Funny how time seems to alternate between slow motion and evaporation. On the 20th, it will be 5 years since Mark passed away. While it often seems like yesterday, when I take a serious inventory of life events since he has been gone, it almost seems like much longer. Odd how that is. Here's a photo of us at our high school graduation party...so in love and relieved to be out of school and headed to college. Life was so simple then! The beginning of our life together.
Looking back, we had many chapters over the years, and each one was unique and special. Oh, and some of those were easier or harder than others, but that's what life is all about, yes? We had so many adventures and lived true to ourselves and followed our hearts. When Mark became ill with sarcoma, the docs removed it and we all hoped it was behind us. Then, a few months later, it was back with revenge. The good part of his illness was that he only had to be caught up in the "fighting cancer" lifestyle for a year and a half. He was not bedridden at all and able to live fairly normally up until the end. And, thankfully for both of us, he was able to pass on at home in our bed with me at his side and daughters nearby. It was beautiful, heartbreaking and the most spiritual experience I've ever had. Even though it isn't the best shot, here is a photo of us on our last Christmas Day together--about 8 months before he died. Chemo had taken a toll on both of us, but we loved spending some time in the back yard with Opal and Pearl--our two Great Pyrenees.
Each year as this time rolls around, I go into a different sort of existence. I'm always grateful for the many years we had together (1967-2004), it is difficult not to grieve for the time we lost. As many of my friends often tell me, I try to focus on the positive aspects of life. So, for the most part, I think of how fortunate Mark and I were to have so many years together. But, and it's a big but--I miss him with every heartbeat. And it's interesting how the universe works. Just when I think I'm slipping into a deep state of grief again, a butterfly or bird will fly by; or one my dogs will do something that only Mark and I would find funny...then I realize that life is just like that. Please remember him on August 20.
Pearl is becoming extremely limited in her movements, and, honestly, she seems like she's often in a bad mood. Her barking is far more excessive now than ever before, and I take note of that. Some days, her mobility is manageable, many days I watch her drag her weak leg. When I begin thinking about Pearl's life and how much is left of it, I have another one of many heart-to-heart talks with my vet and a couple of dear friends. As my vet says, letting go is as much an act of love as caring for a pet throughout her life. He's right. Pearl has always been and will always be our special princess. She will let me know when she is ready to go.
Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality. Emily Dickinson