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.

Moved to Tears

     Maybe it is because of global warming, but Peggy and I are suffering from cabin fever. The outside temperature when we wake up is usually under ten degrees. The last few mornings it has been under five degrees. We got comfortable with the last fifteen winters which were so warm. I even considered abandoning my vision of moving  South to a more  temperate climate. Old bones and joints do not accomodate very well to low temperatures. Daytime temps rise to the twenties, but the bottom line is that we spend a lot of our time indoors. Even though, our home is large enough for us to retreat to our favorite place to avoid each other, we still grate each other’s nerves at times. Cabin fever, that is what it is.

     This week, we ventured out into the cold to see a movie. We had heard several reviews on a film called “Blind Side” with Sandra Bullock, and a bunch of lesser known actors. The story didn’t have to be very good for me to trek through a raging blizzard to see a “hottie” actress in a movie. She is beautiful. I digress.

     The story behind this film is almost hard to believe. Yet, the film is based on a true story. I won’t try to review the film for you here, I’ll leave that to those who review movies. What I want to tell you, is that this movie evoked an emotion within that brought me to tears several times.  For the life of me, I cannot decide what did it, but it did. The characters were compelling, real people. The simple plot could not have been imagined by any author. The story is based on real facts.  

     I believe in angels, and this story is about angels that descend on a life that is the innocent result of the Nanny State.  The main character the angels descend upon is a black boy whose mother is a slave of the system. She wants the best for her kid, but doesn’t know how to make it happen. She is totally unable to make anything good happen for herself much less her many children. She asks a friend to help her oldest boy “Big Mike,” get into a church school.  The friend uses his talent to sell the coach of a highly respected private christian school to take the kid on. The coach does, and the story begins.  

     The angels are many. First, the mom’s friend,  the coach, then a teacher who recognizes the boy’s talents, and finally, a family with a strong mother who comes to his rescue. Sandra Bullock plays the mother. She is a hard charging designer with two kids of her own, and a husband that goes along with almost anything she wants.  The family becomes the angel-team that rescues “Big Mike” from the Nanny State, and nurtures him out of  ghetto slavery.

     This film is an honest to gosh real story based on real characters. Blind Side is Academy Award material. Sandra Bullock deserves Best Actress award. Actor Quinton Aaron, who plays Big Mike, should get Best Actor. Why? Because they made the characters believable, and real.

Blind Side deserves five stars. . . * * * * *

Pay the money, and go see it. You’ll be moved to tears just as I was. I also recommend  your kids see the  film too.

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