A Moment in My Life – Tuesday, October 13, 2020
I still see myself stoop over a cane hobbling along next to Mark as we take our morning walks through the park when we’re in our eighties. That’s a dream instead of a goal now, but it is what it is. It’s such a lovely dream, though, wouldn’t you agree? That’s only one of many visions I continue to have in my mind’s eye. Some memories. Some dreams. Some broken goals. Some regrets of things we won’t get to do together.
I never had a bucket list. If I did, one thing on there would have been taking an extended overnight stay at one of our favorite haunts like Bodega Bay Lodge, Valencia Hotel on Santana Row, or Mission Ranch in Carmel Valley. Every time we’ve been there, I always said that I wanted to go back there with Mark and stay longer, so I could write while he relaxes and enjoy his downtime. It wasn’t the right time to write then, and there were always other more interesting things to take in than to sit over my keyboard and tap away. I always write everywhere I go, but it wasn’t creative writing. I wanted to write about the setting where I was and the local feel. In passing, I told Mark that I wanted to return there to stay longer to savor the surroundings. We never did that. We never will now.
It is what it is. In hindsight, I realize that I did the right thing by enjoying my time with Mark wherever we were. That was way more important than being at the location buried in writing a story, which I can do at any time and from any place. In that way, I have no regrets except the unrealized dream.
Losing a loved one is never easy. They leave a mark on you that changes your life and the person you were far better than you could ever imagine. Thus, their absence rips your world apart in the same unimaginable way that rocks your foundation from under you. It guts the core from within you, leaving emptiness where sunshine, beauty, love, and smiles once were—now, all that’s there is a deep, dark, cold void where every day you attempt unsuccessfully to stitch the wound close. It’s a daily battle that only those who have walked the path knows so well. Every day is different. Some days, more stitches adhere. Other days, maybe not a single stitch. The important thing is to try. Every day brings new possibilities, healing, and closure.
It’s a constant battle, but so is life for all of us. I was surprised that someone was surprised that I wasn’t lying on my couch, crying my eyes out after Mark’s passing. Sure, I was sad and was mourning his loss, but what purpose would it serve to lie around crying my eyes out all day and all night? Would that change anything? No. All that would do was to keep me in the dark place and made others around me uncomfortable. There is only so much one can do to help someone who is hurting. A few people asked me if I was angry at God and told me that it was okay to be angry at God. They were surprised that I was never angry at God. I was disappointed but not angry. What can I do about any of this? Nothing. Being angry wouldn’t change a thing, but it would destroy me. That’s all that the negative thoughts and feelings would do—destroy me. They would keep me looking through negative eyes. That’s giving in to the devil. I’m not in control. God is. He gives, and He takes away. That’s the whole equation.
I had a friend who suggested that I move away because there are too many memories where Mark and I lived together. Why should I move? She said so that I could forget him. Why should I forget him? I don’t want to forget him. If anything, I am trying hard to remember everything about him and us!
Last year in Seattle, when I met up with my friend, Aud, she was surprised that I was so perky and happy. Since this was the first time we saw each other, she was going to offer her condolences when she greeted me, but she held back until I brought up Mark. Then, she shared why she held back. She didn’t want to dampen my mood by bringing up a sad memory. I’m glad that our date together wasn’t overshadowed by mourning. Instead, we were able to share our thoughts and feelings regarding my loss.
My friend, Lil, said she has been in and out of depression over her father’s passing a year and a half ago, which brought me to write about this today. She was his sole caregiver, so he was her life. Once he passed, her whole world fell apart. She was once the easiest going, most joyful person I know, so it’s hard to imagine her in depression. Losing a loved one can do that to you. Another friend, M, who was the first widow from my school days, is still in depression and mourning after her husband passed nine years ago.
M reached out to me after Mark passed because her shrink told her she needed to do that. Her shrink told her she needed to help me along my new path, but she was still in such bad shape that I ended up trying to console her and gave her suggestions of how I was coping. She shot down every suggestion I offered her by saying that’s what her shrink told her she needed to do. In the end, I realized that M had no intention of leaving her mourning. She wallows in self-pity. That explains why she’s still in mourning after nine years.
Every day we wake up and breathe again is a gift from God. Our life is not a dress rehearsal. It’s the real thing. Whatever we do with our life matters. There are consequences in our thoughts, decisions, and actions. For that reason, I chose to reframe the negativity and replace it with positivity. A mind is a powerful tool, and by doing this one thing has helped me make it through each day. Like, many of you know, the 17th of each month is Mark’s Angelversary day and is the most challenging day for me, so I honor his memory with his favorite foods. Mark was all for merriment and food. I know every month he’s smiling from above, anticipating what food I would honor him with that month. It brings smiles to all those who support me in this effort, and I know to Mark, too.
Tonight, I have a phone date with Lil, and I hope to lift her up and do what I can to help her walk through her new journey. All I can do is be her friend and pray that she’ll be okay. As for M, I can’t help her. Nobody can. She’s already made up her mind. I’m sad for her, but I’ve learned that it is—to each its own—how we handle a loss. Others can only do so much to support, comfort, and be there for us. For me, I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. I don’t want to be known as the wallower and have people run away from me when they see me. I chose to be the best person I can be and live my life the best that I could. I vowed to honor Mark’s memory with love and positivity because that honors who he was, then I will have no regrets when I see him in heaven.