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Three years.

January 18, 2016 Leave a comment

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That’s how long it’s been since Mark passed away. 1095 days.

So much has happened since that night. Nothing ever prepares you for the death of a spouse. Nothing. Even though he was sick for years before he passed, it didn’t make it easier.

And now it’s three years later. So much has changed. I look around my home, and realize that time has kept marching on. Gone is the color brown. A lighter and brighter me has emerged.

Gone is the deep pain, but what remains are the memories of the 13 years we were together. Some bad. Some indifferent. But mostly good. I used to remember and it cut like a knife. Now I remember and I smile. Yes, sometimes I still cry, but it’s not like it was the first year after Mark passed.

I didn’t think life could or would go on. But it did, and I can honestly say I’m happy. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but on a personal level, life is good.

I don’t think this date will EVER be a happy one for me, but it will hopefully never be one of doom and gloom.

I made it through these three years because of the love of friends and family, but also because I found strength that I never knew that I possessed. I always considered myself a weeny. I never thought I was equipped to handle the cruel world we live in. Mark used to tell me that I was too sensitive and emotional. He said I needed to be tougher and more assertive. That’s never worked for me. It’s not who I am. I haven’t changed in three years. I still possess my “weeny tendencies” but who I am is what made me the person I am today.

I have learned a lot since Mark passed away. I now know that I can function quite well on my own. I admit that I prefer not to because I love having someone around to share life with on a daily basis. I learned that life is short, and money is not everything. It definitely makes life easier when you have it. But it won’t buy you love. That comes from within.

A lot of the things that I learned are deep and very personal. Even I won’t share them with anyone, but the important thing is that I learned.

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As I start my fourth year without Mark, I am grateful for our years together. I think about him often. I miss him more than I admit. And a part of me will always love him.

Having said that, I know that he’d be proud of me, and I know that he’s glad that I listened to him. He always told me if he should pass away, I should find love and happiness again. I can be stubborn, but I took his advice and honored his wishes.

I know he’s looking down on me, and I know he approves.

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The circle of life… a Space Oddity!

January 11, 2016 Leave a comment

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Today I woke up to several news alerts on my cell phone telling me that David Bowie had passed away after an 18-month battle with cancer.

I was stunned, because like so many people, I had no idea that he was even ill. He was 69 years old, and in this day and age that’s not old at all.

I liked his music. He had a very eclectic sound, he was ahead of his time, and he was paired with some of the greatest singers of all time. His duets with Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, and Bing Crosby were just some of the classics.

He was married for many years to his wife, supermodel Iman. They shared a very touching love story that I only read about today.

The legend of David Bowie will live on forever through his music. While I didn’t know all that much about his life, I still find it sad that he passed away. It’s just another harsh reality that no matter how much money you have or who you know or how famous you are, when your time is up, it’s up.

The circle of life means many things to many people. To me, it’s birth, it’s living, and it’s dying. No one is immune. You can’t beg or plead for more time. All you can do is live each day to its fullest because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Rest in peace David Bowie. You were a man, a genius, a father, a husband, a legend.

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To Ziggy Stardust, in your memory, I say,”Let’s Dance!” I think it’s what you would have wanted!

My Friend’s Husband passed away at age 42.

December 28, 2015 Leave a comment

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Ack! Had I not decided to write tonight, I never would have noticed that this post has been in draft mode for over 6 months. I remember this being a very hard post to write. It ripped up my heart in ways I didn’t think was possible. I should have pushed through the pain and written this back in July. However I’m only human…

Actually this post is almost as hard as writing the one right after Mark passed away almost 3 years ago. I never met my friend’s husband but I knew a lot about him. You should also know that I have never met my friend either. We have been friends for about 4-5 years now (that’s my best guess), and we were brought together by the sad fact that both of our husbands were dialysis patients. The understanding of what life was like as the spouse of a (stubborn) dialysis patient was the basis for our friendship. Over the years, we have followed each other’s lives through email and Facebook.

