I started writing this a couple of weeks ago, around the time that, just a year prior, the boys and I were in Mark’s room on the rehab unit (aka, in the old folks home) playing “31.” Mark was overwhelmed by dizziness, nausea, headaches, but at his request, we’d all gone for a drive. We had an evening as a family, not whole but together.

I stopped writing, set this down and got busy doing something else. In other words, I procrastinated. I do that. It’s a character defect that has gotten worse during grieving. I was doing better, had begun to be a little more organized and efficient. I’m still better than I was, but I’ve backslid.

Nine days away. We’re edging up closer and closer to the anniversary.


In the earliest days after Mark died, I was not alive. I was lost and sleepwalking on the verge between here and nothingness. I had no attention span. I could barely manage to get through a magazine article and comprehend what I’d read, much less read a book. My thoughts were full of potholes, and unraveled threads.  I’d struggle with conversations because I couldn’t focus long enough to listen to what you were saying. 

As I began to return to the world, Depression met me at the door. So did Anger. Resentments. Jealousy. Desperation. Need. Loneliness. And Guilt, Guilt, Guilt, Guilt.

Some time after New Years, I began to feel the shift. Those hardcore feelings are still with me, but I am also not as foggy-brained. It’s easier for me to get up and away from Depression. With medication, and a regular exercise regimen, I am seeing promising results . (I’m also seeing a massage therapist and a chiropractor because there’s a price to pay for activity after sitting on your can for over two years.)

What has come clear, or somewhat clearer, is that I am capable of choosing. I can sit around wishing for a better past. I can berate myself for not getting up and going straight to the hospital on the morning that Mark died. I can second-guess us and the doctors to the moon and back. I can feel like the worst parent in the world because, once again, I’m working and my kids are making their own dinner and the house is a wreck.

Or, I can choose to get up a little earlier in the morning, get my tennis shoes on and move. I can choose to eat something healthy instead of something easy. I can sit at home and feel lonely, or choose to send a text, an email, a message on Facebook. I can pick up a meditation book (my favorites: “Healing After Loss” by Martha Whitmore Hickman, and “The Little Book of Prayers” edited by David Schiller) and read a paragraph, and see if there’s a message in it for me today.


About Vicki Caroline Cheatwood

Writerly. Rebooting. Evolving. Searching for great chicken salad.
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