One Month Update – April 21, 2014

Dear Friends and Family,

Can it really be a month since I said good-bye to the love of my life?  I can hardly believe it.  I don’t know when it will finally sink in that he will never walk through the door again or never text me little love notes or never call again.  As I go though out my day I see or hear something and immediately I think that I’ll tell Mark later about that…..and then I remember.

I wonder how it would be had we not had so great a relationship – would it be easier?  would it be harder?  What if he wasn’t my best friend that we shared everything with each other?  What if he didn’t make me laugh so much and what if he didn’t get by with just about anything because he could give me that “look” and all would be forgotten and forgiven?  What if he’d been a lousy dad and husband who didn’t care about us?  Would it be easy then?  What if God had given us 5 more years, 5 more months, 5 more weeks or even 5 more days?  Would it ever be enough?  I don’t think so.

The truth is that when God brought us together 29 years ago we really did become “one”.  So it is reasonable that I feel like a part of me is gone because it is!  I know that it’s not every day that you find a relationship like I shared with Mark.  What made it so great?  We learned how to truly love each other over the years.  Not only did we complement each other but we just had a connection that is almost beyond words.  Our communication was awesome and we laughed so much together.  We agreed on so many things and we had similar interests and approached situations in life in much the same way.  

We always had a great marriage but the last five years God gave us even more.  I feel like we had two lifetimes together – the one before cancer where we had a good marriage, a good relationship with our family and a good relationship with God and didn’t have many needs and were just coasting along enjoying life – then we had the lifetime after cancer, five years and five days – where we had a spectacular marriage, stronger family relationships and a closeness to the Lord that we had never known before.  

Thankfulness – I’m so thankful for the journey that God put us on, what He taught us and how our journey was able to impact others.  Mark’s death is not the end of what God is going to do with him.  He has left a legacy that very few have left and what he started with “Leave A Mark” will continue and for that I’m so thankful.  I’m thankful that God healed him completely and he is free of all the earthly things that we are encumbered by.  I’m thankful that Mark was with his Lord for Easter and could worship and sing praises and be pain free!  I’m thankful for all my children and grandchildren that spent Easter Sunday with me – what a blessing they are and how proud they are making Mark by the way they are taking care of me – my kids are simply amazing and I’m so deeply grateful to the Lord for who they are and for their relationships with the Lord. 

Easter was definitely going to be different for us this year and indeed it was.  We all chose to go to the Sunrise Service at the cemetery where Mark is buried.  They had a service with music and a message from Hillcrest Baptist next to the cemetery and they also read all the names of those who had been laid to rest from last Easter until this one.  Then they had a dove release – it was just beautiful!   We put flowers on Mark’s grave and then we all went to Cracker Barrel.  After getting home we had an egg hunt out back with Camden which was precious and then just relaxed, played games and enjoyed the beautiful day.  I truly had a great day and felt very grateful for that – He is Risen!!! PTL!!!

I’m thankful for friends who love me and for so many who have reached out with cards and notes and emails and texts.  I told my mom the other night that I think I would feel guilty if I were doing poorly – so many people are praying for me and loving me and God is taking care of me so I cannot mope around.  I will grieve and of course I will be sad – I convinced I miss Mark more than I any human being could possibly miss another but then God always gives me peace and hope.  The greatest hope is that one day I will be reunited with Mark – no doubt about that.  I’m actually going home the same day as him – right?  The Bible says that in heaven “a thousand years is as a day” so I’m happy I’ll be in heaven the same day as him!

My birthday was the day after Mark’s Celebration Service and I got to celebrate with my niece who shares my birthday and was 21 and we had never been together on our birthdays and so my family had a special breakfast together.  I was especially surprised when after opening gifts from my family one was set before me that had been thought about weeks earlier from my loving, caring husband and it will be gift I always cherish – a silver locket with an inscription on the front that says “You’re the Love of My Life” and the back says “Love, Mark” – what a man!  There are no words to adequately describe what that gift means to me.

I wish life could just be still for a week or so but life moves on and so do we.  I’m back to work and am playing a lot of catch up.  I’m busy around the house taking care of loose ends, etc.  Cameron and Caitlin have temporarily moved in with me so that is really nice – I don’t have to be here all alone – it’s really great to have them around – the rest of the kids come around a lot and have all been a huge help to me.

It’s odd not talking about medical terms and diagnosis and how Mark is feeling.  I’ve been taking care of Mark for so long it had become second nature to me – I was constantly checking on him and when I did leave him had my phone right beside me at all times.  Now when I run in store I don’t even take my phone in or if it’s in my purse don’t listen for it – so much is changing.  

I go back to one of the original verses that God gave me after Mark was diagnosed – Isaiah 43:1-2 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.

God has always known when He would take Mark home and that I would be left without him to go down this life’s path alone but the good news is that God already has that path ready for me and I trust Him to prepare me for that path and for whatever He has ahead for me.  I don’t know if this makes sense or not to you but I may not be currently happy about my circumstances but I have joy and peace and that’s better than happiness.  I also know that the happiness will return – “a time for every season under heaven”.

Thank you for your continued prayers and love for me and for my family.  I am blessed.

Much love,


(for Mark – the verses he always used when he signed his book)

Philippians 1:20-21

 According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.