Softly as I leave you

Softly I will leave you Softly For my heart would break If you should wake And see me go So I leave you Softly Long before you miss me Long before your arms can beg me stay For one more hour For one more day After all the years I can’t bare the tears To fall So softly, as I leave you there

Six months after Mark left me softly, I am about to take that first step that will take me away from the home Mark & I shared. I considered moving in to Cedar Rapids, trying not to make major changes too quickly. Anyone who knows where we lived, knows I could not take care of the acreage and would NEVER be able to plow myself out once the snow started flying. I looked at two houses that truly would have been perfect for me but couldnt stop crying a single moment in either of them.

After much time in prayer, begging for guidance, I made the decision not to put of what I knew I would end up doing. Makes no sense to move only to move again when the “dust settled”. In the matter of 3 days, I found a house I loved, figured out how I could make the move and realized it all put me in a position to be there for my mom – hard to imagine that was not in the forefront of my thoughts. The only thing now, was to find a job and tell my boss. Little did I know my boss would change my world AGAIN by immediately saying I could become a remote worker. I stress this is beyond my ability to comprehend. So any factors here have been influenced by a higher power… yes, GOD. For it all to fit perfectly… and suddenly… there is no other explanation.

Here I am…moving out! I moved two of Mark’s light dressers … funny story. I gave them to a friend but as I was pulling one of them down the stairs (my feet were solid and I did NOT miss a step), I swear I felt someone PUSH on the dresser causing me to take a stumble down the stairs head over.. well you know – with the dresser following me down. Yes, I am ok, I told Mark he didnt have to push me. You know me.. I have to find a giggle. The movers came last weekend and started that journey to warmer weather. The temperatures started to drop. Mark & I always kept it cold in our house so it wasnt bad until it dropped into the 30s. I turned on the heat only to find it wasnt working. Now I only have a few days remaining so I am NOT going to call someone to come fix it. Then it dropped into the 20s… I have no fewer than 7 heavy blankets on my bed now. Someone came over to look at some stuff I was selling – did I mention he is a heating & plumbing guy? 🙂 Well, it seems Mark turned the propane off at the tank so there was no propane to heat the house. I swear I heard him laugh that night. My last two nights in the house, I enjoyed a selfish 65 with only 2 blankets.

I share all this to let you all know that Mark is with me. He is still a trickster. As long as he doesnt jump out from behind a door I am ok with it all. But then wouldnt I love seeing him again? I made sure I got a copy of the answering machine recording of his voice before I lost it forever so I will be able to hear him for some time to come!

As I leave Iowa, I leave so much more than Mark and the memories (good & bad) we shared. I leave friends who will forever be a part of who I am and sure better come visit me!!! These friendships were strong and honest but sharing Mark’s death, they became stronger and more endearing. People I would never have leaned on before, were the very people holding me up at times. The tears I am shedding and will probably do so most of the drive, are not just for Mark they are for the loss of all the smiles I will not see regularly, for the laughter, for the hugs, for the jokes, and so many more things I can name …. The tears will be for you all…for my selfish need to keep you close to me. Please know, as Mark is, so will you be emblazoned on my heart, in my memories.

So today when I lock this door one more time and drive down this crappy gravel road, I will try to do it softly and with the greatest love & appreciation for what and WHO Iowa has given me.

Softly… ❤

My Harley Fat Boy

That didnt sound nice but I have the photo to prove it. Once I dig it back out of the box I will share it with you (or maybe I wont because the moment will be lost). Mark had a 2003 Harley Fat Boy. I really dont know how often he rode it but he had it about 2 years before he moved “on gravel”. What an awful thing… “on gravel”. HA. I digress.

When I moved up to Iowa in December of 2007, he still had it. I asked him to take me for ride but he adamantly refused. At first I thought two things. One was the last and only time he ever took me for a motorcycle ride was the night before we said goodbye in 2000 and we took a little spill. No one was hurt, we laughed about it. The second was that he just didnt love me enough to take me for a ride on his “Harley”. Well, neither of those were true. Fact of the matter was that he had cleaned it all up to sell and didnt want to take the chance of damaging it in any way. Remember the earlier talk of “on gravel”. Oh ok… I understood and put my hurt feelings in the garbage where they belonged. A week later he did sell the Harley.

