Tuesday, February 13, 2007

So the bad days do come.

First - thank you all for making us feel needed.

Yesterday I was having a bad day. I was up very late Sunday night. I've actually been up very late most nights since Mark died. During our entire marriage, if Mark was ever out of town, I stayed up super late. It's not because I'm scared. I can't explain why, but even when I try to go to bed early I still manage to stay up late. So anyway, I was sad yesterday. The reminders of Mark didn't seem any different than they have been every other day, but today they made me cry and miss him like crazy.

Poor Lucas has not been doing great this last week. All four molars are coming through, his ears are bothering him, he doesn't feel like eating and then top it off with bad diarrhea making his bottom raw. Late last night (11:00 pm) Lucas was struggling with sleep, so I brought him into bed with me. I was going to watch programs on my TiVo, but instead I saw the tragedy from earlier in the evening at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City. I sat and watched all I could until about 1:00 am. I put Lucas to bed and he still had a very restless night until about 6:00 am. Needless to say, not much sleep again. I was feeling so sad this morning as I heard the final counts of deaths during the shooting. I feel so much pain for all the victims families, only because I know the pain of loss. However, I kept feeling so bad for them, because they had no warning - no chance to say goodbye. We were so lucky to be able to talk about what was coming and make sure all was well in our relationships. I tried to nap, but kept having nightmares. This was a BAD day - more crying more sadness. This is what I thought it would be like everyday. I'm so grateful it's not. If I can get some sleep tonight, maybe tomorrow will be a little brighter.

I think I've said it before, but when there were bad days in the past it always seemed like many people were prompted to reach out that particular day. It happened again today. We received three roses from an anonymous giver. Thank you, whoever you are. Four other people came by with sweet tokens of love to our family. Two acts of service were done for us. Three people called to check on us today. I know our Heavenly Father is aware of us. Look at all the love he sent our way. I'm so grateful, and I hope you know I love you all back just as much.

I will pray for the comforter to be with the families of the victims of last night's tragedy.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

How are we?

I know that's the question on everyone's mind. What I don't know is if people still really want to read about our life. I feel a little funny even putting a post on here, because I can't imagine anyone looking here anymore.

I wrote the above three sentences a few days ago, and then saved the draft. Honestly I just couldn't post, because I didn't think people would want to read about just me and the kids. I just read in the guestbook someone (T. Nelson - I'm sorry if I should know you, please tell me who you are) requesting just that - information about how we are doing.

The immediate week following Mark's death was a blur. I know that we had family here and we spent a lot of time together. There were many tears and exhaustion. The day before the viewing I had gone to see Mark's body (dressed and in the casket). I went to do his hair the way he did it. It was the last act of service I could do physically for my love. I knew without a doubt, however, that this was just his earthly physical vessel. Mark's spirit - the complete soul behind the person he is - is happy and free from his physical pain and failing body.

All of the kids are doing remarkably well. I'm not sure if they are holding things inside, but we are really rallying around each other. Lucas is great medicine for grief. He is such a blessing to our family. Watching him explore and grow is a wonderful diversion for us all. Patrick has been so helpful and sweet - everything that would make a dad proud if his son had to step up. Chase is keeping busy and really focusing on school. I also believe Chase has such a complete understanding of the atonement and eternal life, that he is going to be fine. Tess - well she's 8, and 8 year olds have a lot of "me" thoughts, so all her worries (toys, food, entertainment) keep her busy. I don't think she can fully comprehend what has happened. Because I know everyone handles grief differently, I worry about any of them holding stuff inside, but I can't force them to cry and be sad either. All four of them are strong individuals, and I believe that Heavenly Father knew they could handle this trial. We will continue in faith, study and prayer and pulling together as a family.

I've had the feelings of regret (did I do everything I could have, so that he knew I loved him?) I've had the feelings of guilt (I'm not crying all the time, does that mean I don't love him?) Last week as I was preparing to go to the temple, I prayed that I could feel peace that I did do everything I could and an assurance that Mark knows that I love him so completely. My prayer was answered. It came to me that "why should I be crying and miserable?" "We have an eternal marriage, and a complete faith and belief in the atonement, therefore, I can be happy in the knowledge that we will be together again." How can I be sad knowing these things?

I know everyone deals with grief differently. I can't even begin to know what any other person who suffers a loss might feel. I have been advised that our family has been grieving since October of 2005 when Mark was diagnosed, so it's not that strange for us to be done grieving in some ways. There's not a day that passes that I don't get a lump in my throat, but I am living and I'm taking care of my children and trying to put organization and normal back in all of our lives. We talk about Mark. Well it's mainly just me bringing him up, but I want his memory to be here always. I think it's healthy to remember him and talk about him. Which brings me to a huge THANK YOU to all who have written and sent in memories of Mark. I love every one of them and I am putting a book together so the kids and I can always read them.

I also started a topic specific, daily scrapbook for the entire month of February. I take a daily picture of something I will miss about Mark. Then I journal about the blessing that came in my life because of this. A small example would be that I came across "Mark's Cell" on my phone's phone book listing. I took a picture of that screen on the phone. The journaling is about "how grateful I am that Mark and I always talked. We would call each other every day (more me than him.) The wonderful thing about it was that he never once made me feel like I was bothering him. I will miss our talks on the phone." It's been very therapeutic for me. I've fallen in love all over again with the Mark that I remember marrying. Some will understand more than others when I say that the last few months were hard. The medications had so many side effects and then the stupid cancer itself wreaks such havoc on the body, that the person is not themself. I remember praying for an understanding of why does the person have to become so different that you forget why you loved them. At the time my answer seemed to be "because then it makes it easier when they actually leave." I know the meds and the disease change the person. It is a very difficult and trying thing to go through. I am so grateful that all of that seems like a distant dream now. All of the memories you've shared, this scrapbook I'm doing and watching Mark's memorial video (THANKS RICK) is flooding my mind with all the wonderful things Mark was and is. I am so lucky to have been married to such a wonderful man.

Please know how grateful we are to all of you. We have received so much love and support. It is another sweet mercy that God sees fit to send us. I am working on personal thanks to each, but it will take some time. Please be patient with me, but know that not a day goes by that I don't thank my Heavenly Father for all of you and what you have done for us. I'm sorry if I bored you. I'm sorry that Mark couldn't edit for me. He always made everything right.

All our love, thanks and prayers to each one of you,
Marianne, Patrick, Chase, Tessa & Lucas