When she messaged me in July to tell me that her husband had passed away, it felt like I was stabbed in the chest with a knife. I was so sad for her because I know just how difficult this is going to be for her and her young daughter.

She wrote to me during the week, and she told me that she was in a fog and she had conflicting emotions. Boy can I understand that in a way that many people experiencing the death of a love one do not understand.

I won’t attempt to guess at what she is feeling, but if it is anything like what I went through after Mark died, it’s a whole plethora of emotions that just don’t stop. My mind was a complete jumble of thoughts, fears, hopes, sadness, and sheer terror. Some of the things I felt during the first week were startling to me.

  • I felt numb. What the hell had just happened?
  • I felt sadness. I had just lost my husband who I had been with for nearly 14 years.
  • I felt anger. Why didn’t he just listen to the doctors and do what he needed to do?
  • I felt alone. When was the last time I was really alone? (other than when he was in the hospital).
  • I felt fear. What was I supposed to do without him?
  • I felt confusion. What are you supposed to do after your husband dies?
  • I felt overwhelmed. Details. Arrangements. Notifications. Phone calls.
  • I felt tired. Lack of sleep. Incessantly repeating the story over and over.

And those were just the things I felt in the first few days.

As the days became weeks, I felt a ton of new and rather startling feelings. I began to feel some relief mixed in with the sadness. As bad as it sounds, it was relieving to not have to be surrounded with doctor appointments, dialysis fatigue, short tempers due to illness, and the never ending fear of “what if”.

After the sadness, the guilt was the worst part of it all. A lot of the things I was thinking made me feel like I was a horrible person. At times, I was glad that I didn’t have to deal with the daily routine of being a caregiver. I didn’t miss being snapped at or being made to feel like I was not being supportive. I liked the freedom from the dialysis routine.

At the same time, I felt like I had failed Mark. I wondered if I could have been more understanding of his fatigue, if I could have been more supportive when he was not feeling well, if I could have tried to control my anger better when he snapped at me, and if I could have been less selfish. I’m 100% sure my friend has felt this very same things.

The hardest part is the “Year of Firsts” which is the first time you must “celebrate” a holiday without your loved one: the first Christmas, the first New Years, the first Valentine’s day, the first birthdays (his and mine), the first Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day, the first Halloween, the first Thanksgiving…

As I learned there are 365 firsts, and each one is just as painful as the previous. She must go through them and deal with them in her own way. There are no easy answers or quick solutions. It is a painful and very sad process.

My heart hurts for my friend as I know what she must go through. All I can do is be there for her to listen to her. I can’t make it easier for her nor can I take away her pain. The grieving process is a personal one, and each person must deal with it in his or her own way.

May she someday find peace and understanding. I hope that her sorrows are short but her memories last a lifetime.

Jealousy or Judgment?

February 5, 2015 5 comments

Are you judging me for the choices that I have made in my life simply because you do not agree with them? Or are you jealous because I managed to pick up the shattered pieces of my life and move forward?

cards-on-tableWe were both dealt some bad cards. I threw all my cards on the table, and I got myself a new hand. This was MY choice. You were also dealt a new hand of cards, but you chose a different path in life. This was your choice. Neither choice is wrong or right. It was simply the choices we made that fit our own particular needs and desires.

You have chosen to remain single. I have chosen to find a partner. These are the choices that we have made in our life. Personally, I would not want to spend years and years alone. It’s not my personality. I like being in a relationship, and I love the whole concept of marriage. Apparently you prefer to be single and have chosen to remain alone. This does not make you a bad person. But in the same token, my choice to be in a relationship with someone does not make me a bad person.

I have no idea (not even an inkling) why you dislike my boyfriend so much or why you express such sarcasm and bad feelings toward him. He’s never done anything to you. In fact you barely know him. Even if there were something about him that you do/did not like, you do not have to spend time with him and you rarely see him. If nothing else, I would think you would accept him as a part of my life simply for the fact that he makes me happy.

