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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A love story...right or wrong, you make the choice.

It's been a while,  hasn't it?  I have been in a different place...one of indecision and self doubt.  I would begin to write and then stop.  I would wonder who in the world cares what I think...  Lately though, I have been feeling a nudge to write again, to put this short, tumultuous, wonderful life into perspective.  So here goes.  I have decided to redouble my efforts to love...my kids and husband, of course...but also strangers and the unlovable and then write the stories.

I have been watching the feed on facebook and have not commented the supreme court's decision.  Not because I am not happy for the folks that want to get married but because I understand that my opinion is not going to change anyones mind and I do believe that people can think what they want.  They don't need me to tell them they are right or wrong.  

I do have a story though that made me think about love...all kinds and all genders and same genders, and how when a person loves another person...and does the things that are right, to me...it is right.

Sometime last year, I was called in to admit a lady that was dying.  She was older and she was having strokes.  She had been declining for a long time and she had a "caregiver".  I arrived at the house to find two older woman...the one that was to be admitted to hospice care and the "caregiver".  

It didn't take long for me to see the relationship these two women had and the quiet communication and understanding even without the one being able to talk much.  It was clear to me that they were a team, together for what appeared to be many years.  As I asked questions, the wife answered them and explained the medical history of this patient in detail.  She told me her idiosyncracies and her favorite things.  She told me of their daily routine, complete with labels on things so she could remember, and of not leaving the house without her lest she fall, and of making her favorite meals to keep her strength up.

Finally, feeling comfortable enough to ask, I asked her "their" story.  She told me they  met 35ish years ago and had been together ever since.  They took care of each other, bought a house, traveled for vacations, rooted for the Broncos, went to games and then when she got too sick,  they watched them at home.  Their life was one and they were deeply attached and loved each other very much.

As the days went on, the patient's wife took beautiful care of her and made sure her every need was tended to.  She watched as her love was failing, starting to forget who she was and the back and forth banter that they enjoyed over the years.  It was a very difficult time as it is for everyone watching the love of their life fade away.

As the time inched closer, the phone calls  to me became more frequent and difficult.  She did not want her to die and for her, being at home with her, even in the declining state she was in was better than her leaving.  She agonized over the decisions of keeping her at home or trying more life sustaining methods to keep her with us longer.  As with all folks close to death, the patient was fine.  She was "turning inward" and doing the work of leaving this place.  I spent many an hour at the house with the wife at the kitchen table...comforting her, telling her she would be devastated but she would take comfort in how she loved her all these years and off this earth.

Still,  I thought that we were stuck and that she wasn't going to be ready when the time came.  I prayed to God for peace and comfort for this lady and her love as she slowly left us.

A few mornings later, I got a call that she was gone.  Nothing fancy...just quietly left us.  I went to the house to do my work and asked the wife how it all went.  She told me through a veil of tears that she finished caring for her and getting her ready for bed when she noticed her breathing had changed.  She sensed that she was leaving her.   She climbed in bed with her, held her and kissed her face while she took her last breaths...then she relaxed and she was gone.  She held her for a while longer and called me.

As she explained those last minutes of life, I listened and tried to think of a better way to leave this earth.  To have your love close, holding you tight and kissing you gently while your leave this place...all the while telling you what you mean to them.

I was so proud of this wife and told her through my own tears. She had done everything right and I told her so.

After all my work was done, I got in my car and sat.  I asked myself why that "love" is different and should not be allowed by my God.  Why a love that withstood the test of time and difficulties of life was not equal to other loves that I have witnessed.  What makes my love for my husband better than what I had the honor to witness at the end of that life?  For me, it isn't.  I hoped that I would have the courage to climb in bed with Jim when the time comes and tell him what he meant to me and how my life was good with him.  Will I have that courage?  Will I feel that deep, abiding love to do that?  Hopefully, I will but I believe that we all do the best we can at the time.  

So, yes...I guess my opinion is very transparent.  Deep abiding love is love, be it a man or a woman.  So what am I to do with that experience?  Love...Love...love.  

What does that look like?  Being kind, trying not to judge, and being present in the moment with folks.  Am I good at it?  I am sure you know the answer to that. But, I owe that to you and you owe that to me.  And when I stand before my God, I know that I will have done my best.


How about you?

We'll tawk tomorrow.
I love you all,
Terry