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About MarkM

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  • Name/Location of Hospice if they were involved:
    Piedmont Medical Center

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    Catawba, SC

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  1. Thank you for the article. There is a lot of good advice in it. I'm going out of my way to keep Sadie's stress down and give her time to normalize, but it's a challenge. She has onset collapsed trachea. When she get's anxious, she starts to cough and it just goes downhill from there. I honestly think if she had full knowledge of the reality about her Mama, she wouldn't last 48 hours. I don't think I could take losing her too, so soon after Susie.
  2. Marty, Thank you so much for that guidance. I am signed up and I very much look forward to the event. I can't tell you enough how glad I am that I found this website and decided to become a part of it. Years ago I had a wonderful therapist who helped me overcome a loss in my life that I was not equipped to deal with on my own. You are that level of expert and you seem to know the very thing that I need to heal. God bless you!
  3. They say one of the worse experiences in life is a child passing before the parent. I pray I never know what that is like. My Daughter is all I have left, well, and my dog Sadie. With our children having been grown, Sadie was like our child. A little Pomeranian we got back in 2010 and if there were ever an emotional support dog, it has been her. One of the hardest things for me to witness is her trying to process the absence of her "Mama". Susie was Sadie's pack leader and like me, she's lost. I used to joke with Susie, that "there is no life without Mama" and that applied to both myself and Sadie, when Susie wasn't around. We're a pitiful pair now and I'm doing my best to help her normalize as I attempt to. If I lost her now, I would break up in little pieces.
  4. I know that Susie wouldn't want me to harden my heart and misdirect the grieving I feel for her. I don't think either one of us could foresee the ramifications of her passing. We knew the day would come, but chose not to talk about it too much, in favor of talking about the moment we were sharing together. We thought we had more time, until it became apparent that we didn't. The loneliness I feel now is hard for me to handle after never feeling loneliness for so long. I actually had forgotten what it felt like, but now I remember all too well and on a level I never experienced before. As I did when she lived, I feel I must be strong for her and carry on. It's the way she would want it and unless the good Lord has different plans, I believe I will be around for some time. Being single will be a challenge that I guess I will have to overcome. I just try to imagine her being with me and it seems to help a little. I have one of those digital picture frames that I've loaded up with all kinds of great photos over the years. Seeing the random rotation of her smiles seems to help as well. Life is an adventure and mine is just on a downturn. I've learned over the years that the good comes with the bad and neither can last forever.
  5. You were very fortunate. I would have left this job years ago, but I was afraid to rock the boat and lose my ability to provide for Susie. I may consider reinventing myself to the extent that it is possible. All I know is that now it's horrible to be here. My boss happens to be one of those people I mentioned before, who bury their grief and allow it to turn into anger, or some other destructive emotion. As a result, his empathy for others leaves a lot to be desired. Thank you, I thought she is very beautiful as well. The first time we met, my heart skipped a beat and I just knew thre was something special about her. I was blessed to have gotten the opportunity to spend about a third of my life with such a lovely woman.
  6. Thank you, she is beautiful and she was beautiful on the inside as well. Besides finding the song, I've been going through old mini disc recordings of duets we used to do, hearing her pretty singing voice, her laughter and remembering the context has been a wonderful reminder for which I'm thankful. I would have been ok with being there when she went, but as it turned out, I gave that day to her daughters since I had her to myself the day before. I honestly thought I would get another, but it was not to be. At least got to say goodbye one last time and let her know I loved her.
