Sunday, September 27, 2015

Six Weeks

Mark at Finkle Shore, 2006
Mark at Finkle Shore, 2006
Six weeks.

Almost unbelievable that it’s been six weeks since Mark died.

At times, I feel as though it just happened.  At other times, it feels like he has been gone for years.

A lot has happened over these past six weeks.  Of course, I had to deal with the bureaucracy that one has to deal with after someone dies.  On top of that, I’ve been working on getting our home ready to sell.  Some days, I get up in the morning and feel pretty good and am actually able to get things done.  Of course, there are days where it takes everything I have to get up and feed the dogs.

On the day Mark died, I made myself promise to do the following things, every day, regardless of how I was feeling:

1.    Get out of bed
2.    Have a shower
3.    Get dressed
4.    Keep the dogs on their routine

I can say that except for a couple of days when I was dealing with some plumbing issues in the house and I couldn't shower (all sorted now!), I have kept my promises.  It may seem like these are simple things that a person should be able to accomplish everyday but when the weight of grief is pressing down upon you, it would be pretty easy to just pull the covers up over your head so you can stay in bed and cry.

Until Mark died, I never knew about the anxiety that can accompany grief.  It’s not something I’d really experienced before beyond the kind of anxiety you feel when you’re having a job interview or something.  During those first few weeks after Mark died, I suffered from anxiety almost constantly.  The anxiety affected my ability to sleep or eat properly.  I’d sometimes finding myself hyperventilating and feeling panicked while participating in ordinary activities.   Fortunately, the anxiety is subsiding and I seem to experience it more on the weekends than I do through the week. My ability to concentrate seems to be improving too. 

Tomorrow, I’m going back to work.  I was on vacation the first two weeks of August and, on the last day of my scheduled vacation, Mark died.  My doctor (I’ve been seeing her regularly over the past six weeks) has suggested that I go back part-time for the next two weeks with the hopes that I’ll be able to return to work full-time after Thanksgiving.   With any luck, when I’m back at work, my concentration will be okay and my anxiety will keep away.

There are a lot of assholes in the world.  Some days, it feels like we are only seeing the absolute worst in people.  Over the past few years, since Mark was first diagnosed with cancer, I tried to see the other side of things when dealing with someone who may not be very nice.  I’d say to Mark that to look at him, he appeared to be very healthy.  No one would ever guess that had cancer cells fighting to set up camp inside of him.  I’d remind him that just as no one could ever guess what was going on with him, we have no idea of what other folks are walking around with either.  People are, by nature, kind.  It’s easy to not see this as we rush through our busy lives.  I’ve had an opportunity to see things move at a slower pace and have experienced real kindness and been overwhelmed by just how good people can be. I don’t think that any good is going to come from suddenly losing Mark like I did but I have seen the absolute best in people since he died.  Since he died, I’ve been on the receiving end of more compassion and kindness than I could have ever imagined.  My family, in particular my parents, and my friends have been absolutely incredible and I don’t know how I would ever survived these first six weeks without them.

I have no idea what the next six weeks are going to bring.  I plan to face them the same way I did the first six weeks, moment by moment, day by day.



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Thank you all

The following is a message I sent out to our friends and family this morning.

Hello everyone,

I must apologize for not sending this out sooner but I have been feeling very overwhelmed the past couple of days and it's taken me some time to process everything.  I wanted to thank each and every one of you who were able to join us on Saturday (either in person or in spirit) to celebrate the life of our beloved Chef Mark.

Mark would have been very touched (and probably a little bit embarrassed – although secretly he would have LOVED it) to see so many people gathered together, sharing stories, laughing at photos and remembering what a great guy he was.  A lovely friend of Mark’s sent me a note and said, “he had the strongest spirit and presence of anyone I've ever known. Simply a complex, fascinating, charismatic human being unlike anyone I've ever known.”  I think that describes him perfectly.

You will never know how much your support has meant to me since Mark died.  I’m continuing to take things moment by moment, day by day and I’m so grateful for all of you.  I’m so very lucky to have you in my life.

Much love to you all, Peggy xo