And If You Did Know?

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

February 16, 2006

The Sound of Her Voice

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 9:35 pm

For some time now I have been able to hear in my mind the sound of Michele’s voice by replaying one of two contexts where we said the same things over and over. Recently I discovered a third context that lets me imagine her voice once again. I treasure these contexts and I use them daily, so I can hear in my mind her voice and so I don’t lose the connection to the context itself.

So much of our memories are triggered by state, so losing the state of being with Michele has caused a veil to be drawn up over my memories of her and our time together. It pains me to feel her slipping away in this manner. Try as I might, there are times when I can’t see her face, or imagine her touch, or hear her voice. The fear of losing this part of her adds to my inability to breakthrough to the memories. I have to calm myself and then I can reach the peaceful place inside of me where she lives now.

I fear that as the years start to roll by I will gradually lose this final connection with her, until all that I am left with are fading images in my mind’s eye, along with a handful of digital pictures. I am determined to keep as much of her memory alive in my mind as I can by exercising the contexts that let me her her voice, feel her touch, and see her beautiful face once again.

I miss her so very much, the pain of her loss is still as sharp as the first day. My throat swells shut and the tears steam down my cheeks when I think about all the days I’ll have without her. It has been 129 days since she died. It feels like 129 years.

I lov eyou Michele
I miss you with every breath I take
My heart still aches for your gentle love to hold it once again

February 14, 2006

Will You Marry Me?

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 8:22 am

For St. Valentine’s Day 1995 I traveled to Colorado Springs to spend the weekend with Michele. She had just been to Illinois two weeks previously and we were both preparing for her to move there permanently in early March. She met me at the Denver airport with a heart shaped balloon and a stuffed teddy bear. In that moment neither of us knew that we would be spending the next 3,160 days together.

That evening when we got back to her apartment I played for her Marc Cohn’s True Companion and asked her to marry me. She said yes. Tee-hee.

Friday evening and Saturday that weekend were spent sight-seeing and just being together. Michele was increasingly aware that her employer was falling on hard times and that the future of her job was in question. She had already submitted a letter of resignation and was to move to Illinois in two weeks, without a new job, just to leave the stress of the psychiatric hospital behind. Sunday morning as we lay together in bed feeling sad about my impending return to Illinois alone, she asked, “Why can’t I come back with you today? Why can’t we pack my stuff, leave the key with the landlord for Allied, and just drive back together, today?”

My first thought was why didn’t we think of this on Saturday, but given that she had hardly any belongings it wouldn’t take too long to pack them up and prepare to drive her car to Illinois. The rest of Sunday was spent packing her small two room apartment and preparing a note for the Allied movers due in two weeks. Late in the evening we finally had the last of the things she was bringing with her in the car, including a very reluctant cat, and headed off to her office. She changed her two-week notice to indicate she was going to take her accumulated vacation rather than get paid for it. She gathered the few things she wanted from the office and we finally set off around 9:30 pm.

Three hours driving got us to Burlington Colorado, the last town before Kansas. In the morning I called my office and took the day off and we set out to drive home. Our trip across Kansas and Missouri was good, filled with laughter and comfortable silences. Along the way we passed Salinas, where we had spent two weekends the previous year, and laughed at the unlikeliness of falling in love in such a remote place. And neither of us knew that Kansas City would figure in our relationship when we drove through it later that day.

After picking up my car from the long term parking lot in St. Louis we drove in tandem the last 90 miles to Springfield. Abby promptly hid under the bed in the duplex we now shared. Over the next couple of weeks we started to adapt to each other and living together. By mid-March her shipment from Allied arrived and we were setting a date for our wedding.

It would have been nine years today. Nine years since I asked her to marry me. Nine years since we starting living together. My memories of that time are warm and make me feel good. I miss her terribly every minute of every day, but I don’t regret a single minute of the time we had together. She was my first and only Valentine.

February 6, 2006

Four Months

Filed under: goodbye — mark @ 11:24 pm

Dear Sweetie,

It has been just over four months since you died. Today marks the 17th week, 119 days. I know you won’t be surprised that I know these numbers, I was always the one that knew our dates and remembered little anniversaries as the year went by. The dates are bittersweet this time around. My memories are flooded with all the things we did, the places we went, and the laughter we shared. My thoughts are haunted by the knowing that our plans for the future will never come to pass. You always used to say that living in the past (or future) was pointless as there was no present in it. Your profound wisdom has helped me a great deal; I try to stay focused on today rather than lament either the past or the future.

My loneliness is the hardest thing to bear these days. I feel like I am running as fast as I can, but like my shadow loneliness is attached to me, and I can not out run it. My anger has been greater in the past few weeks, anger at you and at this whole mess. Because it has altered my personality some, and causes the cats behavior to be different as well, I am going to start going to group. The trick will be finding one where I can get some validation. I fear my attitude going in is one of “I dare you to make this work for me” and I’m not at all sure of the outcome. You always talked about the groups you ran and how the peers in the group could rein someone in and give them the validation no one else could provide. I am trusting that there is a group like that out there for me. Tomorrow I start at the first one.

I miss you terribly, My Love. My heart is hurted, and Little Mark is very sad inside.
I lov eyou will all my heart and I always will. You truly showed me how to love.
I am mad at you Michele, and I know that is how this works. I’ll move through it and then this will be a tiny bit better.

Good night my sweet Princess.
your loving husband,