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.

I’m just a ghost in this house…

How does Alison Krauss do it? Certain songs hit in certain ways. Tonight, this song has been on a continuous loop in my head. So to start, I will share the lyrics (again, you should go listen!) It was written by Hugh Prestwood.

I don’t pick up the mail, I don’t pick up the phone
I don’t answer the door, I’d just as soon be alone
I don’t keep this place up, I just keep the lights down
I don’t live in these rooms, I just rattle around

I’m just a ghost in this house
I’m just a shadow upon these walls
As quietly as a mouse I haunt these halls
I’m just a whisper of smoke
I’m all that’s left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
You took my body and soul
I’m just a ghost in this house

I don’t care if it rains, I don’t care if it’s clear
I don’t mind staying in, there’s another ghost here
He sits down in your chair and he shines with your light
And he lays down his head on your pillow at night

I’m just a ghost in this house
I’m just a shadow upon these walls
I’m living proof of the damage
Heartbreak does
I’m just a whisper of smoke
I’m all that’s left of two hearts on fire
That once burned out of control
And took my body and soul
I’m just a ghost in this house.

This is how I feel… like I am rattling around. I am fighting to try to capture motivation. Once I get home, I am alone. The silence is deafening. That is silly because I keep noise of one kind or another whispering around me. Its the radio or the television, the fan while I sleep, I talk to myself, I talk to the cats. Shoot, I even talk to the house. Maybe I talk to Mark, too even though I rarely call out his name … I am scared to do so.

I think I am afraid I will lose it if I do. I have been able to overload my mind with things that I need to focus on right now. The Estate, the house, work… yes, we are back in another busy season, moving, buying a house all on my own, oh there is just so much to think about. I really haven’t taken time to allow myself to acknowledge that stupid fact that Mark is not here with me.

I am dying here… I KNOW I need to get things boxed up but I just sit and look at it all. Time is flying by… I need to get busy. I cant say I don’t care, I DO care. I care about keeping Mark’s memory alive, letting our love hold the larger portion of my heart I care about continuing on in a way everyone would be proud of me,… Mark, Dad, me. But all the CARE in the world isn’t setting that fire under my butt.

Maybe I just need a good long cry. Just get it out. Scream, cry, cuss, whimper, whatever. Just let it go and accept that I am a ghost right now. That doesn’t mean I have to stay that way.

Sounds like a plan for tomorrow.

Four months since our last kiss

This picture was our first kiss as husband and wife. Four months ago was our last kiss. This is something that will forever stay with me. I have said before, I am sure I will say it many more times, I wish I could kiss him one more time. Or talk to him again. Or just SEE him sitting in his spot ONE MORE TIME. I cant have that.

They say it gets easier… well not so far. I mean some days are easier. Easier to breathe, easier to get through most of the day without a tear. Don’t get me wrong, he is on my mind most of the time. He is still with me but there are good chunks of time when he is like my shadow, moving with me in tandem. It is these next two days that hurt… hurt so deeply that I am amazed I can catch that breath. But I have continued to breathe …

As the sun rises tomorrow, the memories will flood my mind. I will remember every single moment of April 30th. I will cry. I will hurt. I will pray still. I will question many things but I will keep breathing.

And I will continue on the path of healing…

Uh oh… here comes anger

There is so much going on… I feel like I am being pulled, pushed, twisted. I think that is natural for anyone in my situation. Shoot, I bet most of us can say we feel that way at some point even without their spouse dying.

I will share the pulled, pushed, twisted on another day but, tonight, I feel like I need to talk this out.. ok, type it out. You can imagine my fingers are going a mile a minute and the tears are from anger and shame.

My magical words of advice … it is ok to get angry. Sometimes it is even healthy to get angry. But I have to remember to place the blame at the feet of who deserves the blame. What started all this? A stupid piece of carpet tile. Maybe I should have called this Anger and Honesty. How about Confessions of an Angry Widow? Oh I like that one but I am not going to make changes to what I have written. I am not trying to make this pretty, I am trying to be honest.