TomorrowisntguaranteedMaybe that’s it. Maybe you are unhappy with your own life, and you dislike seeing me happy and content. Maybe you thought that when Mark passed away, I would crumble and walk around with a “poor, poor pitiful me” attitude. That’s not me, and if you thought that it was, then you do not know me at all. Mark’s death made me realize that life is short, and no one is guaranteed tomorrow.

Maybe you think that I started dating too soon after Mark passed away. In fact I know that you thought I did. It’s okay. You were not the only one who felt that way. Several of my friends felt that I was setting myself up for hurt.  Yet I would have figured after a year and a half of sharing my life with my boyfriend, you would realize and understand that what I have developed with George is something serious. It’s not a rebound relationship. It’s not a fling nor was it ever a one night stand.

I don’t need to explain my time line for dating. Everyone deals with grief in his/her own way. I dealt with mine. That is not to say that I don’t miss Mark. I will be honest, there is not a day that goes by that I do not think of him in some capacity. However, he is gone. He’s been gone for over two years, and he is not coming back.

After this last incident with you, I was told I was overreacting to the situation. I beg to differ. Had this been an isolated incident, I could concur that my reaction was over the top. However I have been subjected to snide comments from you for well over a year and a half. I am a very peaceful person. I rarely lose my temper. But when I am subjected to repeated comments about things that are no one’s business but MINE, I can snap and lash out. It’s not pretty, is it?

A friend told me that I should take you aside and tell you that your comments about me and my relationship are hurtful. At first I thought this might be a good idea. But then I realized that your comments don’t hurt me. I haven’t done anything wrong, nor has my boyfriend. I have no regrets about how I have lived my life since Mark passed away.

finishlineInstead I realized that your comments PISS ME off. Your inconsiderate comments are not hurting me, but they are hurting our friendship. After writing this (which is my way of venting and putting things into perspective), I am putting this incident behind me. I have brushed this off my back once again. I have a feeling it won’t be the last time that will do this. But there WILL be a last time. There will be a time when I am just too tired to care any more. And I will be done. Finish line reached.

We always think we have more time….

June 24, 2013 Leave a comment

… and then it runs out.

You never expect it, even though deep down inside you know you only get so much time. So much time with people. So much time to complete tasks. So much time to do all those things you want to do.

Yet, we think we have more time, so we put off spending time with the people we care about. We don’t always complete tasks as quickly as we should, if we complete them at all. We push the things we want to do into the future citing the fact that we have plenty of time to do them.

Today my friend N. and I were unpacking more boxes. We came across a package of things that I had saved from my honeymoon to Bermuda. It contained receipts, notes, trip guides, newsletters, luggage tags, pictures, souvenirs, excursion information, napkins, paper coasters, and all sorts of cute and sentimental stuff. My goal had been to take all of that stuff and make a scrapbook out of it all.

I don’t know what happened, but I never got around to doing it. Life obviously got in the way, and the scrapbook lost its priority. It wound up in a box that sat in a closet for almost two years, and now that I got around to opening it, there was no point to creating a scrapbook. What would be the point? Mark is gone. Who would I ever show it to? My new boyfriend? How many times would I actually look at it? Somehow I think nil to none because it would not have the same meaning that it would have had if Mark were still alive.

In that box of memories, there was a card from the cruise ship saying that our good friends P & G sent us a bottle of wine to wish us a happy honeymoon. They called me right before I moved, and tonight I finally called them back. I really love this couple dearly. Mark used to work with P. before she retired. They are warm and generous people. G. was the real estate agent who helped us purchase our house in Keyport. We would often have them over for dinner, or we would go to their home in Brick, NJ. Several times they took us out on their boat.

