A Day Like Every Other

Jennair,  

There were times over the past 731 days when I could’t imagine making it to this day, much less seeing it as a springboard. But it’s the only way out. Out of the pain. Out of the dark. Out of this vicious cycle of guilt that lurks just out of sight, lashing out to knock me off my feet when I least expect it. You got what you had hoped for, inflicting even more pain than I think you could have imagined. I suppose I owed it to you to suffer as I have. But I can’t do it any more. I won’t. 

Since that awful day and every day that has followed, I have measured every instant of the distance from April 23, 2018 as it crawls painfully behind me in the rearview mirror. That dreadful date on the calendar, today’s date, has had an enormous power over me, a power that, in actuality, I gave it, and only I can take away. 

The pictures taken down. The albums safely stowed. I have only the images burned in my mind, some more vivid than others, some more painful and catastrophic. But what a waste it would be to focus on the darkest, when the brightest are the most beautiful and full of life. We had our challenges, but we also shared so many wonderful things together. I will forever remember the best of them.  

It’s a day — a day like any other day. Full of memories, sad and sweet. Hopes near and far. From this day forward, I choose to simply recognize this day each year as a milestone of achievement, a vantage point from which to look back in wonder and look forward with hope and a desire to make every other day all worth it. The pain too is locked away in a box, and occasionally I will open it and taste the salt of my tears, if only to know that I am still alive. Still growing. Still moving forward.

I miss you. Now and forever.

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10 thoughts on “A Day Like Every Other”

  1. I just bought the book, I realized today was the 2 year mark of the tragedy. I truly wish you the best Mark as you move forward.

  2. I just finished the book in all of a few hours. I don’t particularly want to write all of my thoughts (don’t worry—I’m not the person who plans to tell you off) publicly. I did want to extend my heartfelt empathy for all involved.

    I can’t even begin to imagine picking up the pieces after such a tragedy. The one thing I must say is I don’t believe you failed anyone in the malicious sense. All of us are tragically human, tragically mortal. It seemed you blame yourself for everything you did not know. As a woman, I understand many other women will disagree when I say, you don’t know what you don’t know.

    Should’ve & What Ifs are always far easier to see in the present than as events are unfolding. That doesn’t lessen your pain & an internet stranger can’t ease your pain in such a simplistic message. What I hope you are able to do is live. Not simply survive—LIVE. 2 lives of women you loved were taken. It doesn’t make you a bad person. How many of us have handled relationships poorly? It’s like you won a lottery with tragedy as the prize. Make everyone aware of the story, feel, but live life. Jennair & Meredith cannot. You can be an advocate, but don’t believe you don’t deserve some form of happiness, whatever that means for you.

    With kindness & warm wishes,
    jg

    1. Wow. I like this reply. Life can be complicated and ‘snap’ happens. I just saw Mark’s story and felt very sad. I wish Jen could have made it past the dark for all involved especially herself. But I’m glad Mark is looking at this and voicing this about the importance of message involved and what can go so terribly wrong. Mark you are human like us all. You’re working towards making your story known to maybe help another and I applaud that. Excellent way to channel your emotions. Best of luck to you and cheers to future happiness.

      —Rose Ciampoli Russell
      Dorchester, Mass

  3. Dear Mark, I finished your book recently and saw the 20/20 episode some time ago. I want you to know that I feel that Jennair was abusive to you throughout your marriage. There may have been good times but the woman was obviously mentally ill. (I agree with the Borderline personality disorder.) I wanted to dislike you but could not. You did things wrong but you also did many things right. Any man or woman treated similarly would have been vulnerable to an affair. You are not responsible for the choices Jennair made. It’s your turn to breathe the fresh air, forgive yourself and move on. Jennair is still trying to hold you hostage. Release yourself from the bondage. You are a good human being who made some mistakes but that just makes you part of the human race. You have helped many with your book. You can help many more by walking away from this self inflicted torture. Listen to the song Phoenix by Dan Fogelberg. You too can rise from the ashes! I will pray that you find the peace and comfort you so richly deserve. I hope you continue to find healing from your PTSD which comes not just from finding 2 dead bodies but allowing yourself to be mistreated for 24 long years. Jennair has other choices. She chose not to take them. You have the choice to be happy. Take it. I have been happily married for 39 years. Don’t be afraid to love again. God has a great life in store for you. GOD BLESS YOU!

