go crazy. I’ve never fallen as hard for a girl as I have with you. I don’t know what it is about you that makes me want to love you so completely. I should stop. You don’t want to hear this. I’m just making things worse. But I can’t help myself. I fell like I connect with you in a way that only happens once or twice in a lifetime. I feel like I’ve known you my whole life although it’s only been a little over two years. Do you feel the same? These 2 weeks apart feel like a decade.”
Okay, so we were in the “honeymoon phase”… but I have a box full of cards and letters with the same sentiments. I don’t know if it makes it harder or easier knowing I appreciated him while he was here. Because I miss him just the same. It’s true I don’t have to wonder if he knew how much I loved him. We said it almost every day. But it wasn’t enough. That’s what is so hard. I don’t think I could have given more, but you always wonder. If I had only… fill in the blank. I’m sure it’s a normal part of this process. But it’s exhausting. And just makes me SO sad. I hate that my brain is consumed with thinking about him… all day every day. While I’m at the gym, in the car, making dinner… I really hope it’s not always like this because I can’t bear thinking this is what the rest of my life will be like.So I try… to focus on the positive. To remember the Mark who wrote me those letters. To rejoice in the moments we had and to think about the our past memories and feel happy. Right now, it is still mostly sad. Isn’t that odd? The happy memories make me sad. Because I know they are gone. And I won’t be making new ones. But I try. And I hope one day the happy memories will make me happy again.
So it’s really happening. We are moving. We have the home inspection today. Once that is all set, we just wait until the closing date at the end of June. I have to start packing. Make a plan to clear out the garage (the catch-all location) and order PODS. It has been a rough few days. I wasn’t sleeping well. My eye was twitching. All physical signs of being stressed. After talking to my sister last night, she said maybe it was because of the move. I mean, I know moving is stressful… for anyone. But what she said really struck me. Us moving out of this house is a literal translation to moving on. Starting a new life without Mark. It’s clearly affecting me more than I think. Because all weekend I was saying, I know my body is showing these signs of stress, but I don’t FEEL any more stressed than usual. When she said that, it sort of clicked. I think she’s right. As happy as I am to be leaving this house and the pain of “seeing” Mark everywhere here, maybe in some ways it brings me comfort. It forces me to remember and to think about him. What if I don’t do that at the new house? I don’t want it to seem (to me or the kids) like we are just erasing him. We all talk about Mark every single day. Sometimes in big ways, and other days in passing. I am hoping this is keeping him “alive” for the kids. Because I don’t want them to forget him… or say years from now, “my dad died when I was five so I didn’t really know him.” I WANT them to know him because he was an amazing person and dad. And I know it’s essentially up to me to make sure they do.
So anyways… home inspection is in 1 hour… say a prayer it goes well. Hopefully Mark is still up there making sure things are going the way they should and making sure we are taken care of.
Another long and busy weekend. It was pretty tough emotionally. I was looking through old pictures to find one of the house. I came across a bunch of Mark with the kids. You know how when you haven’t looked at your kids’ baby pictures in a while, you sort of forget they were ever that small. He looks SO happy in every picture with me and the kids. It was who he was. A dad and husband. Then we had a baby shower for a good friend. Every woman there talking about babies. And how they or their husbands helped (or didn’t) with their kids as babies. Mark was always hands on. Granted he could sleep through a screaming baby at 2am. But when it came to it, he did above and beyond with the kids. He was definitely a great dad. Of course I couldn’t help but think about all the things my kids will be missing without him here. Looking at pictures of my friends and their families (husbands included) is really hard. I look at pictures now and it is blaring what is missing. The kids aren’t sure if when asked about their families they should included daddy or not. But I think they should. Even though he’s not here, he is still part of our family, right? But am I just confusing them? It’s so hard.
And today I met for lunch with a good friend and co-worker of Mark’s (if you’re reading this, hi!) It was comforting to hear about how things are at his school (I had been hearing about it for the past 10 years!) But also difficult bringing it all back to the surface again. I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate every one of his co-workers who have reached out to me. It makes me feel like I’m not crazy because they saw him almost as much as I did, and they didn’t see anything unusual either. Truly. I hope to continue to have a relationship with his school because it was important to Mark and so it’s important to me. They were a big part of his life, and a positive place for him. While it brought up some things I haven’t thought about in a while, it was so nice to hear Mark is still thought of and remembered at school. And this race coming up is further proof of the spirit of his work family and their love for Mark.
So, back to the busy week ahead. One month from today is the kids’ last day of school. Summer was always my favorite time of year. Mark would be home. We always had more time together and made plans to do small trips and make is special for the kids. I know he enjoyed those summer breaks too. It was a much slower pace and we could just relax. I am so sad he won’t be here this summer. Because it was our special time. We would talk about how lucky we were to have those times together… to sleep in, go for ice cream, take the kids to the park… somehow it just doesn’t seem like it will be as much fun without Mark. He brought a special spark of fun everywhere he went with the kids. Who else would play “tag” for 20 minutes at the park? Or have relay races in front of the house? Or ride bikes around the block? We had a nice balance… and I guess I need to step it up to bring more fun to things. It’s hard to be both… guess I will figure it out in time….