And If You Did Know?

In Memory of Sharon Michele McAvoy Nichols .:. December 24, 1949 – October 10, 2005

November 27, 2005

Memorial for Michele

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 10:32 pm

I went forward with our plans for Thanksgiving and remembering Michele and her mom, Virginia. It was a beautiful but cold day. The sun was shining brightly. I had Michele’s and her Mom’s ashes sitting on the hearth along with pictures of each. The only recent picture of Michele was one that we were all in a Ginny’s memorial… actually Michele is very beautiful in it even if the rest of us are there. Mark’s hand is on her shoulder. She looked happy!! Anyway, I had candles burning and the glow was quite beautiful.

I managed to say a few words about how lucky I was that Michele came back into my life and how much I enjoyed talking with her. Just beginning to really know and understand her more but as life’s tradgey happened she was once again gone from my life. However, this time I have some wonderful memories. Then between Josh and myself, we read Mark’s eulogy for Michele. That was not an easy thing to do. You have such a way with words!!! After the small informal ceremony, we traveled to Jeanette’s Fishing Pier in South Nags Head and walked over on the beach. The wind was brisk but it didn’t faze us. We were on a mission. Our loved ones were on their journey home…. I mixed the ashes together as ONE and when the right moment and wave came, we said farewell to our loved ones.

Michele, I had so much more I wanted to say to you when you were alive. If I’d only known our time would be cut short. The most important thing is to let you know I LOVE YOU! and I think you know that.

Betty Lewis

November 23, 2005


Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 7:32 am

Dear Sweetie,

This week it is Thanksgiving. We were going to travel this year to Currytuck to see your aunts and remember your mom. Instead I am staying in the apartment and eating dinner with strangers. Betty was more that willing to have me come there anyway and I was sorely tempted to go, but in the end I couldn’t bring myself to go without you by my side. I did send a portion of the cremains on to Betty; she is going to put you with your mom and on Friday a little of both of you will be spread on the ocean.

With just one day off this week I am not traveling to Illinois. Going there this year would be doubly hard as mom is in the hospital. It’s a long story, but it doesn’t appear likely that she’ll be home tomorrow. Her week long stay (so far) has been hard on my dad. I talk to him almost everyday. Last night he said that it has been very helpful to share with me what is going on with him. It felt so very good to have that kind of connection with him after all these years. I know that where ever you are, you are wearing your fierce smile, and that you are genuinely pleased for me. And for him.

Friends of mine from Ohio are coming here to see their family for Thanksgiving. Ann, Dan and Katie are going to stay with me tonight at least, and probably tomorrow night as well. I made a pot of our spaghetti sauce for them for dinner this evening. And I baked a chocolate cake too. It’s the first cake I’ve made since you died and it turned out pretty good. The frosting is maybe just a hint too bitter, but it is very smooth and chocolaty. I can’t eat a whole cake by myself so I’m not sure how to have them anymore. I guess I could eat what I want for a couple of days and then bring the rest into work to share. I don’t want to stop having cake, but I don’t like not being able to make them for you any more.

I had corned beef stew this week. It turned out very nicely. I like that you left me with all sorts of favorite dishes. I like that I know how to cook for myself and take care of the kitchen. I miss making a salad for you, or a plate of raw veggies. I was going to make little pizzas one night but when I thought about making a pile of cheese on the foil to toast for you I couldn’t do it. Ever time I run across a new memory that brings the sense of loss up again I wonder if I’ll ever stop hurting over your death. Intellectually I know I will, but in my heart I am filled with despair at the thought of never again hearing your voice, seeing your smile, or touching your face.

I will always lov eyou
I will always miss you
I am still in lov with eyou

November 19, 2005

Best of Times

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 10:36 am

One of the best times Michele and I had together was going to Chicago in the Fall of 2003 to see Eddie Izzard perform live. Eddie, for those of you who don’t know, is British comedian Michele discovered while we were living in South Carolina. She had been ill for months and wasn’t able to sleep well. The sleep pattern that worked best for her was going to bed around 3 or 4 in the morning, and sleeping most of the day. Consequently she watched a lot of late night television, and one night stumbled on to the middle of Eddie’s ‘Dress to Kill” HBO Special. She said she laughed so hard she cried. Seeing that it was repeated, she taped it and showed it to me. Before the end I was laughing so hard I thought I would need oxygen.

In the years that followed we collected all the video performances of Eddie that we could find. Michele always said she would be willing to travel a long way to see Eddie in person. As luck would have it, his 2003 “Sexie” tour came to Chicago – only three hours drive away. I remember spending 30 minutes on the phone dialing, and also online refreshing the ticket ordering page, until I got a pair of tickets in the tenth row, on the right center isle. Absolutely perfect seats. We would be close enough to see, and Michele wouldn’t have to sit next to anyone but me. Next I made reservations at the Palmer House Hotel in downtown Chicago, as the map online showed it being the closest to the theater.

The day of the show we drove up to Chicago, stopping on the way to see my brother and my two youngest nieces for a few minutes. The hotel was sumptuous, and, having learned how all this works, I was able to smoothly allow the valet to park the car and the bellboy to carry the bags. We had dinner in Trader Vic’s (still the BEST egg roll I’ve ever had) and casually walked 1/2 a block to the theater. Yes, it was practically across the street from our hotel. You could see one entrance from the other. Our seats were indeed perfect. As we sat waiting for the show to start, enjoying some Tom Jones music on the PA, Michele struck up a conversation with the two women in front of us. They were also long time Eddie fans who had traveled (flown actually) to see him perform live.

