Love Grows, Life Changes

Toothbrush, photo taken in Sweden

Toothbrush, photo taken in Sweden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It takes but a minute for everything in your life to change your life completely.  It hits you with a tremendous blow, shock, grief but you can get used to that since you have no choice, you are completely unaware. No choice is not a world I want to live in either.

When I travel now, I usually forget to bring my blue toothbrush and white bristles, so too, the tooth paste. I never needed it before, it was a silly tradition, I know, but one that delighted me. Knowing that I could always use your toothbrush when we were away together. That was the type of intimacy that I knew about. Silly things like that.

Now, I can’t. I understand that you didn’t want to leave me, that your heart was very sick,  clogged arteries that were too far along to be saved but I wished for it anyway. I was in the in-between place of hope and reality. “Please, please, please” I would murmur under my breath in a chant as if maybe God would tune in faster or adjust his schedule but nothing changed.

It was your time, my love, and you knew it as well as I did. Imagine, trying to cheer me up when you were about to die and leave me hanging here like a piece of dangling thread blowing softy in the sunshine, back and forth, back and forth.

We came in together, arm in arm, walking slowly through the mushy gray snow and yet when I left there was nobody beside me, nobody to take my hand, nobody to put their arms around my shoulders, to reassure me.

Our children called but they were not here, they had their own families and excuses now. I understood completely how their husbands and wives did not want them to cross to the other side of the country as well, to get soaked up in my misery and the lost of their daddy. Nobody knew that more than I.

Yet, I thought death would come, most certainly, in the middle of the night, my naïve silence and undisturbed sleep, awakened by the shrill of the old yellow phone I still used by the bedside. But now, in reality, it didn’t work that way, I was right by your side, as you took your last breath and calmly closed your eyes.

English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a wi...

English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a window. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“That’s it?” I thought to myself? Death could slip in on soft kitten feet and steal away my husband with no big fanfare at all? Steal his loveliness, the color of his lips and cheeks and joy for life in a matter of seconds, while I stood there watching, watching the blood drain from him?

I put my head on his cold chest and I cried but I knew his hands couldn’t comfort me, or hold me like they had. From now on, I was no longer part of a couple, I was alone. My name was now “Widower.” It stayed that way for a very long time until I too decided it was time enough to join your father, there was nothing useful about me without him. He was my life.

I said goodbye to all the children and grandchildren with a long good-bye and gave each special hug.

It took too many weeks to get my affairs in order but I would know when the time was right. One day they all came in for Christmas, I saw each child and grandchild. After they left, I knew it was my time to go.This has been planned before the death of my husband Harold, he would do the same if I had died first.  It wasn’t hard at all but it was something we needed to do, I was only sorry that I had postponed this day for so many long weeks. Let’s face it, I had no regrets. Ever.

I had no interest in living a life without my other half. It was like living empty, physically here yet without a soul. No, I didn’t want that at all.

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Kellie Elmore, FWF

Growing Old Together

Growing Old Together (Photo credit: Jan Tik)Comfort, Same Background,  Excellent Manners. Beautiful hands. How he showed Love to his  grandmother. Sweet. Helpful. Consoling. “Don’t Worry Baby.”

Old Friends. The first tickle of interest was when his family invited mine to their house one Thanksgiving.  I must have already liked him deep down inside, because it was very cold outside and all I wanted to do was watch him fix up his old car. I hate old cars. I wanted to be near him, talk to him, effortlessly, like a jigsaw puzzle finding it’s partner without playing the game.

He drove my parents and me a long way to the railroad station which was far out of his way but he didn’t mind, really. I knew it was genuine.That was the person I fell in love with. He turned on the radio and we sang Beach Boys songs out loud together. I thought his voice was wonderful even though he apologized for his off-key singing.”Don’t Worry Baby” described our relationship, only he could comfort me.

He was on his way to Australia and New Zealand and the thrill of getting an unexpected postcard from him was the best surprise of my life. I felt hot, then cold, electrified, dizzy. I couldn’t sit still, I certainly couldn’t sleep or eat. I called my friend for her to come analyze the handwriting, the words. Did it say “Best, Warm Regards Love?”

After another postcard I deemed less warm, I decided he had met a woman, named Patty  size 2 with long glossy red hair curling down her back, the athletic, hiking kind of woman. I could barely walk straight on the sidewalk without breaking my ankle. It was over, I knew it. Patty stole him away from me, bitch.

Some weeks later I was sitting in my bedroom when the phone rang. He introduced himself again, asked if I remembered him. My voice must have risen three octaves. I still remember that feeling, ecstasy. My cheeks were burning red and bright, I couldn’t sit down.  My body felt like an internal fireplace, green eyes dancing.

I felt like I was sparkling. Like little silver shots of electricity coming from everywhere on my body shooting high into the sky like firecrackers without the noise, yes, I was sparkling.

