Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

My prayer for you is that you have a Merry Christmas and a blessed and proporous 2010. My love to all of you and my prayers that you are happy and healthy. My prayers for the greiving and those in pain. Lord, hear my prayer. Touch those whose needs are both great and small. Thank you, God, for my friends and loved ones. Amen.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Saturday Night

I visited the blog today for the first time since I posted last. I was so touched to see the comments of all who visited. Jennifer, I did go to your blog and you have touched my heart. This week was so very hard for me. I feel enveloped in sadness. But, I understand the grieving process. I will be alright. It is okay to feel sad - I miss Mark so very much. But I also know it was the anniversary of the end of his pain and suffering and that is a good anniversary to remember. I love you all. Thanks you again and again for stopping by here. Please remember there is joy in this season, remembering God loves us all and gave us Christ as the first "Christmas present."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Three Days Until Thanksgiving

This will be a very difficult time of the year for me. But, I have beautiful memories of Thanksgiving last year. Mark's cousin, Steve, and Lea, his beautiful wife, have become closer to me over the last year and they will be sharing this holiday with me. Steve's infamous collard greens were the only thing Mark was able to eat last year, but he loved them so much, he had to try. Nancy will be joining us and we have a scrumptious menu planned. Avow Hospice still sends me the most wonderful mailings and they have sent one that they encourage me to use for the up-coming holiday season. I plan to. I'm going to share it with you - anyone who has a loved one missing from their holiday table can honor the memory so beautifully with this:

Have four candles ready to light and if you can, have family or friends participate with you.

Start by saying: " As we light these candles in honor of our loved one, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories and one for our love.

Light the first candle and say "The light of this first candle represents our grief. The pain of our loss is intense, bu it reminds us of the depth of our love for ________ (your loved one).

Light the second candle and say "The light of this candle represents our courage to confront our sorrow; to comfort each other; to change our lives.

Light the third candle and say "This third candle is a light to all of our memories of ______. To the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things we did, the caring and joy _______ gave us.

Light the fourth candle and say "This fourth candle is the light of our love. As we enter this holiday season, day by day, we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for ___________. We give thanks for the gift his/her life brought to each of us. We will always love him/her.

This was written by Nancy Moeller, LSW, CADC.

There is not a day that passes that I don't either aloud or silently talk with Mark, and tell him how very much I miss him. The tears are as close to falling today as they were nearly a year ago. I have been angry with myself for not doing more to show him how wonderfully special he was to me; I have been sad beyond words at my loneliness without him. But, I am so grateful I had the opportunity to share nearly eight years of marriage with such a loving, kind man. I keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward; but there is no distance between me and this man I love.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. May your table be bountiful and your hearts full of joy and love.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Evening

Hello there. Been a while but tonight seemed right. I'm staying busy and am actually going to take a vacation next week. I'm going to Michigan for six days to visit with my children. My great friend, "Aunt Nancy," has the doggie/kitty duty while I'm gone. She's such a good "mommie." She loves to groom them and spends a lot of time with them. She is able to understand the bond I have with them and them with me. Pepper, my German Shepard, has already figured out something is up. She will not leave my side. She watched me pack up a box of clothes (I FEDEX my stuff - don't trust the airline), and she has been cocking her head and looking intently at me ever since. What a keen intellect she has. My thoughts are with all of you . . .remember to NEVER GIVE UP! Mark's spirit watches over us all.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Lazy Saturday Afternoon

I haven't been here for quite a while. Not that much has changed or that life is keeping me any busier than before . . .I just haven't felt I had much to share. I have immersed myself in my work and in the ever-increasing task of taking care of four very needy dogs. It's not that I don't love them, but my goodness, they require a great deal of energy. All four of the poor darlings have been invaded by fleas and even doing everything I know how to do, I'm not winning the war yet. It means bathing somebody every day, sweeping even more than usual, and making special dietary changes in an effort to combat the darned little vermin. Today was Honey's turn at a bath. She's a older Golden. My friend, Nancy, and I (well, mostly Nancy) trimmed all her fur down very close. Poor baby - she looks like a lamb or worse, like "my first day at groomer's school." But, it does seem to help us get to the fleas better with the sprays and the shampoo. What I really need is for a few days of really cold temperatures . . that will kill the buggers. But, that's not going to happen for many months.