  7. Gwenivere, sadly I only got about 5 days off of work, not counting the ones I spent with Susie. I lost my composure a couple of times today in front of customers and felt compelled to explain why. Everyone has been very understanding with the exception of my boss. He's in his own little world, but that's whole different story. Though I had told myself over the years that there would come a day, it didn't matter, there was no preparing for it, especially when the end game came so quickly. I got to see Susie the day before she passed and in at least some way, conversed with her, which I count as a blessing. The next day, for all accounts and purposes, she was moving onto the next life. I will keep all her photos, even including the ones where she is ravaged by disease, but I will always think of her as I met her. That is the mind I knew, up until the time that cancer had done it's damage. I will pray for you to find peace in your life. I'm sure that Steve would have never wanted you to suffer so. I'm sure also that he watches over you and wants you to find contentment. I realize nothing I can say will bring that about, but the good Lord can provide anything we need if only we ask. Last night I was pouring through old computer files, from a drive that once belonged to her. I found a folder entitled "Feelings", that was nested in among photos of me and, a few writings and copies of our first correspondence. Within that folder I found a file named "Belonging". Clicking on it I found lyrics to an old Bread song I don't recall ever hearing. Look it up on Youtube, It is beautiful. It was like finding buried treasure and it warmed my heart. I will learn it and play it just for her. Belonging By Bread, Sung by David Gates. I wanted love so very bad that I could almost taste it And so I gave my all to you And hoped you would not waste it I laid awake the whole night long And wondered was I wrong But when you woke and touched my face I knew that I belonged Belonging to someone I find is very necessary The load is lighter on your mind When someone helps to carry And even though I'm strong enough To make it on my own I would not even care to try To live my life alone For if I lived my life alone With no one to belong to There'd be no one to pledge my heart Or sing my song of love to My melodies would soon dry up And the words would leave me too It all would come to pass if I Could not belong to you I wanted love so very bad that I could almost taste it And when I gave mine all to you I knew you would not waste it
  8. I'm having a really rough time today. I pretty much didn't sleep last night and it took everything I could muster to get out pf bed. Work is horrible and I can't concentrate at all. I wish I could just go home, curl up in bed and cry myself to sleep. I lost her two weeks ago today and it feels like it was last night. I wish this was all a big nightmare and I would wake up and she would be there.
  9. Thank you, I believe that though I will never be able to replace Susie, my soul will at least heal to the extent that it isn't constantly consumed with grief. I attribute this to a belief of a life hereafter and that I will see her again. I think love is a double edged sword, it can hurt and it can heal. Now it's time to slowly strive for the latter.
  10. Gwenivere and Kay, I totally understand where you are coming from. I have always been a proactive person, immediately confronting my problems and doing my best to embrace old memories, even if they may at first make me feel uncomfortable. Susie had a beautiful singing voice and when I was listening to some old mini discs of songs we did together, it actually made me feel warm inside, almost like she was there. Thankfully I find great comfort in old photos, recordings and even the things she wrote. I can't imagine not having those around me. When I do start composing, it will be after this horrible stage I'm in now. I don't want to write something that is a downer, but more a tribute to her kind heart and beautiful soul. I feel it's all going to be critical in filling the void I now feel.
  11. Marty, I just got through "After caregiving ends" and there are some excellent points I hadn't thought about. There is no doubt that a lot of my feeling lost, is because my purpose with Susie has ended. It was a challenge, but I honestly don't feel much relief with it being gone. We have had many discussions over the years about what I felt was my loving duty. She felt guilty on many occasions, about my having to do things for her, causing lost sleep due to her pain and discomfort, but I assured her it was not a problem. In the last few months I believe she actually attempted to alienate me a time or two. This I suspect was designed to potentially cause me to give up and relinquish my duties, relieving me of the responsibility, because she felt bad. I called her on it and it stopped immediately. About two weeks before she passed, she said that the only reason she thought about not clinging to life, was that I would no longer have to bother with her care. I informed her that I loved her very much and that it was my pleasure to perform the task. I think she finally understood, though neither one of us realized that it was nearly at the end. I feel no guilt over the way I conducted my care. I had plenty of experience caring for my Mom and thankfully it prepared me for Susie. I wanted to make sure that I could sleep at night knowing that I always tried to do the right thing.
