Raging Hormones and Crying Eyes

I finished my KETO lunch and am spending too much time clicking aimlessly from page to page on the internet allowing my God given minutes to be wasted. The last page I stopped on was a blog “Behind the White Coat.” The blogger, a doctor, wrote a heart tearing piece about his father who had Alzheimer’s dementia. Reading it opened a new door to my own grief of losing my sweetheart Peggy. In three days she will have passed five months, but I still think about her daily as I do my first wife Barbara who is now gone sixteen years. Grief is a strange emotion that strikes when you least expect it, and can turn a great sunny day into a dreary grey one.

Reading the Doc’s blog post got me to thinking about how grief affected me after Barb died. At her wake a widowed cousin whispered into my ear “don’t be foolish like I was and seek out a grief support group asap, I waited three years.” Grief made me do strange things, and to forstall the emotion I loaded myself with as much activity as was possible. I found a grief support group right in my own church and went to the September meeting. It was one month after Barb died. The group leader led each attendee in discussion. “Tell us about your loss,” she would ask?  The grieving widow would spend as much time as she needed to tell her story. I was the only man in the group of about ten ladies. Their ages ranged from fifty to eighty, I was sixty-five. We sat in a circle on couches and lounge chairs in a pleasant setting. Immediately opposite me sat a beautiful black haired beauty with penetrating blue eyes that met my own and clicked a button in my head that said, this girl is going to be my wife. Maybe it was because my hormones were raging during that time that I would immediately think of marriage when my wife of forty-two years was barely cool in her grave, but that is exactly what happened.

When it was my turn to talk, I could not utter a single word, I was so overcome by emotion. My eyes welled up in tears and my voice choked. I just waved to the moderator and with a crackly voice said “I can’t.”

Later, I told the story of my breakdown to a friend. What really impressed me was that some of these widows lost their husbands five years earlier. I expressed my concern about the efficacy of a support group that kept people coming back with grief for five years. That’s not what I had in mind, and she asked me why I would continue to return to such a group. I never told her about how my eyes zeroed in on the azure blue eyes of an amazing woman who had a huge effect on me. Of course I attended every month if only to continue to see the raven haired beauty with the penetrating eyes. By December, I was able to speak to people, but I still could not tell my story about Barb. That night as we cleared the tables of the cookies and refreshments I hung around until everyone was gone except Peggy. I knew her story because she was able to relate it to the group. She met her husband when she was fourteen. They married when she was seventeen, just before he left for basic training. She moved with him to his base near Columbia, South Carolina and stayed in a rooming house until he was transferred to the Okeefenokee Swamp for bivouac training. She came home and lived with her parents untill he was discharged. After basic, his orders were to go to Korea. A serious mistake during a dental check caused him to miss the boat. His chart was switched with someone else’s and the dentist never checked before he began to pull Ron’s teeth. The man whose teeth were supposed to be pulled caught the boat to Korea, Peggy’s husband got new dentures and spent the rest of his tour in Germany. I helped Peggy carry a heavy bag of books and goodies out to her car. We talked in the parking lot until both of us were frozen. I asked her If I could write to her from Arizona because I was leaving within a couple of weeks to spend the winter. She said yes it would be alright.

I went to Arizona to leave my tears there. During Barb’s wake and funeral I could not shed a single tear. In Arizona one of my daily routines was to walk to the library and write in my journal. I wrote the story of Barb’s heart attack and the following two year ordeal. It turned into a tale about our life together. There were days when the pages were soaked and the ink ran the page, but I got it out. I never reread the story until about a month ago. I found the journal while cleaning and trashing stuff from my house.

I was about a month  from returning, when I finally wrote a letter to Peg. Letter writing became an after lunch routine. I cooked lunch by recipes three times a week and on those days I also wrote letters to friends. The letter was properly headed with my address and the date, but I also included my Arizona phone number. A week later I received a call from Peg.

Two years went by when I finally asked her to marry me. She responded yes without hesitation, and that sealed our deal. Now, I find myself recalling the many great times we had together. I want those memories burned into my brain to wash out the memories of her final four years of regression. She finally reached the point where she forgot how to breath. I missed her very last breath by only a few minutes. I wanted to be holding her hand when it happened, but that wasn’t to be.

I Am Proud To Be An Old Fart

I never really liked the terminology “Old Farts” but this makes me feel better about it.
And if you ain’t one, I bet ya you know one!
I got this from an “Old Fart” friend of mine!
OLD FART PRIDE
I’m passing this on as I did not want to be the only old fart receiving it. Actually, it’s not a bad thing to be called, as you will see. Old Farts are easy to spot at sporting events; during the playing of the National Anthem. Old Farts remove their caps and stand at attention and sing without embarrassment.  They know the words and believe in them.