I haven't heard from Mark's family much lately, with the sweet exception of his cousin Steven and wife Lea, who I have grown very close to. I know Mark's mother was having an extremely difficult time with all that has happened and maybe it's easier for her to distance herself. I want what's best for her. I am still trying to adjust to being alone. It's hard. I really miss my best friend, my tv buddy and my movie/music critic. It's hard to watch a movie and not think how much Mark would laugh at my crying in the sad/sweet parts; or to watch one that I just know he would have loved! Same with music. I bought the newly released 40th anniversary edition of Woodstock. I so wish I could share that with him. That was a defining moment in his life. Well, all that said, I'll watch it and enjoy it and remember that beautiful smile and twinkling eyes. It will be all right. NEVER GIVE UP!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Evening

Today, I stepped back a little bit into life by doing something I loved and Mark was proud of me for doing. I used to cater and had a little home-based business where I cooked dinner for a small group at the host's home, preparing, serving and cleaning up afterwards. I absolutely love to cook and Mark was my best recipe taste tester. Tonight I made dinner for my friends who have been so very supportive of me in the last few months, as a way to say thank you, but more importantly to say I love you. I made them citrus/honey marinated pork roast with blueberry chipolte sauce, lemon pepper orzo, citrus/sesame grilled asparagus, and toasted pound cake with chocolate sauce and strawberries. I had a wonderful time doing it and it felt good to do something so good for people I care about. Every little step helps. Love to you all!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Time to Remember

On May 11th, I attended a service that Hospice holds once a year called A Time To Remember. I thought I'd share with you all one of the readings from that service that meant a great deal to me:
We Light These Candles

by Nancy Moeller, LSE, CADC

We light these candles for our sadness.

The pain of losing you is intense and

the grief we feel is often hard to handle.

We want you to know

that we miss you so much.

We light these candles for our memories.

There is so much we remember:

your smile, your laugh -

the good time and the bad ones, too,

when we were angry and we were happy -

all those times that

never could have lived with

anyone but you.

We light these candles

for our determination.

Knowing you has brought us strength.

We are changed because of you.

Your life has made a

difference in our lives.

We want you to know that we will

take the energy of your living

to help us move on forward

in our own lives.

We light these candles for our love.

The specialness that we shared with you

can never be replaced.

Our love for you will shine

as brightly as these candles.

We will pass that love on to others

and as we do,

our hearts will smile because of you.

We want you to know

we will always love you.


Friday, May 1, 2009

A Quiet Friday Night

It's been a long time since I came here to write. I felt the need tonight. I am so sad of late. I have so many people I could talk to about it, so many friends who would listen and understand. But, I just can't seem to do that. It's easier for me to come here. The quiet of the house seems to surround me more and more every day. I sit at night and just listen. I don't know exactly what I'm listening for, but I know I feel the tears and hear my broken heart beating. I miss Mark so much. I know that time will heal me, but right now, I feel wounded. I guess I just needed to write that down. I also know I'll be ok - I am a strong person. I just don't feel really strong right now. Hello to all who might read this - my prayers still include all the people who visited here and who have suffering of their own. Don't forget to NEVER GIVE UP!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Evening

Hi all. I wanted to share yesterday's butterfly release service with you. I was joined by 12 of Mark's friends and family at the beautiful service in Cambier Park, Naples, Florida. There were a couple hundred people there for the service. There was beautiful music and readings. The names of many, many victims of cancer were read in remembrance. Then, we all turned and watched as the walls of the butterfly tent were raised and the graceful creatures fluttered around and away. I was fortunate enough to have one land on my arm and, even when I encouraged it to go on, it stayed a while. I will share with each of you the blessing read at the conclusion of the service: May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
and find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

Following the formal service, my friends and I gathered in a quiet corner and Mark's cousin Steven recited the Jewish mourners' prayer, Kaddish, for us. Mark had asked that be done and this was perfect occasion. I think everyone left with a sense of peace. I know I did. My love to each of you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Night

I'm not too sure if anybody stops by here anymore, but I'm posting this for anyone who does and more importantly, to unburden my heart. I received word tonight that Mark's father passed away this morning. Alan Plotkin turned 93 years old last Saturday. He lived a long, full and amazing life. He was a loving husband and father to three children. He has grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Mark told me many stories of his incredible skills as a carpenter. He was a life-long Yankees fan and never missed a game. While his family will miss him so very much, I know they are all celebrating the wonderful life they shared with him for 93 years. My thoughts are with Mark's mother and siblings tonight.