My house is a mess. OUCH, I cannot believe I said that. It has taken YEARS to make this. It has taken two people who buried their heads in the sand and simply ignored the accumulation of “stuff”. We have had 2 dogs forever and up to 7 cats and two people who didn’t care. Oh … I did laundry … Mark did dishes (every Saturday). After 4/15 every year, I would say I was going to do my “spring cleaning”. Yeah, I sprung right on out to my hammock and found peace. The nitty gritty – he didn’t so I didn’t so he didn’t. And then, Mark quit breathing. I was horrified that so many people had to come into my house. I had no choice – it wasn’t like I could bury my head in the sand any longer.

The night Mark died, as soon as everyone left me alone – suddenly completely alone, I started cleaning. Who am I kidding? No I didn’t. I started “picking up” because it was bad enough that was the only way to start. When I couldn’t sleep (which was usually), I would “pick up more”. Then I stopped… can I say it was because of grief? Sure I can! But it was not ONLY grief. Yes, I found that I needed to be away from the house. It was too quiet, it was too lonely. I used that as my reason… my excuse.

Tonight, after feeding the remaining 5 old cats, I sat down to eat my dinner (nope, still not cooking) and found one piece of carpet tile I missed pulling up this weekend. It didn’t stop there. I finally saw the enormity of the task at hand. And I am angry. SO VERY ANGRY that this house got to this condition.

Remember when I said, I have to place the blame where it belongs. I am not going to bad mouth Mark here. He had his part in it but I am going to accept the blame in his place. If I would have just made the effort to begin with, I am sure he would have helped. If I would have just STARTED, a little cleaning at a time would have alleviated everything I am facing now. A little effort, may have even lightened the stress Mark obviously felt. A little effort on my part just may have kept my husband alive. Or maybe not.

One thing is for sure… it is going to take more than a little effort right now.

A tear for a dent

I don’t understand. I have had a few days of some spectacular events yet in the highest high, the tears find their way out.

Yesterday, I sold Mark’s snowplow truck and Yaris. Since these are part of the “estate”, I have to ensure I get the most I can, trying to get at least the value at “date of death”. Well, you know, it doesn’t matter what KBB says a vehicle is worth when KBB doesn’t take into consideration a trunk doesn’t open or the vehicle wont go more than 10mph. I didn’t think I would ever be able to sell them because of their condition. Carvana and CarMax (what a joke) offered me 200 AND I would have to drive to Wisconsin or Texas. Shoot, that just brought the vehicles down to 100. When Chris & Josh said they’d take them, I was overjoyed. I was relieved. Immediately, I was also feeling guilty. Doesn’t that sound silly?

Guilty because I found relief, happiness, shoot, even GREAT JOY in selling the vehicles. Great joy? What right do I have in feeling great joy in selling something that is … was truly such a big part of Mark and so many memories? How many times did he go out to plow just so I could get to work in the morning? What you don’t know is that Mark would often plow several times a night just to keep it “controllable”. Or he would get up at 3 or 4 in the morning to get it clear for me. I remember the first winter he had that plow. He couldn’t wait for the first snow. When it finally came, he made sure he plowed our road all the way in to Elberon. At about 3 am, I got a call saying he was stuck! So I bundled up in warm clothes and took his junk truck to help pull him out of a ditch. When we got home, we busted out laughing. This past winter, he was plowing Mike & Jan’s place and back right into the HUGE stone they have in their yard. Dented the truck but the stone survived without a scratch.

So before Josh drove it away, I ran my hand over that dent from the stone and the tears just came. It was a dent… just a dent. Why did it have that power over me? I go back to that guilt. Is it guilt because I am able to find happiness after Mark’s death? Is it guilt because I am selling off more and more of Mark? I shouldn’t feel guilt, I am doing what I HAVE to do to satisfy probate laws. Knowing that doesn’t help… maybe it will soon but right now… I miss seeing that truck and car in the driveway.

