A longtime family friend went into a dementia unit of a retirement home today. She woke up in her bed of fifty years this morning and now has a new bed and a new home. Her husband will be selling their house and moving into the same community.
There is no way to wrap this post up in a bright package tied with a coordinating bow. Although she is exactly where she needs to be, and it is long overdue, it is nothing but sad and heartbreaking for those who know her and love her.
Tonight I will attend my nephew’s winter concert. He is in fourth grade and will stand on stage with his classmates singing his heart out. It will be a lively, sweet event, an affirmation of one of the few things I know for sure: life goes on.
On the way to and from, I will pass our dear friend’s new home and I will say a prayer that she isn’t scared or upset, that the bastard of a disease that has put her there will at least grant her peace.
Today I played a dangerous game of Ded Moroz Roulette:
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday? Do I Christmas shop online today or wait until Monday? What to do? Is that jingle bells I hear in my head? I could really eat a turkey sandwich right now. Oh look, a Botched marathon is on E! That lady’s boobs are huge! Black Friday, Cyber Monday? . . .
I decided to just go for it today. Any opportunity to squelch any of the voices in my head is a good thing. Got some good deals but mostly I’m happy to have some gifts ordered and on their way. And besides, I’ve seen all the episodes of Botched.*
* Please hold all judgement until January. It is, after all, the holidays.
While running errands with my husband, wishing I could drive, the phrase ‘in sickness and in health’ popped into my head. I thought about the medical challenges we recently faced, his cardiac crisis and my vision loss. Although he and I confronted those obstacles together, we were certainly not alone.
Those five words, part of traditional wedding vows, apply to my closest friendships as well as my marriage. We haven’t stood in front of our loved ones in a special ceremony, wearing a beautiful dress, pledging our love and lifelong promise and yet our dedication to each other is just as strong.
Social and religious doctrines lead us down the aisle to the person we have decided to spend our lives with, while our hearts also quietly bring us to these equally important and enduring partnerships with our best friends. Without the grand ceremony of a wedding and reception, we enter into these relationships over crayons and recess, study hall and cafeteria lunches, college dorms, corporate desks and the legendary water cooler, our kids’ schools. We go out for a drink, then dinner, the spa, we text all day, every day, we take girls trips together. We appreciate each other, we love each other. We share good times and bad times, for as long as we both shall live.
Do I think that’s a commitment? I do.
I was pushing the cart and navigating through a crowded grocery store. The aisles were narrow, there were lots of employees and vendors stocking the shelves. There were a lot of clueless shoppers who seemed to be just standing there, seemingly waiting for the products to miraculously jump from the shelves into their carts parked in the middle of the compressed aisles. Yes, I said middle.
As I was traversing through an especially complicated obstacle course, requiring serpentine moves and expert precision, a gentleman stocking shelves said, “You’re a good driver”. I smiled at him and said thanks, while thinking to myself, You can’t tell by looking at me but I’m legally blind and haven’t driven a car in three years.
There was no radio or moon roof and no seat belt required. There was no wind in my hair or sun coming through the windshield. But being behind the wheel and recognized as a skilled driver sure felt good.
If you could ask your feather or fur baby one question that they would be able to answer, what would it be?
I asked a friend what she would ask her dog and she said, Do you have any idea how much I love you?
Our neighbor wonders if animals will have the ability to speak in heaven.
My husband said he would ask Piper, Are you happy?
Instantly, I myself had two questions for my little guy, Is there something you want or need that you’re not getting? and What was your life like when you lived with the other family? (Piper had lived with another family, along with three other birds, before he was surrendered to the bird rescue where we found him.)
In considering both, the first question seems more for Piper and the second one more for me, although I do think knowing more about his past would help me care for him now.
I wonder what Piper would ask me. I hope I’m an open book to him; I am home most days and he is my steadfast companion and I his. I talk to him all the time, about things of no consequence but also serious and weighted subjects. And I tell him how much I love him, how happy I am that he is here with us and what a good boy he is.
At the end of the day, like every other relationship, it’s often what’s not said that can be most telling. Piper is a good eater and yearly well-checks with his avian vet assure his overall health. He plays with toys on his own but also with his daddy and me. He makes bird noises and sounds and although not my first language, I speak pretty good bird. He can be full of piss and vinegar but also give kisses and cuddle. And if we go upon the simple idea that a picture paints a thousand words, then the above photo tells us all we need to know.
Does every visually-challenged woman’s husband
tell her he is in
People’s Sexiest Man Alive issue
or is it just me?
My past haunts me in that I miss my old life before my vision loss so much that sometimes it physically aches when it comes rushing back, filling every crevice of my mind. The irony is not lost on me that these memories are in full color and crystal clear.
I don’t know their origins, but I recently heard two statements about the past that I keep thinking about:
You need to free yourself of the past so you can fulfill your destiny
That was then, this is now
In thinking about it, I always felt that my past wouldn’t be so present once I forged my new path and began doing something that fulfilled me the way my former career did. But maybe, as the above sentiments suggest, you have to draw a line in the sand, and really let go what once was to make room in your life, and in your heart, for what will be.
Like a house guest coming to visit, I’ve got to clean out the spare bedroom and empty some drawers. Destiny’s coming. And I’ve got to be ready for her.
If yogurt tasted like ice cream,
as I have expected it to every morning
for the last 25 years,
I wouldn’t want to feed it to my unicorn.