I loved this couple the very first time that I met them, and I think telling them that Mark passed away was almost as difficult as telling Mark’s parents. I remember P. answered the phone and when I told her, I can remember her screaming to her husband saying, “Mark Clark died! Oh my God! Mark Clark died!”. It was pretty difficult to hear.

P. has called to check on me several times since Mark died, and she has, on numerous occasions, said that she and G. want to keep in touch with me. Today P. talked about having me (and Belle) over, and while I would absolutely love to see them and spend time with them, it will be very bittersweet since I have never seen them without Mark being there.

When I see them, it will be another “first” that I must do in order to move forward in my life. Some of the firsts have been more difficult than others. For example, June 21st marked the ten-year anniversary of my marriage to Mark. It was an uneventful day. No tears were shed. No sad memories. No real happy ones either. Just another day. I am not sure how I feel about that. I would have thought I would have felt more. I would have thought that I would have cried over the loss. No tears. In reality, I spent the night with G.  and gave my “old life” very little thought.

In a way, I suppose that means that I am nearing the end of the healing process, but at the same time, am I really over my “old life” too soon?

To back track a little, I threw away all those honeymoon mementos. There was no real point to keeping them. And that scrapbook would never get made because I always thought I would have more time.

What is Happy?

June 16, 2013 1 comment

Does anyone have any idea what it means to be happy?

  1. hap·py

    /ˈhapē/

    Adjective
    1. Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
    2. Having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation).
    Synonyms
    glad – fortunate – joyful – lucky – merry – cheerful

According to Google, happy is a feeling or showing of pleasure or contentment. It is having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with a person, arrangement, or situation.

Yep, that’s me. I finally feel like I have crawled out of the fog that WAS my life, and for the first time in many years, I am feeling good. It’s almost scary because I can’t remember EVER feeling so free before.

I spent a lot of years always having to be accountable to a husband (first Bob and then Mark). I spent a few months shy of 30 years with just those two men. While I really did love being married, it is a lot of work to keep a relationship fresh and moving forward. It takes commitment, and it takes stamina. I had both of those, but not sure I’d do it again. It would have to take a VERY, VERY special man to make me want to do that level of commitment again.

Now I have freedom. I like being able to go to bed when I feel like it and not having someone complain because the light is on. I don’t have to hear the phrase, “Go to bed because tomorrow is a work day”. I knew it was a work day, but I wasn’t ready for bed, and now I no longer have to follow those rules.

I can go out any night that I choose. I can come home at any time I want. I can go out with anyone I feel like going out with. It’s my life!! All mine! I’m only responsible for me. I like this new-found freedom.

I think I am going to like living on my own. I’ve never done this before. I thought it would be lonely, but it is not. Sure, it is nice when someone is here, but my quiet and alone time is SO wonderful! I like being in my bed and not worrying about snoring and sleep apnea masks. I like being able to sleep on which ever side of the bed I decide I want to be on. I like being able to steal all the blankets!

I like only having to deal with my own personal mess. I have SO much less laundry these days. It’s only me. I can only wear so many clothes!!  I like the fact that I can eat or drink anything I want, and I can eat or drink it when I choose. I had two beers today, and I sat outside just watching the cars go by. Mark would have chastised me for drinking in the middle of the day, and I would have heard the word “lushy” come out of his mouth. But today, no one was here to give me attitude. And I liked it!!

Mark used to always insist that I eat three meals a day. He felt that “food is love”. Well, that was all well and good until I started to gain weight from all the bacon laden meals that he made. It was really difficult to follow any kind of diet while I was with him. He would bring home McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken or Taco Bell. Or he would buy cake and cookies for snacks. It became very easy to gain weight while with him. He loved his food, and he loved to cook it even more.

Being on my own is conducive to dieting. I don’t really cook, so most of my meals are salads or some vegetables. Or sometimes I will pick up something healthy or go out to eat with people. I have stopped buying sweets including ice cream. That was getting dangerous. I’d eat the whole tub of ice cream in two nights! Very very bad!! I’m feeling better, and I am losing weight.

