There is so much to share, so much to say but I know I wont accomplish that tonight. I know I will ramble around because so much has happened since my last post. My silence hasnt been because I havent needed to “talk”, or wanted to for that matter. I hit the floor running when I got to Pensacola. I realize I have to MAKE time to write for a bit… keeping it all bottled up inside isnt good.. for me or anyone else.
The trip from Iowa was hard – VERY HARD and for so many reasons but I firmly believe Mark was with me. There were times I started to nod off and it was like he put his hands on the wheel and kept me in my own lane. I know some people would say it was Jesus who took the wheel and while I do not doubt His hand was on it ALOT, I know Mark was with me, too. For instance, I have traveled this route many times, always taking Hwy 49 through Hattiesburg, MS. I missed that exit and ended up going through Jackson. Trusting GPS to get me where I needed to go, I let it lead me. And lead it me it did… on the same path Mark & I took 21 years earlier when I moved to Cedar Rapids the first time. I was seeing things I had only seen that one time. Memories flooded over me as I passed the hotel we stopped at and the Wendy’s we ate at, the sign for Brewer MS (which made me smile before bursting into tears again). I believe Mark was letting me know he was with me and all was okay.
By the time I finally made it to Pensacola, I backed the Flex into the garage of my new house and opened the back and the cats just looked at me like I was crazy if I thought they were getting out of the car. I just let them be while I hugged my mother, set out two litter boxes and wandered around an empty house! It wasnt long before kitties were scattering all around the house. They found GREAT hiding places – Gizmo hid so well, I didnt find him for a day! Bear, of course, didnt leave my side.
Fast forward a bit of time, Mark makes his presence known pretty often. I dont think he is haunting me but I do believe he is around. After I started seriously considering trading in the Flex & Yaris, I had some issues with the Flex. Went to lunch with my daughter and when we left to go home, the alternator belt just fell off! We picked it up, it was not broken or frayed. When I got it to the shop, they said there was no way it should have come off. Well, I got it fixed and a few days later, the car just died. Fortunately, I was parked and not in the middle of the street. It ended up being a dead battery but the tow truck driver taking me to the dealer asked if someone was trying to tell me something! I said yes, my dead husband must want me to trade it in! There are things that have happened in the house that I have just attributed to him and I have to say it makes me smile.
Since being in FL, I made it through my first thanksgiving without him and our annual trip to the casino. Ashlee & her girls came down so there was a lot of busy-ness going on. I made it through my first Christmas without him and my first New Years. During all of these holidays I have surrounded myself with people, not always by choice but because it was expected.
The hardest holiday so far has definitely been Valentines Day. Mark always made such a big deal of Valentines Day. Mark first asked me to marry him on Valentines Day but he said it didnt really count since he didnt have a ring. Last year, what would be my last one with him, he went all out making the entire day about the day we first met face to face. He remembered so many little things about that trip. The color of roses he got me, the teddy bear, the first movie we saw together – all of them were reflected in the gifts he sent to me at work. All I really wanted to do was hide in my house and scream the walls down. Or maybe I just wanted to cry, or sleep or I guess feel sorry for myself. But, that is also my mother’s birthday so my daughter came in for the weekend and it was pretty much non-stop birthday celebration. Maybe I am angry about not being able to deal with my feelings but that is water under the bridge now. Chelsea did let me talk a bit that night when we got home but I didnt want her to feel uncomfortable and we were both exhausted.
I made it through my birthday without him beside me. While we never made a huge deal out of that day because of work, he always did something amazing – like the year I turned 55- I got 55 balloons. They were massive and filled my work bay. And flowers- that man always sent flowers! How can you not feel the love?
All these “firsts” have come and gone. I wonder if the 2nds are going to be hard and then I realize, how could they NOT be hard. How can the 15th not be hard? While I am sure they all wont take my breath away, they will still hurt – every day hurts. Every day has a hole. That hole will never go away.
There is so much more to share – so much that has happened. Good things, not so good things, easy things, hard things. The Corona Virus has thrown the world into a loop – making it hard to do anything! I am fortunate to work with a great firm who allowed me to work remotely so when the office “shut down”, work continued as normal for me and everyone else slid right in place working from home. At a time when so many are losing their job (or being furloughed), I am so very thankful, we can work this way – away from the public! I am trying very hard to keep mom healthy as well as my temporary roommate. I worry myself sick over Chelsea working in a hospital but she is very self aware and is taking all precautions she can while still taking care of her patients (and us!). I worry about the stress this is causing her and her gentle loving heart as she sees things we dont. I know we will get through this but I wonder how high the cost will be – for us all.
I have been staying busy with work but have a little different mind set this year. I realized that years past while I worked “busy season” and Mark understood it, I lost so much. It was a brutal lesson I learned last year… BRUTAL. So I committed myself to not work as much and ensure that I am spending time with family regardless of the workload. I think I have found a happy medium and COVID-19 has slowed things down a bit since they extended everything. Working from home helps, too, because I can work at 3 am if I cant sleep or if I need to do so. There is not an hour long drive to get to work or home again. How I wish I would have had this opportunity last year (or years prior) but I didnt (or I didnt push for it) and I lost.
I told you this would be rambling, kind of all over the board but, I am going to be back soon so my thoughts will be more focused.
Maybe those “dodo birds” came to FL with me?