  12. Kieron, The emptiness is overwhelming and particularly today. I feel hollowed out and wounded to the soul. It's really difficult to describe. I find myself talking to Susie throughout the day. from telling her "good morning" when I walk out the door and look up at the sky, to when I tell her I love her when I lay my head on the pillow at night. The other morning, just as the sunlight was beginning to show on the horizon, the skies were clear and we had a crescent moon on it's back, my layman terminology. She loved that phase and we always called it "her moon". It reminded me of the line from the song "I'll be seeing you", that goes "I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you". I'll always remember her that way and I hope she's admiring it as much as I am, but from the other side. Gwenivere, I've known people who deal with grief by attempting to suppress it, or converting it to anger, etc..., but I've never been such a person. In these times, I typically am drawn to songs and poetry that trigger and express the emotions. Once I do that from time to time, it seems to relieve the pressure at least for a little while. I think I feel one of those episodes coming on soon. I try not to wallow in grief, but to deal with it and move on to the next level. Pain and heartache have been the influence for some of the most beautiful music ever written. I've been fascinated with emotions in music my entire life. My Father was a professional musician. As a child, I remember watching in awe as he would perform "Old Shep" and watching people around a campfire fight back the tears. Years ago he told me that tragedy evoked powerful music. Music is a wonderful medium for emotion and for me, it has been both a way to express them as well as capture them in time.
  13. Thank you everyone for the kind words. The outpouring of kindness is very much appreciated. I can tell there is a lot of wisdom and insight when I hear you relate your own experiences. Marty, I believe you are correct, with my role as caregiver behind me, I feel lost. Thanks you for the link, I will read that. Kevin, I went about 3 days without eating and I realized that I had to keep up my strength. With so much flu and such going around, the last thing I need right now is to get sick and frankly, Susie would not be happy if I starved myself on her behalf, so I started eating, even though I don't have much of an appetite. Thanks for the advice. I went back to work Thursday and it was not a good time. I just kind of sat there staring at my computer monitor, trying to gather myself to deal with the day. I work in the sign industry and do graphic design, so Thursday and Friday I spent some time designing an "In Memory of.." decal for friends and family. Everyone seems to love it. I am also in the process of doing a large photo collage for the memorial service we're planning at a local park. I made one of these for my Mom when she was in a nursing home, on the last leg of her life's journey. I mounted it on the wall directly in front of her bed. Dementia had begun to take it's toll on her, but her roommate told me she spent hours on end starring at the collage, which made me happy. It consisted of dozens of photos of myself, Susie, her Grand Daughter and our little dog, who she loved. The center piece was a beautiful old picture of my Grandmother when she was young. Anyway, Susie's collage is coming along nicely. Each passing day seems a little more bearable and I'm trying to keep myself busy. One of the hardest things is notifying friends that still aren't aware. I can only do about one of those a day and I feel drained after. Fortunately most everyone knows now, so that's almost over. Potential lyrics are popping into my head throughout the day. As soon as I get caught back up on chores, I plan to set up my studio again and start writing and recording. I realized early in my life that music was key to my dealing with life's tragedies. It has gotten me through so many such events that I can say without a doubt, were it not for that, I honestly don't think I would have made it, or retained my sanity. I thank the Lord and my Father for my love of Music.
  14. I met Susie in July 2001. I knew in an instant, that she was very special. She was absolutely beautiful. She had an infectious personality, a wonderful smile and a loving heart. We hit it off instantly and right there, our adventure began. We had so many things in common and so many shared interests that I wondered sometimes if we weren't a match made in Heaven. Nothing is ever perfect mind you, but though we had our disagreements over the years, we always made up and the vast majority of that time we spent enjoying life together, loving, laughing and soaking up everything life had to offer. Both of us had been through a previous marriage and divorce, having children from those respectively. Though they were grown, my Daughter was like her's and her's were like mine. Life was good. During 2014, She began to have some health issues, primarily with back pain. As time went on things got worse, but being stubborn as she was, she refused to seek help other than from our Chiropractor. He began to suspect the potential for lesions on the spine and urged us to at least get some labs done. After one long, horrible night of agonizing pain, I forced her to let me take her to the ER. In October of 2014, my Susie was diagnosed with stage four, Her2 breast cancer, which had metastasized to the bone. I will never forget seeing the PET scan, the