I used to call it the Widow Diet. Then I realized that it’s the same diet that I followed when I was getting a divorce. Now I realize that it is not the Widow or the Divorce diet, but the “Happiness Diet”. It’s the diet that follows after I find my freedom. It took me nearly 30 years to realize it!!

So why do I feel so free after my marriages ends? And why do I seem to like being free? Did I really not like marriage? I thought I did. I thought it agreed with me and I thought that I loved being someone’s wife.  Now I am not so sure.

I do know this, I may be dating now, and it’s quite possible that I will end up in a long-term relationship at some point, but it is going to take a VERY SPECIAL (think one step below perfect) man to make me want to say “I do” ever again.  Maybe the third time is the charm? Then again, maybe not. Right now, at this particular point in time, marriage does not seem like a very viable option to me. I don’t want to do the “for better or worse”. I don’t want to do “in sickness and health”. I don’t want to do “in richer or poorer”. Been there, done that. I want all the benefits of a long-term relationship without that piece of paper that forces me to stay until the end, with the only real option of getting out being if he cheats on me. I can have that simply by being in a relationship, but I don’t have to do the hard parts. I know it sounds a little bit selfish when I say that, but right now I feel I have earned the right to be selfish.

That’s not to say that I am not going to treat someone I am with in a kind and decent manner. When G. came over last night after work (think 12:15 am), I did heat him up some pizza and get him something to drink. I certainly didn’t just let him starve. My kind and nurturing side DOES come out, but I am not sure I want to take care of another man again. Part of me enjoys caring and taking care of someone, but honestly, I am not ready to that yet on a full-time basis. I want to take care of me and enjoy my life before I get into the routine of taking care of someone else’s needs!

This morning I was going to cook G. a breakfast of eggs, bacon and home fries, but he wanted to have the leftover pizza. I had no problem with that, and it was definitely easier than cooking him a meal!! LOL

I think I have definitely changed in many ways. I’m not the scared little girl that I used to be. In the past, I needed to be in a relationship. I liked the security and the comfort of having someone always there for me. But I’ve been living on my own for the past five months, and I’ve realized that I don’t need a man to complete me. I don’t NEED to be in a relationship. I may WANT to be in one, but that is a whole different thing.

I’m enjoying spending time with G. It’s nice to have someone with whom I can spend time. I actually went to the movies this past week. I hadn’t done that since my friend N. and I went to see Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part II. That was back in November. Before that, I saw a movie with Mark in June of 2012. I love going to the movies, and I hate that I never got to go!! I also liked going out to get something to eat which I didn’t do all that often either. Did I ever mention that Mark preferred to get take out or cook at home?

Dating gives me the best of both worlds – single life and dating life. Both are good in moderation. I get to see G. several times a week, but I also get to have my “single time”, which is actually much better than I thought it would be.

I enjoy having someone take me out places. I enjoy spending time with someone. I enjoy the physical intimacy which includes the snuggling, the hand holding, and the kissing. I enjoy waking up in G’s arms, but I also enjoy sleeping in my bed alone (with Belle). I enjoy having a man hold the door for me, and I enjoy having someone pay for me. That’s not to say that I ALWAYS make him pay. I try to take him out as well, because it’s not fair (or right) to make him always pick up the tab.

I have had a much better social life in the past six months than I had in the past five years. That’s really scary to me!! I will say one thing, Bob was much more social than Mark was. Mark didn’t like to go out much. He was a home body. I like being at home too, but not 365 nights a year! He also had a problem with me seeing my male friends. It didn’t matter if they were married or single, gay or straight. He did not believe that men and women could simply be platonic friends. He  obviously didn’t understand my friendships — especially the one I had with my friend M. who I have known for close to 30 years. We’ve always been platonic friends, and we never ever crossed the “invisible line”.