Old Farts remember World War II, Pearl Harbour ,  Guadalcanal , Normandy  and Hitler. They remember the Atomic Age, the Korean War, The Cold War, the Jet Age and the Moon Landing. They remember the 50 plus Peacekeeping Missions from 1945 to 2005, not to mention  Vietnam .

If you bump into an Old Fart on the sidewalk he will apologize. If you pass an Old Fart on the street, he will nod or tip his cap to a lady. Old Farts trust strangers and are courtly to women.

Old Farts hold the door for the next person and always, when walking, make certain the lady is on the inside for protection.

Old Farts get embarrassed if someone curses in front of women and children and they don’t like any filth or dirty language on TV or in movies.

Old Farts have moral courage and personal integrity. They seldom brag unless it’s about their children or grandchildren.

It’s the Old Farts who know our great country is protected, not by politicians, but by the young men and women in the military serving their country.

This country needs Old Farts with their work ethic, sense of responsibility, pride in their country and decent values.

We need them now more than ever.

Thank God for Old Farts!

Pass this on to all the “Old Farts” you know.

I was taught to respect my elders.
It’s just getting harder to find them.

Five Stars Squared

I just finished reading a delightful book which I thought would bring me back to grief. I read all the reviews and picked up the story line ahead of  time to realize the main character loses his wife to cancer. I hate stories about men who lose wives to anything disease. That is how I lost my first wife and am now losing my second. The idea of awakening grief within my body made me cringe. Yet, after beginning to read I fell in love with this story. Yes there was grief, love, suspense, and excitement, all of the elements of fiction that make a story interesting. The most unlikely character is the dog. The central character’s dog Enzo tells the story from beginning to end. The ending is sad but beautiful. You will not go wrong reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

Five stars squared.

Wear Red Fridays

I received this piece this morning and decided to post it because it is such an inspirational story. Just before I did click publish I decided to check it out with SNOPES. It is listed as undecided. They show several different variants of the letter in circulation. Then I decided that it doesn’t matter even if it were found to be FALSE that I was going to pass it on. Why,? Just because it represents a sentiment, and respect in this country  for the youth who serve in our military. I for one believe this is a true story, and I salute the young warriors who gave it meaning. Wear Red on Fridays!
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Will you give this to my Daddy?

  
 As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support ‘Red Fridays’.
 
  
 
Last week I was in Atlanta , Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen. 
 

  
 
Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. 
 
   
 
When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I’m not alone. I’m not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.
Of course, I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. 
 
 
Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said ‘hi.’ 
 

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. 
 
 
The young soldier, who didn’t look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her Daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek. 
 

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter’s name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. 
 

 
When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.. 
 

 
After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, ‘I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.’ He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying ‘your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.’
 

The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event. 
 

 
As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek. 
 

We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it’s good to be an American.
 

RED FRIDAYS —– Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the ‘silent majority’. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. 
 

We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions. Many American, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of Americans supports our troops. 
 

Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red. 
 

By word of mouth, press, TV — let’s make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.
 

If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once ‘silent’ majority is on their side more than ever; certainly more than the media lets on. 
 

The first thing a soldier says when asked ‘What can we do to make things better for you?’ is…We need your support and your prayers.
 

Let’s get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday. 
 

IF YOU AGREE — THEN SEND THIS ON
 

IF YOU DO NOT THEN HIT THE DELETE BUTTON — IT IS YOUR CHOICE. I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but I couldn’t delete it.. 
 

 WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE, ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE. THEIR BLOOD RUNS RED—- SO WEAR RED! — MAY GOD HELP AMERICA TO BECOME ONE NATION, UNDER GOD.

God’s Gift

Early this past week my thoughts and emotions were morose. Peg moved to another low. She began sleeping twenty hours each day. She was not responsive, nor in a mood to eat or drink. Then, on Thursday morning she awoke before me and I received a good morning smile. She even spoke a few words. Her mood remained happy throughout the day. She even had a few moments of laughter. I was overjoyed. At three-thirty, her caretaker and I lifted her from bed and placed her into a wheelchair. As usual, I wheeled her around the house and showed her what a beautiful day it was. The sun shone brightly, it was warm, and there were billowy white clouds rising to heaven in an azure sky. The views of the 2016 Monet Vision-Patriots Dream held her attention as she gazed at the pond in what seemed like a stupor.

Finally, I parked her chair at the table and we had supper together. By seven-thirty she crashed while watching TV, and we promptly put her back to bed.

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Friday morning was the same and we enjoyed another glorious day. I played an Elvis album of gospel music while we held hands, and napped.

Today promises to be a similar day, however, her smile is missing and a frown on her face signals a bit of unhappiness, perhaps it is pain. I can’t tell for sure, and she can’t tell me, nor would she if she could. Before she began this journey, and I suspected she was in pain and commented she responded with “it is nothing I can’t take.”

I’ll take these good days and I thank God for them. I know there are dark days still ahead and there will be plenty of them to brood over, but now I bask in the sunshine of her smile.

 

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