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Topics - JustMark

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Spouse, Partner Loss / A new devlopment I forgot to mention
« on: May 03, 2017, 01:15:16 PM »
On a positive note something else has changed since Gina passed. Years ago I used to play bass guitar and was well on my way to being a studio musician or hitting the studio in a band but i got older and began taking on responsibility and began  focusing more attention on college and engineering back in the late 70's. I kept my classical guitar, bass and a very small amp hoping one day I would have the time to get back into it when I had time. Sold all my other equipment. Trust me ....I had a lot of equipment. Several guitars, amps, complete wall of speaker cabinets, PA mixing board and pa speakers. mics and more. The whole 9 yards including stage lighting.

Just after Gina and I met and I moved into her place Gina noted my guitars and amp and asked me to bring them. She had asked me if I would ever play them again and I said well one day I will. My daughters are now grown and when I'm not so busy with work. I explained it had been about 25 years or more since I played anything but if she wanted me to bring them I would. Gina mentioned she had bought a keyboard years ago but gave up trying to learn. She said she still had it but was considering selling it or getting rid of it. I said well maybe sometime down the road I'll relearn that as well because keyboards were the first instrument I learned to play but stopped after I picked up guitar.

One night Gina was at her computer listening to CD's and doing some of her college homework. She was working on her certification in American Sign Language I was at my computer playing a video game keeping the sound low so as not to disturb her. When  she played a CD and I heard a song I never heard before and I really liked it. I said would you play that again and she did. About half way through the song I dug out my acoustic and pitch pipe. I asked her to stop the song and she did. I quickly tuned my guitar and asked her to play it again and I began to try and play rhythm along with the CD and after two mistakes nailed it. I told Gina what really peaked my interest was the bass line. So I dug out my bass plugged in the amp and kept the volume down a little bit and tuned it. She played the song again and in two attempts nailed the bass line. I had to stop playing because my finger tips were hurting as they had gotten soft from lack of playing. She asked me if I would be interested in playing in the church's music ministry. I said sure why not but I would need to learn the songs ahead of time if she could get me cord charts or copies of the songs as I was not used to listening to contemporary christian music and that is all Gina listened to and had tons of cd's.

Gina called her pastor up and mentioned I played bass and that she thought I would be excellent in the music ministry. I had been to Sunday services with Gina for the 3 prior weeks. Yes pastor it's Mark. He explained he would have to hear me so Gina had him stop by the house the following day on his way home from work. Pastor worked full time for the government as well as church. Anyway I set up the amp and dug out my bass and Gina played the same song from the night before and pastor listened. When it finished he looked at Gina and said "he does sound good". Gina explained I had learned the song in about 5 minutes and I hadn't played at all for almost 30 years. Pastor when I learned the song and I said "last night was the first time I ever heard the song"He asked me if I knew anymore and I explained I didn't know anymore christian songs. Just stuff from late late 70's very early 80's hard rock. I said I can work off chord charts or learn any songs during the week before I performed them on Sunday services. Pastor said OK welcome to the music ministry. I'll let sister Debbie, pastor's wife who happens to be church's singer and keyboardist,  know to send you some cord charts.

The following Sunday the pastor pointed me to sister Debbie and she handed me the cord charts for the songs that day and gave me one of those 3 to 4 inch binders of cord charts for all the songs that get performed at church. Sister Debbie pointed to a bass and amp explained I could warm up a little as service would soon be starting. Services began and we began with the same song pastor heard and the pastor then introduced me to the 750 member congregation, mentioned my back ground and said I believe he will be a blessing to our ministry. So what was this magic baseline or song? It's "Before the River Came by a group called 4him. A simple websearch and you will not miss either a video or audio of it you can listen to. Gina and I continued with that church but about a year later we moved into my house which made the commute to the church too long for us and my construction company was getting busy and I stopped playing.