Fast forward 12 years… In the garage, I have found a nice helmet, replacement visors, gloves, some kind of cover, replacement lights a few models of Harleys and some other stuff. In the hall closet, I found 2 more helmets and a 100 year commemorative leather jacket. What in the hell am I supposed to do with this when I barely have time to breath much less seek out buyers??????? Did I give you enough question marks there?

Tonight, six days before the movers come, I find half the office upstairs filled. Want to guess with what? HARLEY STUFF. Beautiful shiny Harley stuff and signs and more models and MORE STUFF. My friend Jeni (my rock) is getting the Harley Bears… WHAT? TWO of them? Yeppers Jeni, you get the matching pair because you know I wouldnt expect my Mark to buy one of anything. Ok, to be fair, this pair is boy & girl bear so I guess I will give him a break (even though he pushed me down the stairs!).

So, as I was digging through the office, I was praying the American Pickers would just knock on my door but then I realized it was 1am and they were probably not out scouring the countryside. Then the tears came again. Yes, big ugly “what am I going to do” tears. Tears that come so hard, deep and fast that you cant move. The tears that wouldnt stop and that lead to having to get my inhaler to catch my breath. Even now as I write this, the tears wont stop.

Is this how this next two weeks is going to be? Maybe I should wear a sign… CAUTION – CONTENTS MAY EXPLODE. Maybe this is what I get for putting things off until the last minute. Maybe all the “stay out of the house” moments (ok, hours) are coming back to bite me in the butt. Now I HAVE to face the fact that Mark left me to deal with all of this and I dont have an option in this. I just have to figure it out. But reality is… I dont want to adult anymore. I want to go to a secluded beach and drink fun drinks out of pineapples with umbrellas and listen to the waves crash on the shore. Where I dont have to touch a box or wonder what is in the closet or be reminded that Mark is dead. But …what I WANT and what I am getting are two different things. So tomorrow night after work, I will grab more boxes and head upstairs to continue the treasure hunt.

The beach must wait… but not for long.

Ethics and death

Or perhaps it is greed that drives Wells Fargo to be thoughtless. Are they so large the left hand doesnt know the right hand is already deep in their “customers” pockets? Ok, maybe I should back up. Bear with me here because even after mowing the yard (in the damn dark because the sun just wouldnt stay up), I am STILL pissed off.

Some years ago, my loving husband co-signed a loan for his son for his education. From what I understand, the words “I promise I will pay this off Dad” were spoken. Mark always ALWAYS had faith in his son. Well lucky us, we got to start paying that loan about 10 years ago. To say I was a bit put out about paying this loan is an understatement. I probably woudnt have been so bitter if the education was used for something. (Here’s my positive comment- his son had an incredible talent with music. His degree was whatever those people get who do music in background -movies, commercials, etc. This kid had a great ear.) But.. that wasnt the case.

Ok, getting back to the thought… remember those dodo birds… they are playing with me right now, the thoughts are zooming around! When Mark went to Europe for work, one of the primary things he kept talking about was… “if something happens and I die in a plane crash, no more payments go to the student loan”. I cant tell you how many times he reiterated that. He even went so far as to show me (because you know I didnt trust his word- he thought) the information on WF’s website stating the same. Thank God, Mark didnt die in a plane crash and we kept paying. His son made ONE payment of $25 to Mark. Mark said, as long as he paid something, he would accept that, at least he was doing SOMETHING. Well, ONE payment was it. So… still WE paid. Every single month. Not a single late payment. For nothing.

When Mark died, the only thing I had ANY imediate control over was that damn loan. Literally, the next day in the maddening silence of the chaos around me, I called WF. It didnt take me long to get the phone number and the loan number as it was in Mark’s wallet. I was angry when I called. Angry that Mark died but I didnt quite know it or how to deal with it. Angry at this loan and how long we have been paying on it. Angry because the payment was due in a few days. I explained NICELY even though my anger, that Mark (as co-signer) died and from what I understood, the payments now stopped. The woman I spoke with agreed and said they would need the death certificate when it was available but she would annotate the file and no payment would be autodrafted from our account. I then told her I would be happy to given her the son’s address so they could try to get their money since we have paid half of it already. She flat out said NO, most likely we will just write it off at this point. WHAT? Can you imagine what was going through my mind? I was quickly loosing my nice, the anger flared up like an inferno. The other signer on a loan is alive and available and you wont even TRY to get your money? Of course, they may not get any anyway but dammit they should have at least tried. I did not yell… I did not scream… I did say something like I cannot believe they would suck the money out of us but then let it go now that the money bag father is dead. A soft “yes ma’am” was the response followed by the obligatory conversation ender “Mrs. Brewer, we are so sorry for your loss and there will be no more payments taken out of your account. If you have any other questions, please call us again.” CLICK!

