In Sickness and in Health

2522105_sLast week I read an article, I don’t remember where, on the difficulty of caring for an ill spouse, which set my mind wandering as usual. Funny, because the very next day I noticed another article on the exact same issue. This second piece offered research information, which indicated it is more difficult to care for a spouse than a parent. Basically, because the spouse does what nurses usually do such as bathing, and administering medication. Nowadays, finances do not allow for these luxuries. Hubby thinks this piece is dark and depressing, and that may very well be, but in reality this is what happens. So, let’s begin at the beginning. You’re a young couple, 25 and 29 or 24 and 26 – that age where you believe you probably won’t even be around at the age of 50 – that’s just how far in the future you believe that number to be. The two of you are pretty familiar with the medical history of each family, but hey, at 26 you are both invincible.

Together you do everything needed to put on a wedding; paper work, blood tests, reception venues. When you stand beside each other, and repeat those vows – for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health – you understand them, the words come from the heart, you don’t even stutter when they come across your lips. However, again, that is the indestructibility of the age; the strength of you two as a couple. We would be labeled unstable if we stood there peering that far into the future, am I right? I don’t think there is anyone who has gotten married, and while standing before the minister/priest confess to thinking of gray hair, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Or, let’s just say, I don’t think anyone would admit to that. To paint a clearer picture, I remember being a young newlywed. I can’t recall what hubby and I were discussing, but he mentioned something to the effect, “You know, when I pass away. None of us are gonna live forever.” Well, can I just say how that comment upset me. But, we all grow up and mature in the process, yes?

I would liken it to a child who has been away from home for a while, or even at three-month clips. Each time he/she visits they notice the aging parent. As a couple, every once and again, when you walk by the mirror you’re halted in your steps. You wonder who that is gazing back. Your brain still thinks; continues to sum up scenarios the same as it did when you were 30, but in some shocking and accelerated means the body has not remained behind with that still young brain. Yes, most mornings, you go through the ritual – brush your teeth, shower, wash your hair, powder, lotion, what have you, and get on your way. However, every now and again, maybe once a month, that not so young person hiding behind the 30-year-old brain runs into, and has to acknowledge the seasoned body. And, can I just say, it’s like being smacked in the face by a three hundred pound Sumo wrestler.

With all of this in mind, no one is privy to which body will begin to fall apart first – you each just go about your day-to-day chores. My co-worker told me a heartbreaking story of a senior, in his eighties belonging to her church. One Sunday, after service, he broke down sobbing in a back room. He had a wife with dementia, and he had been the sole caregiver. Unfortunately, this poor gentlemen had reached his end, and just had to let it all out – for better, for worse…..in sickness and in health, remember? Where am I going with this story? Couples get married everyday. They begin their lives together, but no one is able or thinks or cares to peer that far into the future. Whatever life hands out, you have to take. Once the medical issues begin, no one gets divorced or runs away, because they’re afraid of what may happen next. You “buck up” and deal with it all, no matter how minuscule or how serious. Usually, by this time, you’ve been married so many years, one cannot think of life without the other. What made me want to expand on this topic? Because, like most of my friends, we are right around the corner from this situation, and I do not know if I’m ready. But, as I said before we all have to take what life hands out. What is it that I believe works best in all of this? An attitude of positivity.

Photo courtesy of 123rf.com

My Grandparents

Another Christmas, another year – it all takes me to thoughts of family, snow, cold weather, and turkey.  I thought of another topic for today’s post, but this holiday got the best of me.  Even still, I realized, no one will be on line reading anything, right?  Everyone is spending time with family they haven’t seen for a year, and welcoming the loyal friends who stop by with gifts and warm wishes.  And, here’s hoping you are blessed enough to have all of those things.

Again, when I think of this particular holiday the first person, other than my mom who comes to mind is – my grandmother.  What an influence on my life.  Actually, both grandparents made a huge impact, as many do.  I bring them up because tomorrow, December 26th, is their wedding anniversary.  They would have been married something like 85 years; there ages 107 and 103, respectively, but, no one lives that long.  I just managed to bring my mother’s bible in the house from the garage where it’s been since I moved some of her things here six years ago.  I certainly thought she had that date listed there, as she had everything else noted.  To my surprise, she did not.  Therefore, I had to dust the cobwebs from my brain, and go in search of a memory.  The picture below is the two of them on their wedding day – December 26, 1928 – she eighteen, and my grandfather twenty-two, and from this union came three girls and two boys.