Gina always loved my playing and actually missed my playing after we got into my house but working 12 hour days and trying to do other things like Gina starting the nonprofit and charity required too much time. In the summer of 2014 we began rehabbing my house in order to accommodate not only her disabilities but also mine as well as a place I could bring an engineering company I closed back in 2005 out of moth balls and roll it into an engineering department for the nonprofit and charity. We were also adding some new equipment, and a complete mechanical shop to what was just an electronics lab. Christmas of 2014 Gina gave me a Fender telecaster electric 6 string. I ordered a course in order to relearn and get back into practice. The new offices in the basement would afford me the opportunity to not only develop products to help the handicap but also a place I could set up my music equipment and relearn to play guitar and keyboards. I only played the guitar for a week and packed it up with the course I bought so that they would be safe until the new offices were done and there would be room to set things up

So a few weeks I dug out the guitar Gina gave me and also started the guitar course I bought. I like the way the course was developed and I am progressing well. So pleased with the course I order the same course for piano yesterday morning. After all I promised I would relearn it if she kept the keyboard. Gina knows I always kept my promises to her and even now still will.

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Spouse, Partner Loss / Been a month
« on: April 16, 2017, 10:48:18 PM »
It's not only Easter it's also one month since Gina passed. I still find myself pausing while doing things around the house. I reflect and remember Gina either doing the work herself or me doing the work and her coming into to chat or see if I needed help. Those memories could be any point in time since we got together and are typically happy moments I shared with her. They run from anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes and often they comfort me through out the day. As an example, when I planted the vegetable garden a couple of days ago I looked over at her rose bush and remember her trimming it.

My mom says I'm doing good in reference to adjusting to life now that Gina is gone but when no one is around there are times I'm still crying like a baby. My 3 dogs get close to comfort me as best as they know how. Sox gave me 3 false alerts for meds this month because I was crying. He's been trained to alert me for meds for panic attacks. He is not sure of the difference between crying in sorrow verses anxiety attacks so maybe he thinks he needs to treat them the same way which is not the case. Also the dogs are trying to be more playful. He has figured out what he has been trained to do for reassurance works when I cry. I'm also finding TwoToez still needs moments of reassurance and whimpers for Gina. They are slowly tapering off. I'm still finding myself having problems falling asleep and my appetite still isn't back to normal. I am making sure I am eating a salad or fresh raw vegetables around lunch time. It's what I did when contracting in the hot summers because those hot days in the sun were appetite killer days so I would eat light until after sunset and a cool shower. I also cooked me a meal two times this month as there were a whole lot of left overs from deli platters and some caseroles and my mom and daughter cooked me some meals and brought them.

I'm finding it easier to get started on somethings and others my heart still isn't in. This last month I concentrated on out door things for spring and started the vegetables. This week I'll start on indoor things like laundry, some cleaning, putting air conditioners in windows and start back on the office and half bath where I left off. I am also making sure I pick up one of my guitars or the keyboard for an hour a day. I guess you could say it's my me time. I will also start going through Gina's things as I can handle it. Get items to her family in New York, donate cloths and shoes and such. Dawn my daughter, says she will come by once a week to give me a hand with that because she knows somethings will be hard for me. Clothing wise I'm only keeping her wedding dress and bathrobe. Gina's wedding outfit was a pretty turquoise. The bathrobe because it's the very first piece of clothing I bought her. I got it for her in fall of 2007 when she moved into the house. The house got a little cool in the winter back then. First thing I did after the demo work on rehabbing the house was making the furnace and duct-work more efficient and insulated exterior walls. It's been much better these last two winters and the furnace doesn't go through that much oil now.

I'm drying out several of the roses and flowers from the funeral floral arrangements to make a few keepsakes for me, my mom and my daughter. Two days after I hung them my daughter liked how my father's keepsake turned out with his roses. So she asked about some of the flowers as she had an idea and I told here there were plenty. I was planning sort of a shadow box but I think I'll see what Dawn is thinking of. End of this week they will be ready for the preservative. For Gina's memorial service I did a poster board on how I proposed to her and how we almost got married in the hospital chapel in hospital gowns by the chaplain. Maybe for our anniversary this coming June I'll post it in here or online somewhere. I got more done then I expected with Gina's death but no where near what I normally do but at least I did something and took a few steps forward.

I guess I started this thread so I can look back from time to time to see how far I've come as time goes on. Maybe it will help others see some things that worked for me and may work for them or something they can adapt to help them. I know from my dad's death in 2001 and what I learned grieving is a process and takes time. So no need to rush and always remember, one day at a time and one step at a time equals healing over time.

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