If I wasnt talking on my cell phone, I would have thrown the phone across the room. BUT… no more payments and that was verified with the bank. So this leads me to 5 months later Today /Mark gets a letter from WF saying he is delinquent in this loan and they are going to pursue collections. They go so far in this letter to say how interest is calculated but if he will pay just the interest, they will consider him “in good standing” and will work with him on payoff options.

WHAT THE HELL??? Ok, I wasnt even out of the car when I was dialing them. While I spoke to a nice gentleman, I am sure this is going to explode again before it is over. I explained who I was and at first he said he wouldnt be able to talk to me about this situation. I put on my smart ass hat and told him if he could get my dead husband to speak to him, I would pay the loan in full. That kind of startled him. He didnt have any notice that Mark was dead or that I had sent the death certificate along with the Letter of Appointment from the court. He couldnt say he was sorry fast enough. I KNOW he was lost. I did tell him that I know it wasnt HIM but since he is the one I was talking to , he was the one who had to listen.

Mark is dead. They cant ruin his credit history (that he worked so hard his entire life to build to its high standing). Their own policy states if one of the co-signers dies, their obligation stops, it doesnt go against the estate. Their OWN POLICY. He said he was sorry (again) and he would ensure this was all annotated in the system. Then suddenly, I broke. I am sorry I did that to him but through the tears I told him getting a letter like this was like a slap in the face. It is hard enough trying to move forward, to not feel the hurt with every single breath. Then you get this… He said he was going to take this to his manager right away and ensure I would get no other correspondence from them regarding this. I asked him why they didnt put this much effort in to finding the other signer on the loan. He actually asked if I had that address. He might be the one redeeming employee at WF.

So, my frustration… They KNEW Mark died. They had all the information. They simply CHOSE to try to guilt me in to paying the loan. Let’s see if the widow is a sucker and is simply too stupid to realize their policy protects the debtor’s rights…even if he is no longer breathing.

Hey, here’s an idea… go after the other breathing person on that loan.

Five months…but who’s counting?

Sometimes I have a hard time finding the words. That’s odd because lately I have talked about Mark and his death a lot more than I have. I think I want to talk to people about him, about that day 5 months ago. Am I “wallowing in self pity”? I dont think so but what do I know? I just know what I feel.

This past weekend was a bit emotional for me. I didnt have periods of out & out bawling. It was just a weekend filled with leaky eyes. I stayed busy and it seemed like the dumbest times would catch me having to wipe my eyes. It was ok. So much is going on so I kind of expect it but still, again, no rhyme or reason. It just was.

Today, I know I held it all in. Mark was on my mind with almost every breath I took. I was just shy of tearing up all day. I would even say I was quiet. WHAT? Me? Quiet? Yep. Then, a few minutes after four pm , my phone dinged. I almost jumped out of my chair. A tear spilled out as if it was pushed and I looked to see who it was. Sharon (Mark’s boss) texted to say she was thinking of me & how it is hard to believe it has been 5 months. I had to ask… did she realize that she texted at almost the same time that she called that day? It wasnt intentional by any means. It just happened to be when she could text. Almost immediately, I had to giggle. I am going to chalk it up to Mark visiting us.

How I wish he would TALK to me but I find great comfort knowing he “whispers” in our ears at times. I will take that.

Whisper to me more Mark. I love you.

Is … oops

I find I have been talking about Mark a lot the last few days. He deserves to be talked about.

I realize I often say “Mark is” only to almost immediately sputter out a “was”. This is a new thing for me. It isn’t a once in a few days kind of thing. Anytime I talk about him, I am doing it in the present. Why am I suddenly doing this? I am sure someone can explain this to me.

If you hear me do this… please understand.