I know the good days are going to outnumber the bad as I go forward. I know I wont question joyful moments as often as time goes on. Until then, I just hope the people around me can “tolerate” the sudden tear intermixed with the laughter. Life does go on…

Hope comes…

What a great day! It started this morning with a friend sharing some good news, news that will take hard work but I know KNOW KNOW she has it in her! Could something I said actually have helped? Ah girl, you know I will be your cheerleader! Please lift her in prayer – I know I am!

Then it gets followed with an absolutely fabulous mentor meeting with my boss. Talk about someone who will bend over backwards to teach, guide, listen, encourage… this woman (her name is Becky – so lift her in prayer, too, because she has helped me beyond measure) is helping to create a world (not just a workplace) that is filled with respect and courage. Thank you Becky…thank you for encouraging and helping me build my confidence!

The last 3 1/2 months have taken a toll on me. Hope would show his face only to run and hide behind the monsters that bullied their way into the front of my every day…and night. Those monsters were doubt, confusion, loneliness and so many others that change their names like the wind changes directions.

Today… Hope stood up to them!

Tuesday – Maybe

I never gave much thought to specific days of the week until Mark died. TUESDAY, April 30th. Tuesday just sticks with me. I don’t understand it but, I wake up every Tuesday knowing it is Tuesday.

Today I heard an Allison Krause song that hit the nail on the head. How does that woman sing so many songs that are so wonderful? (Dang Dodo birds are trying to distract me…)

While I know the song is intended to be about a man leaving a woman (ie, moving out – I know because I just HAD to watch the video), the words touched deep inside me the first time I heard it (and the 2nd, 3rd, etc). This song just captured me… Google it, listen to it. (I dare ya!) The only part that doesn’t fit is “maybe it’s for the best” but if you can forgive that ONE line… maybe you will be able to understand how powerful this song is for me. Please! Don’t just read the words (below), go LISTEN to it. Allison Krause has a voice of an angel.

Yesterday the odds were stacked in favor of my expectations.
Flyin' above the rest, never fallin' from the nest.
Tuesday came and went and now I'm in a little situation.
Maybe it's for the best (NOT), I can live alone, I guess.

Maybe I can stand alone
Maybe I'm strong as stone.
Even though the bird has flown.
Maybe he'll fly on home.

Forgive me if I'm keeping you apart from better conversation.
I'm hung up on all my doubt trying to sort the whole thing out.
Tell me that I'm smart enough to deal with all the information
Spinning inside my head, every word he ever said.

Maybe I can stand alone
Maybe I'm strong as stone.
Even though the bird has flown.
Maybe he'll fly on home....

To say Mark fell from the nest is an understatement… He HAS flown though and I have to believe he flew HOME. I don’t HAVE to believe, I DO believe he flew home. So that leaves me to stand alone with all my doubts as to my ability to do so and try to deal with it all. It is overwhelming, no sugar coating that. It is scary. It is lonely.

But you know what I am finding out? I can be strong and still have doubts/fears. The key is to make sure I don’t let those doubts/fears overtake me. They will always try to shake me but I cant let it break me! Every moment I can STAND ALONE, turns into minutes, into hours, into days and so on. Even though the fears/doubts continue to shake me… it isn’t as often and it isn’t as debilitating.

Go listen… be strong. ❤

Distraction Dodo Birds & I Don’t Care Fairies

There is so much to do… why cant I focus in on the things I NEED to get done? I feel like I am jumping all around, bouncing from one project to the next without completing any of them.

On the way home from work, I am all enthused, thinking of what I am going to work on, ready to tackle it. As soon as I walk in the door, it is like someone has sprinkled “I don’t care fairy dust” all over the place.

I thought if I set small goals it might help. For example, each night I come home and spend two hours working on a specific room. Do what I can and after two hours, I get to watch Touched by An Angel. Goal and then reward.