    I believe Meredith and Jennair are happy and free. I believe they are on either side of you kissing your cheek and cheering you on. I don’t believe either are suffering any more and they are your cheerleaders on the other side!

  4. Mark, just finished your life-changing book; I then referred my adult daughters to read it.
    I’m deeply sad for all involved. So many lessons. But I’m also so impacted by your honesty and your accountability. I feel strongly you are going to be alright❤️
    I know you made mistakes…I have been there with marriage and divorce and have deep regrets for many of my actions. However, I was told I HAD to forgive him and move on, for my own sake. I also had to forgive myself. That was the hardest to me, but absolutely imperative so that I could live again. I pray you do the same. Also, I pray that you do find that through this, you’ve begun, or strengthened, a relationship with God. He DOES forgive those who ask. He DOES have a continuing plan for your life. One huge thing you’ve already accomplished is writing about this tragedy so that others can benefit from the pain. There is so much satisfaction in helping others, and I can see many people can be helped from your experiences, esp in regard to mental health issues.
    God bless you and like some of the others have said, GO LIVE!
    I hope you will continue to write.

  5. “Jennair turned her eyes away from me and stared Meredith down. She leaned in to whisper into her ear, while pointing her index finger and accidentally striking Meredith in the head. I couldn’t hear what she said. Meredith didn’t move a muscle.“

    Mark, this passage hit me like a ton of bricks!! When I caught my husband having an affair on me and our children I was blinded with anger over the joy and happiness his mistress had in breaking up our family. I confronted her and my husband at a restaurant in front of her parents. Calling her a heartless whore I told her he was all hers and that I could not wait till “karma” could up to her!! After screaming that in a crowded restaurant I saw the shock and fear In her mother’s eyes….. it was obvious that woman believed in Karma and she instantly feared for her daughter. Now ten years later I have to admit I take zero joy that their son was born with autism and she has multiple sclerosis.

    You and Jennair’s marriage consoler encouraged empathy for each other. I wish Meredith had shown empathy for Jennair. Your book is incredibly raw and honest. It must be incredibly painful for the Sullivan and the Cox families. Please continue to show them empathy…. they need it.

  6. I am so proud of you, Mark. I know that day wasn’t easy. The book has given me a lot more insight on just what was going on and a better idea of the struggles each of you faced. My heart is with you always.

  7. The raw honesty in the below passage is absolutely stunning. Having been in Jennair’s situation, it strips you of all confidence in yourself or the world around you. Your stripped of any control in your life and feel the person who loves you the most can’t tell you they want you out of their life. But at the same time your expected to understand and honor that! For you not to answer Jennair’s pleas is hurtful enough, but for Jennair to also knew you were buying Meredith a ring must have been a nightmare come true.

    Passage page 195
    “By being nice to me,” she said with a whimper. “Making me feel like we had a chance.” And then like a switch, her sadness turned to anger, her voice raising, demanding an immediate answer. “Right here and now! Tell me that you have no intention of working on our marriage at all! You have no interest in going to counseling again. And you do want a divorce. If that is how you truly feel.” “I told you like I told Richard,” I said in frustration. “I don’t want to make a rash decision or a wrong decision. He said slow it down. Let it play out. Understand your feelings. And then come out on the other side of it with clarity. I mean, that’s what I need, Jennair.” But she had no patience for my indecision. She kept pushing and pushing for intimate personal and sexual details about my relationship with Meredith. And she wanted an immediate decision about our plans for the future. Nothing else would satiate her. “I’m not going to use what you say against you. I’m not going to go cause any more trouble. Knowing is for me,” she insisted. “I need to know for my own personal health.”

  8. Hi Mark, i have just finished reading your book, I came across it on true accounts on kindle. What an amazing heartfelt depiction of your life and the lives of the two most important women in your life. I cannot tell you how sorry I feel that it turned out this way, You always think that after a long relationship you would be able to be civilised and accept what your spouse wanted/didn’t want, unfortunately, emotion doesn’t always allow that, One thing my husband taught me, (we have been together since I was 15) was that you should never rely on another person for your happiness and that you share your life, you don’t give it away, I fully respect this and would hope that, should this ever happen to me, I could let him go, safe in the knowledge that I loved him enough. Sadly , your wife was incapable of this. I really feel for you and hope you are able to find peace and some modicum of happiness in your life now. kindest regards Jacqueline

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