Speaking of M., I am going out to lunch with him tomorrow. We used to get together all the time. I’ve had some of the best times with him. We used to get lunch and watch the trains. We’d walk around New Brunswick just talking about anything and everything. We’d hang out and cook together. We used to make HOT and spicy chicken. Or we’d grill stuff on the barbecue. After I met Mark, we didn’t see each other much at all. In fact, before seeing M. at Mark’s Memorial Service, it had been a long time since we’d spent any quality time together. I know that life often gets in the way, but geez, for years at a time?

I will never ever again be with a man who tries to restrict who I see, where I go, and who I am friends with. I was happy that G. was willing to meet my friends, my co-workers/bosses, and my brother. I like that he is willing to be social and outgoing. I’d hate to date someone who was a total home body. It worked for a while, but not any more. I want to get out there and do things, go places, see things, and start working on all the “Bucket List” items!

I did tell G. that I was going out for lunch today, but I didn’t mention who I was going with, and unlike Mark, he didn’t ask! I’m not sure how I would have felt if he did. I don’t think we are “there” yet. I do have a feeling that he wouldn’t have a problem with it. He seems really laid back about most things. I figure if it comes up in conversation I will give details, but if not, it can wait for a better time.

I realize that I am all over the place with this post. Maybe I am having an ADD day. Who knows? Maybe I’m just happy and I can’t write/type fast enough to keep up with all the thoughts that my brain is producing. That’s it!! I am going to chalk it up to being happy. I am happy with my life. I am happy with how things have been lately.

I never thought I could be happy. I never realized, until recently, how unhappy and apathetic I really was. Now I want to experience life. I want to be among the living. I want to have fun. I want to live and learn and grow and laugh! I finally have that chance, and I am going to capitalize on it in any manner that I can!!

I’m going to take my ADD self and get ready to go out for lunch with M.! I have been lounging around with G. all morning in my PJs, and now it is time to get my butt in gear and head out to enjoy the day!!! Ciao for now!

My New Life Begins Today…

May 22, 2013 Leave a comment

I met with my new landlord today to exchange the keys for the rent and pet security deposit checks. I took Belle for her evening walk, listening to my iPod (very loudly I might add) and just enjoyed the sun and sounds … and some exercise.

tears2When I got in the house, I sat on the side of the bed, and it suddenly hit me. A rush of emotion just overtook me, and the tears just flowed and flowed. I was acutely aware that I haven’t cried like this is a while now. So much has happened in the past 4 1/2 months. I never could have imagined what a turn my life would take this year.

I never in a million years expected Mark to die. Never. Well, maybe some day, but not on January 17th. I remember sitting in the hospital with the Social Worker, and not having a clue what I should do. The shock was numbing. Thank God I had enough sense to make phone calls, and thankfully I called the right people. Of course I called my brother Jeff. Who else would I call when I am in trouble? He is the one person that I have ALWAYS been able to count on whenever I got into a jam and needed help. There are no words for how wonderful he is, and how lucky I am to have him for a brother.

I also called two very special people who both came to the hospital to be with me. They are total opposites on the “crisis spectrum”, but the balance was exactly what I needed. I am forever grateful to both of them.

The numbing days that followed after Mark’s passing were hell. If Jeff had not helped with the arrangements, I doubt I would have been able to do it alone. When he went back home, he left me with a detailed list of things I needed to do and when to do them. I did manage to push through and get the things done, although very slowly. It was painful, and each day was a living hell. I cried all the time. I wondered if the tears were ever going to stop. I didn’t know if I would actually be able to go on, and I doubted my own sanity.

I can remember the feeling of not being able to get out of bed. What was the point? I didn’t have one. I stayed in bed to the point that I could no longer be on time for where ever it was that I had to go. I felt like I lost my purpose. Life really didn’t have any meaning. Then my friend and co-worker N. had car trouble, and she was forced to take the train to work. I offered to pick her up at the train station to save her the cab fare (or having to walk in the cold). Part of the offer was to help her out, but it was also to give me the motivation and incentive to get my pathetic ass out of bed. It worked out for both of us.

