Mark Pace
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  • Lille
  • France
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At 12:47pm on November 14, 2017, Richard Turner said…

Hi, Mark.   I was responding to someone who's new to this (and it has been years since I have been on this site) and I saw your last note from August 2015, so I figured I'd reach out and find out how you are doing.

I have been with the guy I began dating in late 2015 for a year and a half now.  He is very different from Drew, but I can honestly say we have a very comfortable relationship.  Not ready to get married again (hmm, not sure I ever will be) but I probably am married in the commitment sense.  

Otherwise life trundles on, decently.  My old company got acquired, so I got (a little) stock, and a decent position in the new company (alas, I need to stay there a while to vest some additional stock).  Am working a bit on the side with some friends in DC; we nearly had a new company started, but it fell apart, and in hindsight I think they realized they should have brought me in sooner (we'll try this again in January).

It's the holiday season, and I always do it up big:  a large (2 meter) Christmas tree in my living room (it's an open concept house), a cute little 1960's rotating aluminum one in my den (which is somewhat retro anyway, a cool glass room on the side of the house), and lots of smaller decorations (I even swap out china sets, but it's more for display as some of the kitchen cabinets are glass).  It gets going with a large house party on the 2nd weekend in December (we put out a huge buffet, and it's usually 25-30 friends who end up coming, always a risk of a snowstorm... and this year, we hired a pianist so there'll be live Christmas music) and then it's a countdown to Christmas and the New Year.  

I'm a "foodie" (skilled amateur cook) so the holidays are a great excuse to cook anyway.  And then it's a few bleak months of winter (I am contemplating getting back skiing again - I have a bum knee but I have been exercising a lot and I think a brace will do the trick) and I frankly don't mind the winter.   And then it's spring and the cycle repeats.

Did you change positions?  And have you settled things with Bertrand's mother (she seemed to need to some looking after when we last spoke).  I hope all is well.

Wishing you the best,


At 4:18pm on May 3, 2016, Mark Pace said…
Dear Robert, it's great you are close to your family for help. My partners passing was very strange as we were supposed to be married and my family had arrived for the wedding but Bertrand passed away suddenly two days before, so I was surrounded by friends and family at the beginning. However afterwards I was very alone after everyone left.
At the beginning all I wanted to do was talk about Bertrand now even though I will never forget him it is very different, our lives keep going even though it seems impossible.
I was at a wedding and someone said said to me move meet new people as your friends miss him and need to talk about Bertrand and even if they don't mean to they pull you pack. Maybe he is right, but at the moment I like being pulled back, I like remembering.
Please take care of yourself, it all hurts, but move even if it's just a small walk, get out everyday.
At 3:54pm on May 3, 2016, robert j crowley said…

Thank you Mark - I am open to anything that would help.  Even if it means meeting someone else.  I'm so glad you did - I am almost sad to even post that I am open to someone else but I really can't be alone and I know my friend isn't coming back.  IF there is someone out there for me I'll take them now because I am REALLY alone in so many ways.  I have moved in with my family to keep me comforted but it will get old soon enough I am sure. Ah well.  Merci!

At 2:49pm on August 14, 2015, Richard Turner said…

Hello, Mark.

It has been nearly a year since your post.  How are you doing?  Myself, life is finally getting back to normal - whatever that is.  At least I can say that I now see my life as my life, not "our life," and I have been dating somebody and while I'm not sure he's the love of my life I know that I no longer try to compare him, or my past life, with my current life.  And life presents many opportunities as long as you continue to be open to seeing them.  My work has changed for the better, I have done many things that I wanted to do but never got around to them, and I have found some inner peace and solace.  I hope you are doing well and that your life is coming together.  Life is all about gaining and losing - nothing in life lasts forever.  Richard

At 10:26pm on March 27, 2015, Brad Much said…
Hi Mark-

I lost Thom on July 13. I still can't fathom it. I became so disoriented that I walked away from my job and everything. The one advantage is that it's forced me to think about this new life head on as I am trying to put my life back together. But I am so glad to have found this site to connect with others in the same situation. We now belong to a club we never knew existed and did not really wish to join. But we can find solidarity and solace in this shared experience.

At 9:41am on August 19, 2014, Richard Turner said…

Wow, Mark.   I just read your heart-rendering post to the group, and first let me add my sympathies to the many others you've already received.   And second, what you're going through is what all of us who have lost spouses have gone through - it is enormous, dark, overwhelming, and we feel so powerless.

Yet you were so surrounded by love you are lucky beyond measure - you just can't see that now.  That you did reach out to the rest of us says that you do see and understand that life is for the living and none of us is immortal.  You are in that struggle right now, for all of us must choose life or death:  our late spouses pull us to the grave, yet life pulls us back to the living. 

Simply because you reached out, I think you've already chosen, and you've chosen life.  Gosh it isn't easy - I wish there was a formula so we would know when the pain would stop, when the memories would become beautiful versus painful, when we could see the world with our own eyes and appreciate it.   Yet all those things do come.  I had lived through the passing of both parents, and it was deeper yet the same process with my spouse. 

At first I didn't believe it would be the same; it didn't seem like there was an end, nothing was right anymore.  Yet one very ordinary day, a memory was triggered and it was pleasant, and the accompanying angst wasn't there.  And I knew - the healing had begun. 

It's nearly a year; I don't even dread the anniversary (I think all my friends do!).  I so treasure all the good memories, and all the bad ones are fading so quickly that I have to concentrate to remember them.  At first I felt a bit guilty - how could I leave him and move on - but then I realized this is what I'm supposed to do.  When someone leaves us, it is just that. 

Tomorrow night I will see the guy I started spending time with last month; he's nothing like my spouse, and I don't even know if I want another relationship.  Yet the wonderful part is here is a person who knows nothing of my spouse, who has his own emotional needs and desires and wants, and I am challenged - much as I was through my very happy 12-year-marriage - to bring my "A game."

Life goes on, and we go with it.  I sense that you, too, will have a life that extends far beyond this dark chapter.  Treasure what you had, revel in the love that surrounds you even now, and look at the sky from time to time (odd?  - not really, I found it helped remind me just how insignificant we all really are). 

I even found that golden hawks ride the thermals above my house, and there is a falcon nesting somewhere nearby AND a family of hummingbirds (in suburbia - who knew?).  Did I wish I could share these discoveries with my spouse?  At first yes, but then I understood that these revelations were for me.  Perhaps I'll share them with the new guy - or perhaps not.

Remember, it is your journey, and you can ask whomever you wish to accompany you, but it will always remain your journey.   And it does get better, the heart really does heal and most surprising there are few scars - just memories you can truly enjoy for what they are, not for what they might have been. 

Good luck in Lille (I used to live in Europe and had supplier called IPC-Nordoc who was in Lille, took the train many times).


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