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December 19, 2022

As I mentioned in the introduction of this blog, grief is part of me now, but I also find true joy daily. There have been days I haven't felt like waking up, but those days don't come along anymore. I still have moments of sadness, emptiness, loneliness, and longing most days. The hurt doesn't floor me as it did. I was lucky that most of my memories with Mark were pure energy and fun, so when memories pop up, I laugh through my tears.

Mark Rogers believed life is a precious gift worth experiencing to the fullest. That is the legacy I choose to carry on. I am still determining where this blog and my stories will go, but my initial intent is to talk about grief and sadness while also finding joy, hope, and love. I can feel these emotions without being defeated.

One of Mark's favorite books was Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. In his book, Taleb describes the term this way:

"Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better."

Mark was such a believer in this concept of growing from hardship. He didn't want just to survive this life, he wanted to fully live life. That meant growing from every suffering and disaster instead of merely staying where you are. 

He did most things unlike anyone else, but the way he embraced mortality was one of the most unique. He had just finished this tattoo on his arm, an homage to Memento Mori, which translates to remember that you must die. During 2020 when Covid shut the world down, we spent a fair amount of time talking about death. That year was probably the best year of my life because while Jenn was finishing her doctorate program, Mark and the kids practically lived with us. We talked about everything. Among the many weird things we shared, we planned each other's funerals, and I'm not kidding, down to the music and everything. Talan had all the music Mark wanted at his funeral because the three of us had just talked about it. I learned a lot about Mark, I learned a lot about Talan, and I learned a lot about myself that year. We did a lot of introspective work. Little did we know.

If you follow me here, I won't only be talking about grief from loss, either. I will write a lot about marriage and the suffering, grief, and growth through trials in marriage. Talan and I walked side-by-side with Mark and Jenn for a long time. We let each other get close enough to see the ugly sides of marriage. Fortunately, we had the mutual goal to support each other and the strength not to lose heart along the way. We have so much learning and growing to do, but there is an acute awareness that life is precious. This tragedy hasn't proven my resilience, it has shown me that I am antifragile!