Use This one

Bubble lightsMy memory takes me traipsing in to the woods for that perfect tree. She with the ax in one hand, and mine in her other. Of course, sometimes she’d break out the aluminum tree, remember those? But, the real one had those wonderful bubble lights, paired with huge ones – the kind that are only used outside now. What a wonderful time.  Being a very crafty person, she made star-shaped pieces of cheesecloth where she’d cut holes in the center, starch, and then, paste red, green and cobalt blue stars all over them. She’d slide them onto candles, and when set aflame the colors from the sticky stars would reflect over everything.  I think they were my favorite. Actually, it is kind of hard to choose, because I’d also get a little loopy with those bubble lights.  As a small child, I had no idea how they bubbled – I only envisioned it as magical. And, the decorations didn’t end in the living room. She would surely always know when she had out-done herself, because every car that came down that street, once they reached her house, you could hear it slow to take in the sights.

By New Year’s Eve, Granddad would take over and fill a shoebox with Christmas candy. I have never been a hard candy person, but this satisfied him. He’d add an apple, orange, and assorted nuts, which I’d eat sparingly, as to have enough left to watch the football game and Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day – all while sharing the sofa with him. Not to watch the game specifically, but just being near him made me happy.  When you recall the things you did as a child, doesn’t it all sound silly?  Anyway, as you can tell this has been a salutation to those grandparents. Even if they are not here to celebrate any longer – I continue to honor the time I spent with them. Because they made me who I am today. Happy anniversary to you both, and I still miss you.Christmas Candy

Through The Years

Yesterday we celebrated Valentine’s Day.  A day to show that significant other how much we care for them.  Yes, I know, I’m a day late, but I believe this is one holiday that carries over the entire week.  And, you guessed it – I am the forever hopeful romantic.  I’m the one who believes the romance must continue to burn to keep the clock ticking on a relationship, no matter how long someone has been married.  I write women’s fiction, but with strong romantic elements, and again it’s probably the eternal romantic in me.  I trust that love and affection are like the four elements of nature; earth, water, air and fire – we, as humans cannot survive without them.  Our Creator designed it that way.  Many times it’s difficult for us, (my husband and myself) to look back at the years.  Quite a few couples that we started out with have gone their separate way, quite some time ago now – while with us, we’ve just become certain either one of us could not get along without the other.  I think the longer you’re together, it kind of comes to that end.  For sure, after the long stretch we’ve put in, I can again, only now say with confidence, our meeting way back when definitely had ordainment written all over it.

What keeps two people together through the years – while others seem to lose interest shortly after the vows.  I think a lot of it has to do with integrity.  I’ve mentioned this before, it’s about doing the right thing, and I don’t mean staying together as a miserable couple, because divorce is wrong under any circumstance.  What I mean is, we so quickly forget, we don’t have to answer to other people – the number one person to worry about is our Creator; the One that sees all and knows all.  I also believe a person does what they have witnessed over time; repeating the cycle, so to speak.  Take a gander back at your parents, your grandparents.  Did they have staying power?  My parents were separated by death – so were my grandparents, but after forty-three years, and the same holds true for my husband’s parents.  I think something has gone wrong with the act and sanctity of marriage.  Maybe, many times, the woman is so caught up in her childhood dream of lace and flowers that she forgets everything else.  Or maybe the guy wants so desperately to have a family.  I don’t know, but please believe, if the relationship is not working out or if you’re questioning the amount of time you may be able to spend with the person you’re with, simply forego the altar; one must have faith that another – the right one – is farther down the road.  Because, you see, when there is real love, it’s power will never mislead.

We as adults are quite a long way from handing out candy hearts in grammar school.  But, maybe you’re with the one you did hand a sweet heart to in the tenth grade.  If that’s the case, then you really deserve a trophy – talk about a fairy tale.  I always thought it best, two people should be from complete opposite ends of the earth, if you will.  Not someone that lived down the street or around the corner, that would also include someone you went to school with, because that puts them in your zip code, if you know what I mean.  What I’m getting at is, shouldn’t there be a “little” mystery about the person you spend your life with?  How romantic is it to remember all the people coming and going from his/her house?  Even if the visitors were spending time with their brothers or sisters.  Does that make any sense?   But, don’t get me wrong, that high school love is wonderful, yet rare; like teaching, where it takes a special individual to make it work.

