March 27, 2017

It's been three years...

Well, that was a fun weekend!

I really didn't have many plans, but Jerry and I hosted a party on Saturday night, so we stayed very busy getting ready for that, and then recovering all day yesterday ;)

On Friday, we spent the whole day cleaning the house--so fun, right? BUT, it felt sooo good going to bed on Friday knowing that my house was crazy clean. There is nothing more motivating to clean than expecting company--I really ought to plan a get-together once a month, if only so that my house is clean!

Saturday was nice, because we actually got to have a pretty relaxing day. Since we got the cleaning done the day before, we just prepped food and drinks for later, and then hung out and had a relaxing afternoon. The whole point of having people over was to have a "game night" and play fun board games--I adore board games, but don't play them nearly often enough. So, I was looking forward to it very much!

We arranged two big folding tables in our living room so that we could fit 16 people around, and it surprisingly worked out really well. I'd never played games like Cards Against Humanity with that many people before, so I wasn't sure how it would go. I think a better number would be about 8-10 people, but we still had a blast and shared a lot of laughs. We also played Guesstures, which has been a family-favorite for years.

I am only a tiny bit sad that I don't have any pictures from the evening. I had the idea to have people put their cell phones in a basket at the door, so that we could all interact face-to-face without phones being a distraction. I even made it very enticing with this little prize basket ;)  Anyone who kept their phone in the basket was entered to win this very cool prize:

Why do airplane shots seem so much more fun then regular sized bottles?
It worked out very well! As a result, we have no photos--but sometimes that's a good thing, right? I would hate to be in high school or college right now, where everybody takes pictures and videos of EVERYTHING and posts them on the internet. I think everybody does stupid stuff in their teens and 20's. The difference between then and now is just that now, someone is always filming and posting it on social media. I try to drill it into my kids that when they are in public, they should behave as if the entire internet is watching them ;)

Anyway, the whole evening went by SO quickly. Before I knew it, I was in bed at nearly 2:00 in the morning. I woke up at around 7:00, when my mom called and told me that Noah was sick. I picked him up and took him right to Urgent Care. They said he has a sinus infection and he's starting to develop bronchitis. When Noah gets bronchitis it's BAD. I hope that we can stop it by acting early. 

When Noah and I got home from Urgent Care, the whole family decided that it would be a lazy Sunday. We put on pajamas and watched the entire Divergent trilogy together! It was the perfect day for being lazy, too--overcast and drizzly/rainy all day.

It wasn't until I was going to bed last night that it hit me--it was the anniversary of Mark's death. I simply cannot believe that it's been three years since he died. I still think about him all the time. It hasn't really gotten any easier to talk about him, either.

Jerry and I recently drove someplace that was near where Mark's nursing home was (where we made MANY trips to visit in 2014); and when I realized how close we were to it, I noticed the McDonald's that I would buy his strawberry shakes from and the Long John Silver's where I bought his hush puppies. And "fancy" coffee at Starbucks :) (I will never be able to see those things without thinking of Mark)

I've thought several times (and I even brought it up to my therapist) that maybe I could go to Mark's group home where he spent most of his life, and befriend someone there who doesn't have family or friends. Someone that I could do fun things for, like my family did for Mark. I love the idea of doing this, but it's so far out of my comfort zone that I just haven't brought myself to do it yet. And I'm not sure how I would feel going back there. I've been there a couple of times to drop off treats for the men on Halloween (Mark's birthday), but I haven't stayed. It's hard. 

When Mark was dying, I felt like I had true purpose--I was so determined to make him feel loved and happy when he died! I liked doing something with meaning, even if it didn't have meaning to anyone but him. But, I know that our visits with Mark had a big impact on my kids in a positive way. It taught them compassion and selflessness in a way that I couldn't have taught them otherwise. And I'm pretty sure that Mark knew how we felt about him when he went "home home" three years ago. We all miss him dearly!

This was the last photo I took of Mark and me


  1. Taking care of children gives you purpose too-right?!

    1. That was my first thought when I read this post.

    2. I don't think it's mutually exclusive. You can find fulfillment in raising your kids, but also want/need to do other things, like helping someone during their last days/months/years on earth.

    3. I agree, but Katie's post didn't read that way, she literally said, when Mark was dying she felt like she had true purpose--that implies that she doesn't feel she has purpose when she is parenting her kids. I don't know, maybe I'm reading too much into it, maybe her word choice was unfortunate. I get wanting to volunteer, but our kids are young once, and we get one shot at parenting them, so I'm waiting to volunteer outside the home when my youngest is more independent, like a teenager. When my grandmother was dying, yes, I visited and did what I could for her, but it didn't feel like that was when I had "true purpose."

    4. Woah, I had no idea that statement would come across like I don't think there is meaning in caring for my kids! My therapist is always suggesting that I find things that give me purpose (*other than* raising my kids). I felt like I had a very clear purpose when I was visiting Mark--and my kids came with me, most of the time! It was a nice way to spend quality time together and teach my kids compassion. They loved visiting Mark. Volunteering together as a family (doing anything) is a great way to spend quality time together, in my opinion. :)

    5. Well, that is the risk of writing on the Internet! I think it was the use of the words "true purpose" that led to the misunderstanding. And I'm glad you were able to include your kids. I'm looking forward to when my kids are old enough to help volunteer at a local mobile food bank in our area--maybe something like that would be a good family service project?

    6. Katie girl don't let ppl that have nothing better to do than pick apart posts dictate weather or not you continue to write about your struggles on the internet. ANYONE that regularly reads your blogs knows that your kids are your life. Im pretty sure 99% of your readers did NOT read your post so freaky literally. Geeeeze internet trolls come under all kinds of disguises Katie. Please Don't let the antics of one compromise the good you do for more ppl than you even know1

  2. If going back to his specific group home is too hard, try asking the agency about volunteering at a different home to get to know someone else. I've worked in many group homes and quite a few of the individuals have few people who are not paid to be in their lives. Even fewer have someone who isn't paid or a family member. Find someone you really like being with and the friendship will bloom naturally. Good luck!

  3. Thinking of you and your family with the regards of the anniversary of Mark's passing. It's always a wonderful time to reflect on our loved missed ones.

    I had to laugh though. Your party gift basket and the title 'It's been three years...' made it looked like you were celebrating a sobriety anniversary! ;)

  4. Sounds like you had a similar weekend to mine! And board games are the best :)

    I lost my aunt about 7 months ago to cancer, she was thirty-six. I don't think it gets much easier as the time goes on. I feel like the daily sadness eases a bit, but when it hits you (at least for me) it's still the same punch in the gut. And special days are tough. Sending you good vibes!

  5. Even if you don't find another person from a group home to spend time with, just remember how much you did for Mark! You made a HUGE difference in his life, and that is enough. My brother is mentally challenged as well and I would be so sad if I was somehow unable to help him and he was alone. Our mother passed away this year in April, so now it's (almost) just us.

  6. Gosh, hard to believe it's three years already. I think your idea to give someone love and support when they don't have any family is wonderful. Right now you're in the thinking phase, when the time is right, you'll go over there (probably with a bag of candy) and find a new friend. I also like that you have those memory triggers which I hope put a smile on your face and make your heart happy "fancy coffee" :~) vs. sad and melancholy. Hugs to you and your family on Mark's anniversary. ~xo


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