A New Road, A New Normal

My husband, the father of my teenage sons, died 18 days ago.

I am blogging about “the new normal” to save my sanity. I hope to be of service in the process.

Mark was a throat cancer patient. His official diagnosis came on his 46th birthday, and he died less than two months after his 48th birthday, from complications from radiation therapy.

This blog is a continuation – an attempt at a continuation – of the journey that I recorded in Mark’s CaringBridge site, found here:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/markdaves.

Fresh grief. Reality is still unreality.

I understand that I have not had a conversation (well, not a two-way conversation) with my husband since March 21, 2012, the night before he died. I understand that 18 days have gone past me like a shot. I also understand that it seems like ages have passed since I got the early-morning phone call to rush to the hospital, “He’s not doing well at all.”

I know that the memorial service was attended by 400 witnesses. I have held the ashes in my hands, seen the tiny fragments of calcium, bleached white.

Doesn’t matter. Can’t be true. Not real. Can’t make me know it.

I’m still half-waiting for Mark to come out of the shower, ala Bobby Ewing, and laugh at me for crying over a bad dream.

A blessing, sure enough. If reality hit all at once, I would probably run mad. I might just do it anyway. (In fact, I almost titled this blog “Running Mad,” just to get the urge to run mad out of the way, but it turns out somebody else owns that URL. )

It will take time, I know that. It’s also going to take some therapy, too.

The last six months of Mark’s illness were awful, with ambulances and emergency rooms, the stuff that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders are made of. As the worst-possible scenario started to form into a likely outcome, in a precious moment of meditative stillness, a voice came to me, cutting through the fear and dread and doubt. It said, essentially, “If you can write about it, you’ll get through it.”

The CaringBridge site was my saving grace and my release, and the best way to communicate with the people who loved and carried Mark, and me, and our kids, through the terrible blessing of cancer.

This site, I hope, will help carry me through the “new normal”of life without Mark.

We had 24 years, 4 months, and 15 days of togetherness. You don’t just get over that, and a rough visit to CancerLand, overnight.

So, here we go….


About Vicki Caroline Cheatwood

Writerly. Rebooting. Evolving. Searching for great chicken salad.
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20 Responses to A New Road, A New Normal

  1. kimberlynknits says:

    Oh, VIcki, if I could take this grief and pain from you, I would. But I can’t, and I’m not even sure that would be right. Bless you, my dear friend, for continuing to share your burden with those who love you.

  2. ellen osburn says:

    Yes Vicki. This is good medicine

  3. bybeebooks says:

    You are a magnificent writing warrior.

  4. Shelley Watts Stevenson says:

    Vickie, I’m so deeply sorry for you and your family’s loss of Mark. I don’t know you very well and didn’t know Mark, but through Lisa I have been aware of your journey. I just want you to know that I will follow your blog and will be praying for all of you all along the way. I’m praying for the peace of God that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. And for His grace to keep you in the darkest places.

  5. Kelly Cotten says:

    Still describing the leaves, down through the winter of your discontent. Just so. I’ll ride along with you, as long as it takes.

  6. Alan and Ann Woods says:

    we send acres of healing light your way from sunny Ohio. Cherish each one of those 24 years, 4 months, and 15 days — few people are so blessed.

  7. Lulu says:

    Vicki, I am so glad you are writing this! You wrote with such astounding clarity and honesty throughout the entire ordeal of Mark’s cancer. It was stunning, really. You are one of the most courageous people I’ve ever met. And most self-aware! But I guess that comes from being a writer. So yes, write because this IS therapy. And your writing is always a thing of beauty. I love you my chosen sister. I am on this journey with you, as are so many others. We will continue to hold you up, literally if need be. I love you, Vicki-chan.

  8. Becky Murphy says:

    Beauiful writing! I will be following your courageous story! I know all to well the tragedy of cancer, I watched my mother suffer for years and spent her last month enjoying every moment with her! Please don’t stop writing…..

  9. Suzanne Lavender says:

    Thanks for letting us know that this is here. And thanks for continuing to share your stories, along with Mark’s and the boy’s.

  10. Marsha Webb says:

    Thanks for sharing these chapters of your life. Blessings on you and your family Brave Vicki.

  11. write, write, write, write, write your way through this dark time
    big, big hug,


  12. T.A. Taylor says:

    I must say thank you; for your courage and your pain. For your clear and beautiful vision of life and death and love. Most of all, love.

  13. Cindee says:

    I, and so many many others, will ride along with you on the boat crafted by your words and memories…. and may the journey help you to heal and return back into the open

  14. Christi Moore says:

    We’re all here and we love you!

  15. Jeanette says:

    OMG I know all too well how you feel. My humans died almost three years ago and all I did for the first two was breathe and grieve. Call me anytime. I can help you through it. 817 201 4316

  16. Kevin Pybas says:

    Selfishly, I was hoping you would continue to write, and to share what you write. There is much beauty and grace in your pain and loss, if that makes sense. Great blessings to you and Ethan and Caleb.

  17. laycegardner says:

    You write. I’ll read. We will all mourn.

  18. Chris Hauge says:

    My deepest sympathy hour goes to all of you. Keep writing. Mark is so worth remembering.

  19. dehelen says:

    Reblogged this on Red Crested Chatter and commented:
    This is a new blog from a fine writer and dear friend of mine: Vicki Cheatwood. Her work speaks for itself.

  20. Lorie M says:

    This is not a torch you chose to bear, dear Vicky, but you’re lighting the way beautifully and inspirationally. XO

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