What does it take to make a marriage withstand time or any curve-balls from hell thrown by the enemy?  How can you know right up front if your meeting has been pre-ordered?  I’m sorry, I wish I could give the solid answers for which so many are searching.  Actually, that resp0nse may require the assistance of the Archangel Gabriel or at the least, the “Long Island Medium.”  However, there are three things that make the top of my “to do” list – respect each other, let a lot of things roll off your back (pick your battles), and the word “Perfect” does not exist.  Okay….how about that? Do you think that’ll get you to at least year ten?

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto

Remembering

Yesterday marked the fourth anniversary of my mother’s passing, which of course set me thinking of parents and what a wonderful thing it is if you still have, at least one.  I loss my dad when he turned forty-one, so for many, many years it had just been my mother and I.  She said she would never remarry, and she did hold true to that vow.  Parents – they are to us as breath is to life.  When we think of them, why do we automatically remember them younger?  Is it a more pleasant memory or is that just human nature?  Do we enjoy looking at that picture from the child’s point of view, because we like reminiscing about the nurturing parent?

I know that some of you reading this now may be having some challenges, but on the other side of whatever it is you’re going through, you will still have the memories.  Therefore, cherish the good ones.  Isn’t it funny, and we all know this – you’re enjoying your mother and father; life is breezing along, then out of nowhere, the roles have to switch.  I’m sure, however, we think we were never as much of a problem to them as a youngster, as they are to us as a senior.  But, we don’t know that.  Can you recall everything you did in your youth?  You certainly don’t know how good or not so good you were as an infant.  You’re only knowledgeable from what you were told.

My mother-in-law lived to the rich age of ninety-two and for the most part her health proved fairly good until maybe her eightieth year.  Meaning, there were many things she could still do on her own, and her seven children weren’t really required to do much, up until that point, except be there.  If you think about it, maybe it’s divvied up by how good or bad you were.  I mean, if you were a great baby and a halfway decent teenager, then your job in caring for them won’t be as bad.  I don’t know – that’s a stupid analogy isn’t it?   Regardless, my mother always said, “Once an adult, twice a child;” think about that for a minute or two, because it’s so true.  Nevertheless, you still take care of their needs.  A parent/child relationship is by far the number one factor on the social scale.  In fact, that connection affects every other bond you will ever have.  Every single issue a person faces and/or reacts to gets traced back to that beginning, and even if the early days weren’t a pleasant recollection, once the parent is gone one has to live and respond – either good or bad – to that the remainder of their years.

I said all of that to say, love, enjoy, and spend lots of time with your folks.  Because, even if they were dysfunctional, they always loved you – even through the dysfunction.  And, once they’re gone, that’s it.  As my mother reached a certain age, I don’t recall the number, but I gave up correcting her or arguing with her.  Whatever ludicrous thing she came up with at any particular moment, I would simply smile and listen or depending on what distorted idea she had that day, I’d just respond with interest and allow her to explain.  I say distorted because that generation thought on a completely different level than us, the same as we appear, I’m certain, to our children.  So make today, if you can, a kind of “Parent’s Day.” Make the long overdue telephone call, just to say “I love you” or send that bouquet of flowers to say you’re thinking of them.  I want to recall every conversation, every hug, every kiss, every smile, every tear, because for me that’s all I have left.

Photos courtesy of iStockPhoto

Right Place – Right Time

I am not a believer of karma, coincidence or some scientific explanation of the universe and our place on this planet.  I trust our lives are already written, planned and laid out like a giant chessboard.  We are gently nudged, yet forced to go in the direction that has been pre-designed.  Let me explain.

On a warm and bright May afternoon, many years ago, I happened to be walking down Seventh Avenue in Manhattan with a friend when I met my future. If anyone needs a refresher, go back to my Gracefulness & Humility post, and yes, I’m talking about that “Deliver Us From Eva” thing, yet again – my mantra.  But, when I talk about the board game effect……let me back up.

I had worked at my job at a Women’s Sportswear company for some time.  I made many friends, although, kind of like my heroine in my first book; my soul mate continued to elude me.  At that company we received fifteen percent of our annual salary every spring.  Suddenly, the rules changed, and they decided to incorporate that money in our weekly pay.  Well, let me just say, most of the employees were up in arms, and one by one made plans to leave.

Now, this new development didn’t upset me, I had no real desire to leave.  To this day, I have no explanation why I made the decision other than the subconscious nagging at my soul.  With that in mind, I too decided to break my ties and find new employment.  My move though, took me to Men’s Sportswear, and offices out of the “Garment Center,” so to speak.  I now had to leave Broadway, and take myself over to Seventh Avenue; cattycornered to Madison Square Garden or the southwest corner of  Seventh Avenue and Thirty-First Street.

