As I mentioned in a post on Facebook the other day, my kids and I have thought of Mark this past week as we have been vacationing at Disneyland and Universal Studies. Mind you, we/I think of Mark every day. But we've been especially reminded of him this past week and of the trip that he, I and three of my younger kids took to Disneyland in June 2013.
And being on this trip has brought to mind another trip - the one Mark is on. Time and time again, as I proceed down the road on my own journey of adjusting to life without the man who made me feel so special and my life so complete, I have had the feeling that Mark is on a trip. He has left on a long trip, I tell myself, and there are many times when I feel/expect him to someday walk through the front door of my house. Of course, I know he won't. But it's nice to feel that. It somehow makes him feel not so far away.
I also recently referred in a Facebook post to a picture of Mark that was taken with my daughter Esther and my granddaughter Hazel in June of 2013, a week or so before we left on our trip to Disneyland. "In what now seems like a long time ago," I wrote, "in a galaxy far, far away, Mark fell in love with being a father and grandfather." There are a couple of amplifications I'd like to make to that statement.
First, Mark never had children of his own, and though he welcomed my ten into his life, this was a process that evolved over time. Because of the train wreck of my divorce, some of my children had little or nothing to do with Mark (or me) for some time. Also, Mark had to adjust to his role as father - not being a father, per se, but being a father to so many while also, after we'd been together only 18 months, adjusting to the fact that he had a terminal illness. During the almost three years following his diagnosis, it was wonderful to watch him grow in love and tenderness and acceptance in every area of his life, including that of his role as a father to my children.
Secondly - I've often written that my time with Mark now almost seems like a dream. It was so intense, so full, so well-lived, that time almost seemed to stand still during those years following his diagnosis. When I wrote of "long ago" and a "galaxy far, far away," it is not because Mark now seems like a fading memory. Quite the opposite. It's because of that time warp that we lived in. That time, along with all of the emotions, love and memories that are associated with it, are sealed in amber; preserved; never to be forgotten ... but, alas, never again to be lived.
And so, as we prepare to head home today, I'm grateful for the new memories we created this week; but I'm also grateful for the memories we created four years ago and for the sweetness I/we have felt this past week as we have remembered Mark. We all love you, Babe ... and miss you.