The show itself was simply fantastic. Eddie was on that night. We both laughed and laughed. His encore was superb and I was literally gasping for air before he was finished with us. In the morning we set off to find the village of Canesteo New York, a favorite childhood home of Michele’s. That trip was also special, but that is another story.

I am so glad that Michele got to see Eddie perform live, and that the accommodations, seating, and everything were perfect for us. This is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.

November 11, 2005

If I had Known…

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 5:25 pm

If I had known that I was spending your last days on earth I would have held your hand tighter. If I had known that you were leaving I would have said goodbye. I didn’t get to say goodbye. I at least wanted to say goodbye. If I had known how precious you were I would have gotten to know you much sooner. It has been a while since you have been gone and I have lost track of the days, I miss you as if I had known you forever. Sometimes I can’t wait to see you. I just cry alot because I miss you, and I miss your way of talking. I wish I could comfort myself, like you comforted me. I really need you. I miss you so much. I wish I had more time with you. I feel lost without you on the campus. I know that some of your students feel that same loss also. If I had known I was going feel such an huge loss I would have done something differently, although I don’t know just exactly what it would have been.


November 6, 2005

28 Days

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 9:11 am

Dear Sweetie,

Tomorrow it will be 28 days since you died. In this case 28 days is both a lifetime and an instant. I still expect you to appear from the next room, or to wake up in the night and find you reading in your favorite chair. But as I move through the daily chores (which are ALL mine now, thank you very much) I know that you aren’t coming back, that you are truly gone. The range of emotions I have as a result of this dichotomy is stunning in its diversity.

I get so mad sometimes. Little things set me off, like not being able to dice an onion finely like you did, or Taz licking my face. I yell and stomp, or pound on the desk until the white-heat part of my anger passes. I am mad at you for leaving me here to deal with all of this, for having to be alone again, but mostly for not having a place to feel safe anymore.

A bout of rage almost always leads to a good long cry. I picked up a really good book called Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies that is filled with two and three page essays on topics like “Ask for a Hug” or “Begin to Play (Again)”. One of the first ones I read was about “Creating Your Own Comfort Place.” In it the author, Marta Felber, made the suggestion that I use something of yours as a touchstone when I need comforting. Last night, after a failed attempt to fix dinner at home ended in diced onion all over the floor, I fell onto your side of the bed and cried and cried while holding one of your favorite dresses. The feel of the dress fabric in my hands and on my face was comforting, and I did reach some peace as a result of that venting.

While I do not feel alone, I am very lonely. Taz and Nekko are keeping tabs on me, Taz more than Nekko. However, Nekko is coming around again. Last night she spent some time on the bed with me while I watched television. I am learning to sit on the couch or chair and reach up behind me to rub her ears. (And you are right, that does make your arms hurt!) My friends, especially Laura, Ted, Pete, and Annie, are calling on me and sending me emails. Annie has family here in KC, so she and Dan, along with Katie, are coming here for Thanksgiving. They are going to stay with me and I have even been invited to her brother’s house for the day. Greg Lettow and Kristin have also invited me to join them for Thanksgiving Day.

The evenings and weekends are a very lonely time for me. I don’t feel like being around other people and yet I don’t like being by myself. I spend an hour or two here and then I have to run out to a store for something, even just to look, so I can be around other people. I know that in time I will start to develop new friendships, but for now I am very lonely.

I am scared. Scared of the future, scared of what happens next. For the first couple of weeks I felt cut off from the best parts of myself, the parts that were so intertwined with you. Being able to stand up and deliver the eulogy I wrote for you helped me a great deal. I reconnected with some of Pooh as a result. Finding my way through the weekly chores is helping as well. Having a semi-regular schedule for things takes some of the uncertainty out of my situation. I can’t look to far into the future yet, though. Getting to the end of the day seems to be my limit. Having a chore or errand for the upcoming weekend is helpful, but trying to think much beyond the next few days just leaves me paralyzed.

Oddly enough there is a feeling of peace at times. I know that you are still around, if only in essence form. There have been two or three instances where I am convinced you were here. The first week I was back at work there was a 4-day meeting. In one of the conference rooms the first day I looked up and saw you in an empty chair across the way. You were smiling at me and I felt very good for a moment. At your memorial service there was a moment when the pipes were playing that I felt every so lightly your touch on my cheek, and I have felt you moving around the apartment at least twice. I know that your aren’t in pain anymore, and that all the fears and demons you carried for so long can no longer attack you in the night. I am glad that you are at peace. I am even more grateful for the faith I have, otherwise I wouldn’t feel secure about where you were and what you were experiencing.

I lov eyou Michele. I always have and I always will. You are in my heart, and you touch my soul profoundly. My heart is filled with warm memories of the time we had together, and I know that with time and hard work, I will be able to touch those memories and feel good. For now I am letting myself express the fear, anger, sorrow, or whatever as it comes up.

I lov eyou
I lik eyou
I miss you
I believ in eyou
I am in lov with eyou