We’re in a “new normal” where a lot of the acute issues have dissipated. Mark is getting so much stronger that I barely do anything other than guide him when he transfers from bed to wheelchair. He’s standing regularly, but not showing signs of being ready to walk yet. His core strength is infinitely better, so much so that when he’s sitting on the side of the bed, I can try to push him over and he can defend himself.

Cognitively, he’s getting so much better. I’ve got him on a cocktail of neuro-supportive supplements, but it’s hard to say if those help or if it’s just him getting better. Speech is better, but he still sometimes says some really hilarious things. His nose was running the other day and he said, “My brains are falling out.” I guess maybe it felt that way!

I’m trying to get him back to doing some of the old things he loved, so every Sunday we do “church” online (which is Guy Finley classes) and he’s watching some of his favorite movies for the first time again. There are tons of movies I know he’s seen, but he doesn’t remember them, so we’re back at it.

I even got him back on Facebook interacting with a few people, but he quickly lost interest.

I have to remind him to do his therapy exercises, and then sometimes I catch him doing them on his own which is always a win. I have a woman who comes to help take care of him and she also cleans my house and does my laundry; she’s wonderful. Sometimes Mark asks when we’re leaving her house.

He’s been going through some separation anxiety, getting really upset if I leave, but it was better this weekend, so I am hoping he’s outgrowing it. So much of his recovery reminds me of dealing with toddlers. Kinda funny.

Healthwise, his BP has been great. He’s probably healthier than he’s been in years. His BP is stable in the 120/70s, he’s eating homemade plant-based foods with healthy oils with some salmon or grass-fed beef a few times a week.

The biggest personality change is kind of a good thing. All of his negative paranoid, sometimes angry at the world patterns are just… gone. What’s left is this incredibly sweet, gracious, loving and present man whose ability to love and show love is overpowering. He’s more expressive than ever before, which also means that sometimes he’s overcome with emotion that he doesn’t quite know what to do with. I end up just holding him as he sobs tears of gratitude for the smallest thing. He cried yesterday because I got him an In-N-Out burger. It’s the first one he’s had since last year. I guess that’s worth some tears of joy!

It’s a gift to me to be present with this level of intimacy, and old Mark would be horrified that I would tell anyone this. The tough guy facade doesn’t matter or compute anymore, so the purehearted Mark that only few of us ever got to experience is all that is left. Not really a bad thing. Something I always tried to encourage him to fully embody. It’s sad that he had to have a stroke to wipe out the things that blocked the full expression of who he really is at his core.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an experience where someone really pushed my buttons and I wanted to talk it out with him. But he wasn’t there. He was just in that pure appreciative, gratitude-filled heart space. I actually cried that my best friend was gone, who do I talk about this *bleeping* ass with? Mark was always my support team, my confidante and advisor, the person with whom I found answers when life got a little challenging. I would have never survived the last few years without him. And here I was, face-to-face with a bona fide narcissist extra premium, and my old confidant and best friend Mark wasn’t there for me. I cried for a couple of days off and on that my best friend was gone, really grieved him. As I grieved, I ended up being nudged by spirit to just let it all go and be present with the love that was there. It really was the only answer.

And then, I had to deal with the narcissist, and I survived but got triggered a bit more. And then I had to deal with the narcissist again, and everything I had been triggered on was just gone and I actually completely disarmed him and turned the tables on a situation.

I did just fine without running through my patterns of spinning on it all with Mark, and maybe I did better with the situation because I didn’t. Maybe the better strategy is just to let it all go, be love, not think and watch the world change right before your eyes.

My puzzle pieces changed, so everyone else’s puzzle piece had to change a bit in order to interact with me. And as I realized that, a message came through from someone related to the narcissist that made me realize that everything was gonna be just fine. In some respects, it appears my best friend is there for me even more than he ever was before, even if it meant I had to let go of my old way of experiencing him. I’ll take it.

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