And If You Did Know?

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

December 24, 2005

Happy Birthday Sweetie

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 7:44 pm

Since her birthday was December 24th, Michele rarely had the attention a June or October birthday might garner. Instead her celebration was often rolled into the holiday or skipped altogether. Throughout our relationship I tried very hard to make her birthday special. I know that her birthday in South Carolina in 1999 was the low point in the years we had together. Perhaps the high point was December 2003. You see, that year I managed to pull off a surprise party for her which was attended by her three best friends.

It all started in January, 11 months earlier, when I had the idea of inviting her three best friends to come to our house in Illinois for a weekend in December to celebrate her birthday. Emails were sent and calendars marked; every one agreed to come. Now I just had to keep my mouth shut for a year. The first few months were easy; it wasn’t until September and October when flight plans were solidified that I had to really work at not saying anything that would let the cat out of the bag.

The weekend of December 12 -14 finally arrived and the surprise was complete. Never had I seen her so completely shocked and overjoyed at the same time. She just could not stop smiling and laughing. As luck would have it one friend was unable to travel on Friday, so I got to surprise her again on Saturday when Laura arrived. The four women sat and talked, cried, laughed, and communed with each other for hour after hour that day. The conversation lasted well into the wee hours of the morning. It was truly a glorious celebration centered around Michele.

On Sunday morning, before shuttling her friends back to the airport, I snapped this picture. This was the last time Michele saw her friends, and I am very glad they all came to spend a snowy weekend together.

(l-r) Pam, Michele, Jody, (in front) Laura

Happy Birthday

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 7:25 pm


Wish you were here to verbally wish you a Happy Birthday, since you aren’t I hope you can hear it from my heart.


December 20, 2005

I Need Your Council

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 2:07 pm

Dear Sweeite,

I need your council. I need to explain my work situation to you and have you strategise with me about what to do and when. Your being gone hurts me in two ways here. First I am struggling to find my balance about normal things like eating, doing laundry, and paying bills. Having to cope with something as major as a forced change of jobs adds more than insult to injury, it overwhelms me. Secondly I don’t have your wisdom to counter my fears. I have to navigate treacherous waters without a lifeline and it is very scary.

For several weeks after you died I fought the urge to sink into the quagmire of “why me?” and “what if?” and was largely successful. Being told that my job may go away in a few weeks (15 working days after today) is proving to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I feel like I’m standing on ice that is breaking beneath my feet and, instead of moving towards safety, I am detached from myself and caught up in observing the water rising over my feet, and then legs. What would it be like to let go of the need to direct my life at all and just let myself be swept away by whatever forces are present?

My favorite quote these days is the one about faith that goes, “faith isn’t believing without proof, faith is trusting without reservation.” Michele always believed that things that were meant to be would happen, and things that weren’t meant to be didn’t. This is not to say we don’t have free will; rather it is an extension of the idea of reincarnation. Between lifetimes here you setup events or situations in the next lifetime to provide you with lessons or lesson opportunities. Getting a job or losing a job is part of that matrix designed by our essence, felt but not seen. Shaping the large contours of this lifetime without deciding every last nuance.

I view this contract situation as a test of my faith, and of my belief in my own essence, indeed, in my own divinity. So I want to let go of the need to control this situation and make it be what I want or think I need. Instead I want to find enough grace to accept what happens as necessary for my growth. The trick is knowing where the very fine line between letting go of the need for control and giving up lies. With you, Michele, I was usually pretty good and finding that line and following it. In three weeks or so we’ll know if I am any good at this with you here in spirit only.

I lov eyou Tinkerbell,

December 13, 2005

One For Our Side

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 6:11 pm

Michele would have loved this, the CEO of Diebold is resigning under a cloud of controversy.

I think the pendulum has reached its apogee and is starting to head back towards the center. Finally.

December 8, 2005

Two Months

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 8:44 pm

Dear Sweetie,

It has been almost two months since you died. I find that some parts of life seem almost normal while others remain surreal or worse. I’ve got most of the daily chore activities figured out, except for vacuuming maybe. The activity makes me sneeze (I know – every activity makes me sneeze) and the lack of it makes me sneeze more. The laundry, cooking, and daily tiding is relatively easy. Going to the grocery store is still tough. I have only been able to go to Whole Foods once in the past eight weeks, and then only because I couldn’t find the Seventh Generation laundry detergent anywhere else. I have been trying to use Target as it has all the things we like and it isn’t a place we normally shopped.

Work has its ups and downs. Having the routine is good, but I find my focus is sporadic at best. Some days I get a lot accomplished and other days… well, let’s just say I don’t get much done. My co-workers have been great. My initial fear returning to work was that I would feel stigmatized, perhaps ostracized. Quite to my surprise I have been treated in a way that is caring and concerned without being intrusive. I know that part of my experience there is due to the work I was able to accomplish with you that allows me to accept friendship freely now. I will be indebted to you for the rest of my life for that, among many other things.

The hardest thing I have to deal with now is your birthday and Christmas. My current thinking is that I need to spend those two days by myself here in Kansas. I want the freedom to do what I want when I want, be it a good cry or midnight movie. Traveling to Illinois puts me at the mercy motels or family for lodging, and the agenda would entirely out of my control. However, mom has just returned home from two weeks in the hospital, and I am acutely aware her health could take a turn for the worse. She has already made an overture about my traveling to Illinois and staying with them and participating in the activities there. To her credit she was gracious when I replied that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do yet. I’ve still got a couple of weeks to decide.

I have been buoyed by cards, email, and calls from several people. And I have reached out when I’ve needed immediate connection with someone other than a cat. Speaking of the cats, both are fine. Nekko was hidden and very skittish for a long time after you died. She is coming out when I am home now, and seeks me out for attention. I make it a point to sit on the couch or chair everyday so that she gets her ears rubbed. She has even, just this week, started getting on the bed while I watch TV at night, and laying next to me they way she did you. Taz greets me at the door every time I arrive home, and follows me about the house demanding attention. Now that it is cold outside I’ve been using a throw on the couch to keep warm and she loves to sleep there, which is very nice.

Most of all I miss talking to you. Whether about little events at work, or changes in the political landscape, I miss the conversations we had. Going out to dinner isn’t fun any more as I miss the far ranging discussions about anything and everything. Reading a book while eating just isn’t the same. I still talk out loud to you at times, especially in the dark of the bedroom when I can’t sleep. You’ll be happy to know that if I listen with my heart I can still hear your answers to my questions.

This week it snowed for the first time, almost 10 inches by my measure. I deliberately went out and drove in the evening so I could see the snow rushing towards the car in the cone of brightness from the headlights. The flakes were large and plentiful. You would have liked it very much. I am thinking that this weekend I will get out at least some of our decorations and bring some of the magic of Christmas here. You showed me how special this time of year could be, and I know my connection with your spirit will stronger if I let myself have some Christmas cheer.

I lov eyou Michele
I miss you every day
I am grateful that you are no longer plagued by the demons that haunted your life here, but I am sorry our time was so short together
I will always be in lov with eyou My Darling