This week was tremendously hard for me. Of all the holidays I won't share with my husband again, Wednesday was the day when I felt the loneliness of his being gone the most and I think it will always be the day when I miss him most. Wednesday was our 8th wedding anniversary. I married my best friend eight years ago and I am grateful for every day of those eight years. Well, lets be honest here - there were some days when I just wanted to pop him, but all in all, I wouldn't trade even those days for my considerable weight in gold. What most of you don't know is that Mark had asked me back in October if we could renew our wedding vows on our anniversary this year. He wanted to share with our friends the joy of that day eight years ago and to renew our public acclamation of affection for each other. I have solace in the knowledge that in fact, we renewed our vows every day we were together. Every night, our last words were "I love you." Yes, Mark, I will marry you again. I love you with all my heart.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Night

Hi to all - thought I would give you an up-date of what's been happening around here. Don't get excited - nothing spectacular. I think making it from day to day is a pretty big accomplishment. I didn't get to go to the town hall meeting. My dear friend, Jill, did and she was so very impressed. She said it did not really matter what your politics are, you can't help but be uplifted and encouraged by President Obama. He appeared to her to be genuine, gracious, and even if he makes mistakes (don't they all), he is dedicated to making it better for us.

I spent yesterday with Becca. We had a lovely time. I'm afraid I have created a monster. She fell in love with pedicures and she told me she intends to ask her mom to take her when she returns home. Sorry, Monica! She will be coming back here in April, and I already have plans for getting another for her and one for me. We also went shopping. Didn't buy anything but we had fun trying stuff on and laughing at the silly looking stuff. Trust me, there was a lot!

On March 22, here in Naples, there is an event sponsored by Avow Hospice. It is their 5th annual butterfly release. I will be taking part and will be asking that they include Mark in their memorial service. It seems to me to be a wonderful way to honor his memory and to share his story with the other attendees. I understand this may be a nation-wide hospice event. If you have a hospice in your area, I encourage you all to see if they will be doing something similar. If you can go, you can say a silent prayer for Mark and all the others whose lives are being remembered. I am having several of our friends go with me and we will use this as our own, private memorial. It is also a chance for all to sponsor hospice's wonderful works by making donations. I think there is even a ball the night before, as a fund raiser. I won't be attending that - my glass slippers are a little dirty.

I love you all and hope this finds you all doing well. I appreciate finding your little notes on here. Nothing new on the book front - I just checked with the software people and they still don't have the bugs worked out of the program yet. I'll keep you up-dated. In the meantime - NEVER GIVE UP!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Morning

Been a while since I've been here - to post, anyway. I still come by frequently to read some old posts, smile, tear up and leave with a warm feeling. I thought I'd up-date you guys on some developments around here. Mark would have been so excited. President Obama is coming to Fort Myers (about 1/2 hour away) on Tuesday to do a townhall meeting. I'm going to try really hard to go, but I don't know if I can get the time off. We had such high hopes for this administration and it was very important to Mark that he vote this year. We turned into political cable tv junkies and we watched non-stop pre-election coverage. The health care platform of Obama was very important to us. We rejoiced at his election, but fully understood that just getting elected wasn't going to be enough. I still have high hopes for meaningful healthcare reform. I would love to go to the meeting, as my own silent tribute to Mark and to show that I support the chance for change.

Have my beautiful granddaughter here for a visit. She and her dad are camping this weekend, but next weekend, she and I will be having a "day of beauty." I have a hair appointment booked, and then Becca and I will be going for pedicures and manicures. After that, perhaps a late lunch and a little shopping. We should have such a good time.

I hope this finds all of you well and surviving this brutal winter. We've had the coldest four weeks I can ever remember down here. It was below freezing twice (disaster for the local orange, tomato and strawberry farmers). My doggies were shivering! Not to mention me!

My love to all of you - stay warm, be safe and remember to NEVER GIVE UP!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mark's Birthday

Today, January 21st, is Mark's birthday. Today, he would be 61. Man, he really hated getting older. I think he wore his "old hippie" days as his badge, and it made him feel really old when they talked about how long ago Woodstock was. But, the lucky devil had very little gray hair. When I would point that out, he would do the imaginary surfer-dude head wave and "swish" back his hair. He could always make me laugh.

I spoke last night with his mother. She is weathering this with quite a bit of grace. At the same time Mark was being taken to Hospice that last week, Mark's father was taken to the hospital and given a very small chance to survive more than a few days. His dad is 93. His mom is 83. Dad has rebounded, and is now resting comfortably in the hospital's on-site nursing facility. All of this has really been an ordeal for his mother. She has not been alone for the sixty years of her marriage. She is now all alone in her little house, snowed and iced in. But she is resilient and optimistic. She knows that his dad won't be coming home, but she's also thankful for the care he is receiving that she was no longer able to give him by herself.