Tonight… I fed the cats and then walked into the bathroom – Wednesday is bathroom day. Well it is on my “duty list” (or is that doodie?) HA. I know…that was a crappy joke. (oh my goodness… I love puns) Back to the topic at hand (see, I even get distracted in writing!). I sat on the edge of the tub and stared at the box of pills I gathered to take to the police station to dispose. I couldn’t take my eyes off those damn heart pills. I don’t remember exactly what was swirling around in my mind but I know those pills and Mark were front and center and 1/2 hour later, I was still staring. OK, so I stood up and put the pills in the car thinking that would prompt me to drop them off tomorrow AND get one more thing out of the way!! Whoo hoo, she is moving now! I came back in, cleaned my toilet and tub and then it hit me… I cant leave pills in the car overnight. Yes, the Distraction Dodo Birds are at play at my house!

Suddenly, I pictured someone (whose name remains unspoken- no not Voldemort) snooping around and breaking into my car just to get a high. So, back out to the car and the pills are sitting on the table. You know I cant leave them by the back door… same reason. Well now the “I don’t care fairies” have visited again and here I am.

Soooooo… I just made myself yet another “deal”. Tonight is my last night of letting those darn fairies effect me. I think it is time to sage the house and ask God to help me find that focus (not necessarily in that order). I am going to try to start in the morning… the cats usually wake me up earlier than my alarm. Maybe that is God’s way of telling me to do SOMETHING, like sweep the bathroom or box up a cabinet, or throw clothes in the washer. That puts me one step forward for when I get home. Let’s see how that pans out.

Shoot, might as well go put the clothes in the washer tonight so they can dry while I get ready for work tomorrow.

Now if I can just ignore those “distraction dodo birds” that like to play their silly games.

I am…

There are so many things running around in my mind… I cant seem to focus tonight. I make it sound like it is just tonight… it has been this entire week. I have flittered from one thought, one project, one tear to the next, trying to stay super busy.

I was… AM so afraid to face tomorrow.

My last blog spoke to milestones and a big one (the 2nd biggest) is looming less than 3 hours away. How am I going to face our anniversary without Mark? Mark always made this day special regardless of what we were going through at the time. WE always made sure the other KNEW we wanted to be married. The day was filled with “Hallmark moments”, cards filled with those “you are my world” sentiments that sometimes didn’t truly reflect all the other days in the year. Sometimes they did though… in fact, the odds were in our favor.

Mark was the best in picking out the most beautiful sentimental cards and almost always wrote a note that said just the right thing. He knew cards meant so much to me and he never failed with them. I have saved every card he ever gave me with the exception of our first valentines card which Reesie ate. Not long after Mark died, I pulled his cards out & read them all again. I am sure I will do that tomorrow night again – it is all I have now.

I wont pretend our marriage was perfect. There were times I wanted to walk away but my heart wouldn’t let me. There were times I am sure he wanted to give up, too. I am forever thankful he didn’t either. We hit a time when it was easier just to live… more like roommates than husband & wife. Short of Celtic Women concert on 8/8/10 (yes, our pre-marriage honeymoon), we never took a vacation together (who would take care of the dogs?). I hid myself in work, busy season gave me an excuse to stay away. Taking care of my mom when she needed someone, gave me an excuse. The sun was out, oops, there is an excuse. It wasn’t just staying away from the house (or out of the house), it was also how comfortable we fell in to that “if you’re not doing this, I wont do that”. I could go on but would rather share my last week or so with Mark…

The bottom truly was falling out from under us. We both were lost and angry, at each other and ourselves. We finally hit rock bottom and had that very hard conversation, the one that takes your breath away and makes your heart stop beating for fear of what will be said. We had to decide if we wanted to stay together, was our love enough? Would we be able to put away our hurt and anger and recommit to rebuilding our marriage? We knew it wasn’t going to be easy but we both agreed we couldn’t completely give up. We were close enough to that already. We both promised once again to love, honor, cherish. But even more, we promised to respect each other, to talk honestly with each other, to put the other first… from that day forward until…

So tomorrow, I will celebrate the love we had, the love we were willing to strengthen, the hope we had for far too short a time. I will get through our first anniversary without roses… but I will feel him with me and feel his love wrap around me when I falter.

Come celebrate with me Mark… I love & miss you so very much.