When I couldn’t go to the grocery store because the sadness and pure panic would set in, N. would go with me in the morning. While it might not have been a big deal for her, it was for me. It was because of her that I found the courage to go alone. I still don’t enjoy it, but at least it’s not a horrifically painful event.

“When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
~  Alexander Graham Bell

Slowly things got done and life was tolerable. However, I found that the doors that were once my life with Mark were closing. I hesitated to close them all the way because I was afraid of the future. Even more I was afraid to let go of the life Mark and I had together. Yet I found that in closing them, new ones were opening for me, and those doors held endless possibilities and hopes for the future.

In the months since Mark passed away, I have done things I never thought would or could be possible for me. I have stepped out of my comfort zone on SO many different occasions. As much as I hate to make phone calls, I really didn’t have much choice. I couldn’t see myself having my friends make all the phone calls for me (although I have no doubt that someone would have done it for me if I asked). I have paid off all of my debt (except for my car). With Mark’s love of shopping and (over)spending and helping his family, we were never able to be completely financially free, and I didn’t like living under a cloud of debt.

I’ve reconnected with old friends and co-workers. I’ve taken a painting class, finding a new outlet for my creative side. I’ve taken a glass blowing class and made a beautiful glass egg. I’ve learned that I actually do have “4:00 AM friends” (the friends you can call at 4 AM because life hurts) and I had them ALL ALONG!!

friendsI have had numerous friends help me with packing and sorting. I’ve had many friends just call to check on me to make sure I am doing okay. I couldn’t have done it without my countless, wonderful, giving, loving friends! You all know who you are and I love each of you dearly. I have no words for the love and support you’ve all shown me! I am forever humbly grateful!

Now have a new place to call home. I knew I couldn’t stay here because it is WAY too huge and too expensive for me to manage alone. I am so proud of myself. I knew I needed to find a new home, and I did what I needed to do to make it happen. I did have some help from my wonderful friends who went with me to look at the places I found.

I move into my new home in 10 days. I have friends who will help me. Jeff made all the arrangements for the movers and he has completely removed that pressure from me.

I still miss Mark. I will always miss him. I will always love him. I am also eternally grateful for the years we had together. While it was not perfect, it was ours. It was special to me, and I will cherish our life together forever. The memories will live inside of me forever, but that life is over now.

Mark is looking down at me, and I have absolutely NO DOUBT at all that he is so proud of me for all that I have done and handled in the months since he has been gone. I can honestly say that in spite of my own personal stumbles and misgivings, I have handled myself with extreme grace and dignity. I have pushed through the excruciating pain, and I’ve come out stronger and better. I’m not completely “there” yet, but I am well on my way.

I can once again see happiness in my future. I never thought that would happen. I never thought I’d ever feel “better”. Months of misery has taken its toll, but I know that life does go on.

I’m ready to put the hurt, pain, anger, denial, sadness, and guilt behind me. I want to move forward and find out just how wonderful my life can be. I will face roadblocks, but after losing my wonderful husband, I think I can handle it.

Mark was right. I am stronger than I ever gave myself credit for, and I can achieve just about anything if I put my mind to it. I never realized that. I never had to because he did it all for me, and I didn’t have to step out to face my fears.

bucketlistNow I realize that I want to enjoy all that life has to offer. I want to have some fun. I want to cross things off my Bucket List (http://pinterest.com/bonsaisms/bon-s-bucket-list/) and feel that wonderful sense of accomplishment. I want to open my heart and let a special person in. I want go places and do things that make me feel alive. I want to experience what it’s like to feel free.

I’m ready. I didn’t realize it until today. And now I know I won’t accept anything less than what I want and deserve!!