She told me last night that today, Mark's birthday, she was not going allow herself to think of his being gone. She was going to celebrate the sixty years she had her son. That helped me today, because I too celebrated. I am grateful I had eight years with Mark. We had some tough times, but he made a determined effort to always make sure I laughed. He was a huge softie and "leaked" at the chick flicks we watched together, but denied it loudly if I pointed it out. He was a huge teddy bear. He'd be furious if he knew I was telling you this. He never wanted anyone to know that under his gruff exterior, there was gold and marshmallows. I am a lucky woman to have found and had the love of this man. I wanted to share my birthday memories with all of you.

The book idea will be slow going. The website I am using is experiencing some problems transferring the materials over, but they tell their users they are working on the problem and that a patch will be available soon to make the transition much easier. It is giving me time to work on scanning and adding some pictures so that when the book is made, it will have more and more memories. I'll keep you all posted! Good night all - My love to each of you!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday Afternoon

I wanted to let all of you who still wander by that I have made plans for Mark's blog. With the help of a couple of computer-savvy people, I will be turning this blog and the subsquent comments into a book. Once I've got that accomplished, I am going to close down the blog. I want to remember each and every post and comment, and I want to honor all of you who came diligently during Mark's struggle. I don't know yet if I will start my own post. I suspect it would be theraputic, but I haven't made that decision yet. To each and every one of you, my thanks for all you have done during the nine months Mark blogged, and for the love and support you have shown me since his passing. The blog will be up for a little while longer. I'll let you know when I've accomplished the book and when I'll take down the blog. I remind all of you to visit the blogs of each other and to check once in a while on You are all special people in my life.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Night

Hi all - I wanted to thank you all for stopping by. It does my heart good to see your messages of encouragement. I got the chance to go over to North Miami this weekend and I stayed the night with Mark's cousin and his wife. We had a wonderful relaxing day today. We visited the Viscaya Museum. The gardens are beautiful and the weather was perfect for a day outdoors. My condolences to all of you suffering with snow, ice, wind and freezing temperatures. It was 82 today and magnificent. I am holding up well, and the chance to go over there and be with Mark's family was great. My love to you all . . . R

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday Night

Tonight I got the pleasure and priviledge of honoring one of Mark's last wishes. When December came around, he and I discussed how much we could afford to set aside for Christmas gifts and who would be on our very short list for gifts. He got a very sweet look and asked, if it were at all possible, we could include the three ladies from Hospice who gave him so much tender, loving care. I told him we would make sure we did. I was able tonight to write each of them a heartfelt thank you and to send along a little something he had decided would be appropriate. He wanted to get each a card for a tank of gas. He said that would let them know he loved them, and would let them keep going out to the homes of the people who suffered as he suffered, to minister to them with the love they had given him. He was a special person, and though one of his favorite things to say was "I know nobody loves me," he was so very wrong. To Marie, Josie and Lori, I can't thank you enough. You are the angels everybody says that walk among us.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Afternoon

I didn't realize this would be so hard - the clothes have gone to a good home. I was very emotional, watching them go down the driveway. I know I did the right thing, but it really hurts.
Thanks for the kind words about my decision. I value all your support.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Saturday Evening

Hello to you all. Today, I took a big step toward healing. With the help of friend Nancy, I went through all of Mark's clothes. If you have read the posts from the beginning, you know that when diagnosed, he weighed 380 lbs. At his last doctor visit, he weighed in at 212. He had lots of things all the way from 6x to XL. We sorted through everything and made up bags of the various sizes. I have listed them on my local Freecycle site, and will be giving them to someone in need. Mark's life before me included a period of time when he was very down and out, and to have had someone give him new and nearly new clothes because they cared would have been a blessing. I am very certain he would totally approve of my gifting them to someone in a similar situation. I have already had two people ask for them. One unemployed man who needs clothes for job interviews and one gentleman who lost everything in a Christmas-day fire. So, all of the things will be gratefully accepted and used. It was hard to box up the clothes I was so used to lovingly washing and hanging in the closet, but I know this is the right thing to do.

I am taking Nancy out for dinner tonight to thank her for all her selfless sacrifice of caring for the dogs and kitty while I was gone to Utah, and for helping me through some of the rough patches. I hope all of you have friends so kind and gracious. My love to you all !