Thankful

So after a total breakdown last week (hey, they happen!) I’m once again on the upswing of this roller coaster ride.  Still, as always, missing Mark, but feeling thankful for every precious moment I’m given.  See, the thing is, I’ve always been a thankful person.  Mark and I would always talk about how lucky we were, roof over our heads, healthy kids, food on our table, etc.  But if it’s possible, I appreciate everything even MORE now.  Because unfortunately, I know how quickly it can all be taken away.  One day you are sitting on the couch talking, the next morning there’s a police officer in that same room telling you your husband is dead.  To say life has changed is an understatement.  I am living a completely different life.  So I guess it’s no surprise that I may seem like a completely different person.  Because in a lot of ways I am.  Not only is my day to day different, but my core, who I am, is different.  The way I think is different.  Because my whole understanding of the world has changed.  Before Mark died, I never really thought anything bad could ever happen to me.  Okay, more than bad, devastating, life-altering… and now that it has, I fear that it can happen again.  So I don’t talk about doing… I do.  Because Mark and I talked about “doing” a lot of things that we never ended up doing because he’s gone.  I am not big on making far-out future plans now, because it  seems scary.  Not that I don’t have any, still have plans to see Europe one of these days… and of course saving for college, etc.  But the year, 5 year, 10 year plans are just sort of floating out there… I don’t think about what it might be like because I’ve done that before, and it is painful when that gets erased.

I realize this is just rambling… no point here, just getting one more post in before the big Thanksgiving holiday.  Which brings me back to where I started… being thankful.  This holiday I am thankful for my parents.  Without them I would not be able to survive.  They help me with the kids, they help me emotionally when I am sad, they frickin built a house next door to make this transition to a new life easier.  My mom helps with homework and my dad plays football at the bus stop.  I am thankful for my sister S and her 2 kids who are an extension of my family.  She is always there to talk and help me reflect in ways that are sometimes uncomfortable.  She is also there to have a drink with and take vacations with and act goofy with.  Her kids are basically a big brother and sister to my kids and their love gives comfort to us.  I am thankful for my sister S and her husband B and their 3 kids.  She told me when Mark died that my kids were her kids now, and she has helped so much with driving, picking up, watching them so I could take one to the doctor.  And my brother-in-law has been an amazing support to them, doing “boy stuff” with the boys and always helping out whenever I ask.  And of course coaching B at baseball!  And the kids are E & B’s best friends.  The girls make up dances and my teenage niece watches the kids for me.  And B & V don’t even know they are cousins, they are just best friends.  On top of that, I have some pretty amazing friends (you know who you are) who still
“check in” on me occasionally.  I’m looking forward to a social life again after the holidays 🙂

So Happy Thanksgiving!!  If you are reading this blog, I am thankful for you.  You have continued to support me and continued to talk about Mark, which is such a huge comfort.  As always we will miss Mark this Thanksgiving, but very slowly the memories are shifting from making us sad to making us happy… hopefully it will continue through this holiday season.

 

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The Truth About Mark Reilly

With it coming up on 2 years since Mark died, obviously he’s been on my mind more than usual lately. I know may of you may remember my thoughts shortly after he died about taking out a full page newspaper article to tell everyone the truth. Because it seems like such a salacious story. Everyone was talking about it anyways. I heard so many things that hurt, other things that were just so off the wall I couldn’t believe people thought they were true. Overall, I felt I needed to explain, because SO many people expected me to have the answers. So here goes.

The truth about Mark Reilly is that he really was the person everyone thought he was. He was (insert 20 minute break where I think about how to finish this sentence) my everything. Like any other married couple, we had our moments, but 95% of the time it was ideal. We were happy. He loved being a dad. If anyone was made to be a dad, it was Mark. He was so much fun and goofy and the kids loved it. He was the hardest working person I know and always wanted what was best for us.

The days leading up to his suicide were like any other days of any other week. Nothing at all out of the ordinary. At no time in my life with Mark would I ever use the word “depressed” to describe him. Life was good. Better than times past. We were finally at a place of financial comfort and we were out of the “baby stage” as ‘S’ was finally in preschool. The day Mark died (and the days and weeks that followed) the feeling of shock people in the community felt were equal to my shock. It is still, after 2 years, something that will never make sense, it will never fit.

For two years I have worked hard to come to a place of acceptance that I won’t know why. I don’t get to know. I won’t ever have the answers. And some days that is easier than others. Somedays it doesn’t matter how he died, other days it seems important. If I’ve learned anything over the past 2 years, it’s that my grief is unpredictable. It doesn’t usually give me a heads up when it’s going to take over my thoughts. But I know now that I will ride the waves of sadness until they pass and the sunlight shines again.

So the truth is, that as scary as this may be, suicide can impact any of us. And if you’re reading this blog, maybe it has. NEVER in a million years would I have guessed that this would be my life. Mark would have been the last person I would have thought to die by suicide. I will continue to hope for people to let go of this preconceived notion of what suicide means. Take away the stigma and accept it for what is it, the result of a disease. I don’t fault people for their thoughts, as open-minded as I am, I’m pretty sure my view on suicide has changed since my experience. I hope yours does too.

*** If you are interested in showing support to me and the kids on Sunday, feel free to take a walk or run and send me a picture. If you are inclined, you can pledge $1 per minute you walk/run to donate to projectsemicolon.org. Please comment below if you donate so I can calculate the total donated in Mark’s name. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for every big and little thing you have done for me and the kids these past 2 years. We wouldn’t have survived without you.***