Before the end of the first year, a friend and I were strolling along when she poked me.  “Oh, Ronnie, there’s that guy I told you about.”

“What guy,” I replied as I stopped, turned and scanned the area.

“No,” she whispered loudly. “Don’t look.  It’s the guy that looks like Billy Dee Williams.”

“Yeah, but I don’t see him,” I said.

With that, she tugged me along; we continued walking and began our descent into Pennsylvania Station.  Out of nowhere, this person eased next to me and began moving down the stairs.

“Going my way?” he asked.

Now, the “Eva” in me must have been napping, maybe on vacation without me – this is what I mean when I say pre-planned, because the heifer, I think, had to be….I don’t know, shopping in the Village, maybe?  “It depends on which way you’re going.” I answered, somewhat coy.

Now, he begins his rap. “My friend there,” he said, turning and pointing. “He told me I wouldn’t come over and talk to you.  I couldn’t let a pretty lady like yourself get away.  Why don’t you give me your number, so that I can call you sometimes?”

Although nice, I had to be short.  “Look it up.  It’s in the phone book under Chess King.” (Remember them)?

Wait, they’re in the mall.  There’s no mall in Manhattan, he thought.

With that, my friend and I slipped away.  A couple of days later he called.  Six weeks after that he asked me to marry him, and now, more years than I’d like to admit have mysteriously slipped from our grasp.  He had been assigned to a job directly across the street from Madison Square Garden, and had only been in the City for a few months.  What I believe is that he had been placed there just long enough for us to meet.  Once we got engaged – only a few months passed and he had to move out of that job and back to work in New Jersey.  So believe me when I say; luck, happenstance…….I think not.  If anyone would like to share, please feel free. If not, then I hope I have restored some memories or at least fanned the embers to create a new spark.

Also, remember – new month new pictures – travel on over to “View from the Roads,” and check out my pics for July.

http://wp.me/p1t1w4-7e – Gracefulness & Humility post

Image courtesy of Google Earth

About a Dream

Does anyone out there remember the movie “Made in Heaven” with Timothy Hutton and Kelly McGillis?  Timothy Hutton dies in a freak accident, goes to Heaven, and meets Kelly McGillis who has never seen earth, since she took life in the afterworld.  During their “thing” Kelly has to come to earth, and is delivered down the hallway of a hospital to her new parents.  Timothy finds there is a chance he can go back, and with this in mind, begs the person in charge to send him.  After some discussion, and a softening heart the Administrator breaks, and allows his request.  But, there is a snag; he is given a decree.  He must find Kelly before his thirtieth birthday.

That being said, I have a dear friend who demands anonymity, but who comes to me at least once a month with a story of a dream.  She has also agreed to the leaking of this little tidbit.  As she describes the passion, I listen with dumbfounded amazement, while she speaks through eyes that are without doubt, someplace else.  In the sleeping vision, she and the mystery man are never tangled in the physical – it’s always about true passion; lots of kissing, caressing, holding each other and staring into one another’s eyes.  She explains the fervor with almost (I can imagine) the same amount of heat experienced while in the middle of this reverie or maybe it’s me catching the fire.  She states, they go to concerts, a movie or merely hang out, talking.  However, never just conversing or watching the screen – it’s all done as they hold each other.  He examining her soul, she studying his.

As she is of advancing years, the young man in this delight would definitely place her in the “Cougar” category.  A person she has never met, yet comes into her night once every thirty days to terrorize her with promises of a forever love, and revealing his ability to satisfy her every whim, physical or otherwise.  But, my question is, what does it all mean?  I would like to think that like her, this young man, whomever he may be, is also encountering visits from a mystery woman.  A lady he could never begin to make plain, if asked, which would explain why everyone he has met falls short of his requirements.  Similar to Timothy Hutton in the movie, only our stranger is wandering aimlessly, never understanding his nonfulfillment.  The unfortunate fact in this picture is; they will never meet – can never come face to face as they are both out of their time – unknowingly – one just like the other.

Therefore, how long will she be haunted?  There is definitely a psychological reason for the torment. I say torment, because no sane person can live hanging on a dream; waiting for the next visit.  I don’t proclaim to have any knowledge whatsoever with regard to matters of the mind.  Thus, I’d like to sum this up as symbolic of an unresolved issue somewhere in the recesses of her brain.  However, in the meantime, and if we agree a nameless young man does exist, these two untimely lovers are doomed to have no future other than wandering in and out of, and disturbing each others slumber.  I would love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on the matter.