shock I felt and wondering how much time we had left. I excused myself from the hospital room to collect my thoughts and headed outside to call my Mother and Father. On my way out, I passed a small room that served as a chapel and I went inside taking a seat. I prayed to God that he might provide a miracle, or at least provide me with guidance and I laid it in his hands. I knew what had to be done and on that day, I committed myself to caring for her, no matter what the cost to me financially, emotionally, or physically. I had already spent two years caring for my elderly Mother, so it became clear what I had been prepared for. Thanks to the Her2 gene she had associated with her cancer, it opened her up to what was then, a fairly knew gene specific treatment. Thanks to that, we got to spend 5 years, 2 months and 16 days more together, with the last couple of months being the worst. Fortunately, the majority of it were of many great memories, spent enjoying music, movies, etc.. and we basked in the shared love we had for one another. In those days, we, like the song says, worked to "Live like you were dying". Just before Thanksgiving, she had to be transported to the ER, with what we suspected was a left fractured femur. The right one went in 2017 at the location of a large lesion on the bone. She had emergency surgery, came home, recovered, got physical therapy and it was right back to the good times. This time we thought would be no different, but that was not the case. Things progressively escalated out of control until the weekend of the 10th and 11th, when she became confused and I had her rushed back to the hospital. A couple days later, an MRI revealed that the cancer in her bone had jumped to the brain in multiple locations, hence the confusion. I got to spend the Monday and Wednesday of the following week with her, but by Wednesday, her condition had worsened to the point that she had been put on a ventilator. I held her hand, stroked her head, leaned in closely and I told her that she was my hero. I explained why she was confused and I could see the recognition in her eyes. I told her to place her heart with the Lord and that I wanted to see her in Heaven some day, that I wanted to see her on the other side. I told her that I loved her and that she was the best Wife a man could ever have. Though severely weakened, she faintly said "I Love You". I heard that 3 times that day and that evening i said my last goodbye. her Daughters spent the following day with her, though she was unconscious, and on the evening of Thursday, January 16, 2020, my sweetest Susie lost her battle. I know she smiles down on us from Heaven, and I am grateful that she was spared from anymore torment, but that is where her trial ended and mine is morphing into something completely different. In the interest of full disclosure, I have no intentions, or thoughts of doing myself harm. We simply didn't believe in suicide and even if I did, with my religious beliefs, it would be counter productive to my intent of seeing Susie again, so not to worry. I am however in a very dark place at the moment. I went from being immersed with her every want and need, to a complete dead stop. I have never been so petrified in my entire life and for the first time in 19 years, I feel completely alone and lost without her. Susie was the kindest, warmest and most loving individual I have ever met. She embraced life with a passion and was afraid of nothing. Her character was such, that it seemed as if she had her own gravitational pull. Susie was like the Sun and I revolved around her. I miss her sweet voice, her smile, our conversations, things like watching her delight in feeding the squirrels, who would take peanuts from her hand and I even miss hearing her snore. I'm no stranger to grief, I've had a lifetime of it, but this time something is different. I can't explain it, but in 2016, I lost my Mother and two months later, my Father followed and it rocked my world to the core, but this is hitting me far worse for some reason. I'm going to try to go back to work tomorrow, but I don't think I'll be all there. As a matter of fact, I dread it, but I feel I must do something. I've been pouring over old photos, recordings where I played guitar and we sang together, emails and notes, to try to hang onto something. It may sound nuts, but I have her phone, so I called it the night she passed and left a voicemail telling her how sorry I was for the way things had gone, that I'm happy she's in Heaven and that I love her, in some hope that she might hear me. It's just me and our little dog Sadie now. She knows something is wrong, because the last time she saw Mama, she was in a bad way. She's all I have left. My Daughter lives on the other coast and she offered to fly out when we learned of Susie's status, but I waved her off because I had a feeling she wouldn't be able to make it here on time and money is tight. I'm sorry for the long read, but this is the way I have to deal. I'm working on a photo collage for myself, her Daughters and the park memorial we plan to have. I've put together a song list for it, many of which Susie loved and in some cases requested for this very purpose. I will likely do a lot of praying, crying, writing and I'm sure I will write her a song. Past experience dictates that there will also be a lot of music in my future. These are the things I have found in my life, that have helped me recover from tragedy.
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