He lived in Maryland but had plans to visit his brother in a few weeks in Boston and while he was there, would I like to go out? “Yes, I would”  my voice raising three octaves higher in just one sentence.

He picked me up at my apartment with a present. A present? From Australia, a wood cutting board for cheese. I had always been the one to buy boyfriends presents, never the other way around. I felt a certain part of ice, soften and detach from my body. We went to a Museum, where all I did was delight in holding his hand.

He took me to Bertucci’s where we had pizza and salad. I offered to pay half when we were finished. “Absolutely not” this young man said. I melted, a young man with European manners. I was in love, at long last, for the first time. He was the only person, I realized that I never wanted “my space” I never tired of being with him.

We’ve been married twenty-five years and still I think his voice is lovely, clear and in tune. I love it when he sings or when he whistles. We have had our bad times and our good but we have worked through them all, we have fought and made-up and worked and sometimes pouted and screamed our way through our commitment but we did not give up. We never gave up.

We have two children, now grown up, we are a family. Do we fight? Absolutely. Do my feelings get hurt? Sure? Is my husband romantic? No. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word. Are we everything to each other? Not possible, but more than enough. You age, you compromise, love is not a sweeping, quick ecstatic moment. It’s the comfort of silence, knowing what the other person will say at the same time. It’s trust, knowing someone in the world loves you no matter what. It’s friendship too.

At night, while we watch television together, him on his side, me on mine, we eat bowls of ice cream in bed, vanilla for me and chocolate for him, with whipped cream, mine with rainbow-colored sprinkled. I can feel before I see, him shaking his head.

Love is not one romantic date, it’s a series of little things, moments, based on seconds of time that go by so quickly. You close your eyes and look back, and dream of the days in the past when you were younger. Don’t ever take things for granted. That is the first thing you need to learn, appreciate what you have while you have it and yes, there will be sadness ahead but there will also be great happiness too. Different forms of happiness.

My only wish now? Is to be able to grow old with him.

Photo credit: Jan TIkEnhanced by Zemanta

I Love You More

Never Changing With The Season

Never Changing With The Season (Photo credit: dprotz)

There, I said it, in print, published in black and white. You can call it or I can call it when we first see each other in the morning or at 3:30am for a bathroom break but I think this counts a hundred times more. I am the “I Love You More” champion because truly, I do love you more. You can’t call me a cheater, either. To my husband: I’d be lost without you. I know, way down deep, I could get through it, if I had to, but I don’t even want to contemplate that situation.

You accept me for the: overly sensitive, moody, quirky, hungry, anxious, mean, hurtful and impatient person I can be. I know I am also loving and sweet and funny but it’s the bad qualities that are harder to accept. I haven’t even mentioned the Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and chronic pain that I have. You support me with driving, if you can, or help me upstairs or out of the car with an outstretched arm at the ready. Your never-ending kindness is (mostly 🙂 ) always there. That means so much to me and I thank you.

I know when we first met you COULD NOT BELIEVE that I had NO sense of direction and you that I would get lost on purpose. HA! Why would I do that? You couldn’t understand if I had driven someplace once or twice or thirty times before how I couldn’t reenact the same route again. My answer: genetics. My father was the same way. The kids make fun of me (mercilessly) but I truly cannot picture in my mind where things are and how to get to them. Thank goodness for the GPS, the best invention ever and yes I know, I still get lost but it helps.

However, I will recognize a person I went to seventh grade with in a different state, in a different setting (like a bakery) and go up to the person and say “Nora?” and know, without a doubt, that she was my friend 40 years ago. I am always right too. You can meet someone an hour ago before, meet them again in five minutes and have no facial recognition. Our minds and brains are wired totally differently. What do we both say? ” Valuing differences.”

You make me a cup of coffee each morning, in my favorite flowered, thin-lipped mug. When I am sick you bring it upstairs to me, with love and a napkin. Sometimes there is a dish of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries already washed, in a dish in the refrigerator. You do that for me. FOR ME. I buy you dark chocolate covered apricots for Father’s Day and tell you they are from the dog because my dad is no longer alive and even though you are my children’s father, it is a lonely, miserable holiday for me. You understand that and you are blessed to have both of your parents still alive. You even understand that I am envious without holding it against me.

I am lucky to have you in so many ways. We are best friends. Sometimes, I need some space but begrudgingly, you have come to understand that too. Through the years I think we have become more like each other, which to me is still puzzling. I used to be the one that liked to stay home and you used to like to go out, now it’s the opposite. I want adventure, you want peace.

Let’s walk together now and hopefully in years to come. I’ve already slowed down and you have tried to walk slower for me. Maybe we can find a shady bench in the park in the future and sit, side by side holding hands. I pray we can get old together, this is my dream. I want nothing more than that; that itself would be heaven.

Dedicated to my husband, Danny