Tuesday, September 30, 2014

celebrating sixty-two...

dear pjm.

today is your birthday.  62.  my tendency is to gush with sad & sentimental, but that's not how you would want me to honor you on the anniversary of your birth!  so instead i will celebrate with a smudge of wistfulness and a whole lot of silly, just the way would would like a birthday served…along with a slice of homemade apple pie a la mode with ice cream! that was your favorite birthday cake.

i remember once when we were dating we had gone shopping with the girls for some type of sports apparel.  i was foul with you.  i despised being out in public with you…because of your outfit.  seriously.  you were wearing shorts & a t-shirt.  no big deal except for the fluffy red & blue ski jacket and house slippers you were sporting to polish off your fashion forward garb. what were you thinking walking out in public like that?  i was appalled but was too sweet {cue passive-aggressive} back then to ask snidely "what exactly is that assortment you are attempting to call an outfit.  until you fix it we are going nowhere-together".

so today instead of getting all squishy emotional for your birthday, i thought i would share a little fashion show starring none other than you!

shorty-shorts.  with deck shoes.  and trusty oakley shades.  that's an overabundance of thigh you are sharing with the world.  and exactly how is your "manhood" not exposed?

yep.  that's you on that lion fountain at the pool in hawaii.  in a speedo.  too much wrong with this picture.  and what was i thinking?  obviously, i was the woman behind the lens.

you thought i was kidding about the speedo. i wasn't.

halloween.  you loved dressing up.  this is what you wore to work halloween of 1990! you couldn't understand why no one would go to lunch with you.  hmmm, i wonder.  "Beetle Juice" was your a flick favorite-"it's showtime!" and "save that puppy for later" while pretending to spit in your jacket pocket were lines we heard often.

i would like to say this was halloween also, but it wasn't.  yep, just dinner at your parents. perhaps you should forget the smile and just keep those "teef" to yourself.  

and this?  onesies-those are for babies.  motorcycles-those are for men.  you have somehow crossed generational bridges.  i must also remind you that belt was a thrift store find and on the back it said "chuck". by the way, how many cows are you wearing? and that official stance.  it doesn't make you look any less foolish.

remember when you ran the local triathlon on amber's 18th birthday?  you wanted everyone to know it was her special day.  my guess? she would have preferred a card with some cash in it.  the aerodynamics of the helmet probably didn't work in your favor either.

we could call this project tang.  or orange you glad this is your date.  you didn't rent it. your purchased it & wore it a couple of times before i helped it find its way into the "give away" bag when you weren't looking.

as i laugh at each of these photos, i am reminded of your embarrassment factor.  you seldom avoided embarrassment.  perhaps that's what made you a success.  you were never concerned with what others would think.  you were so busy attempting to be awesome and a standout that others opinions just did not matter to you.  and while fashion was never an arena where you found success, your lack of concern about feeling foolish allowed you to achieve greatness in meaningful ways.

happy birthday fashionista!

love you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

marriage letters: to cherish

dear pjm.

"to love and to cherish till death do us part."

we recited those lines to one another.  cherish.adore.fancy.worship.admire.  living those verbs was mostly effortless.  you loved, provided, romanced, encouraged, protected and i mostly adored you for each of those actions.  yes, i suffered from bouts of irritation and we endured seasons of painful growth,  as individuals & a couple. but the life we shared was a treasured gift to one another.

you are still here.  alive & breathing & walking.  and i am learning to cherish this time with you.  once we moved you from our home, your behavior was unpredictable & sometimes scary.  i continued my visits because i cherished our marriage & the memories of those healthy years.  but visiting was more out of obligation, not because i desired to see you. ouch. that's painful to write & i am sure even more painful to read.  but as more time passes and i see the physical toll this disease is taking on your body, i realize these days of visiting are limited. i am learning to cherish our last moments together. i don't have a visiting punch card that indicates the number of visits remaining, but i cherish your hand holding mine.  i cherish walking quiet along the garden path.  i cherish watching the train pass by with you.  i even cherish the gentle kisses you place upon the foreheads of distraught female residents.

i hold all of this dear because i realize our next phase will bring you physically closer to home, but it will be to rest peacefully at the cemetery just around the corner from the home you built for me.  the background noise & distraction of all the others makes focusing on you & us all the more challenging.  i grow irritated with some of them, wanting to explain these are are only moments together.  but like you, they too are sick and don't grasp the magnitude of what is happening.   please know, my love, i cherish our hours together strolling hallways & pathways.  your hand gently grasping mine.

enshrining our love & marriage-even when death will separate us.

the inspiration behind this post is from "marriage letters" by seth & amber haines.  they are taking the summer off because she is busy writing a book which i am excited to read.  my daughter, amber, wrote a post about marriage being like the movies, but better.  click on her name and read it! i write them to remember the preciousness of my marriage as my husband lets go of his grip on health & life due to a terminal illness.

Monday, September 15, 2014

forever days...

dear tired soul.

i know.  the forever days.  i feel your weariness.  i see the strain in your eyes & posture. slouched as if you have that 50 lbs. bag of pig feed resting uncomfortable on your shoulder. you walk the stairs back up to the lobby.  sign out while dropping the key fob on the counter for the receptionist.  the automatic doors part as the high noon september heat overwhelms you.  the commute back home to your other life is a blur because those forever tears cloud your vision.

remember the forever days of elementary school?  you sat in class listening to your teacher spout facts-details-data that only sounded like the nagging "wah-waaah-wah-wah" of charlie brown's teacher.  you heard all of her words but your immature mind could not filter out and organize that which was of utmost importance.  you felt lost in a world of nonsensical education just as today your mind struggles to swim in the tidal wave of crazy-making behaviors displayed by so many residence.  the one constantly yelling for jojo and carlos.  or her in the wheelchair with her harsh demands of when cheryl is going to arrive. or him, retired war veteran, chastising pjm for "touching my God damn water glass-and why the hell does he take it every God damn day".  the barrage of harsh voices distracts you from your one true purpose…visiting pjm.

remember the forever days of a new babe?  you returned home from the hospital, sore and saggy with a new soul in tow. bottle. diaper. swaddle. rock. repeat.  as the nervous newborn energy dissipated, it quickly became a season of broken sleep leaving you weary, each passing day affirming you would never sleep an uninterrupted seven hours again.  but babes do grow-mature-transition.  death follows a continuum as well.  it seems you will always be in this phase of watching him die, but this is a fight he will eventually lose and this season will end just like sleepless nights & 2:00 am feedings.

remember the forever days of marathon running?  you woke at 4:15 am.  arrived at the race site.  and waited…race mornings were always full of wait.  the line into the parking lot.  the line for the bus.  the line for the outhouse.  the starting line. and the longest wait of all, that finishing line.  navigating the first 13 miles felt natural, but the second 13 were not only physically taxing but mentally daunting.  your body & the majority of your mind screamed to stop-halt-or at the very least walk.  but those few atoms in your brain spoke louder.  your mental tenacity continued to project your body forward. refusing to walk. and remember those fellow runners? you were never alone in the race.  and the spectators cheering you on? their shouts boosting your spirits.  and countless volunteers handing you water and otter pops?  every ounce fueling you to reach the journey's end called the finish line.  you are correct weary one.  you must run these miles.  no once can do it for you; but family & friends, nurses & caregivers willingly hand you cups of grace along this journey. each encouraging you to press on while you and pjm run these last few miles of his life.

yes, visiting days feel like forever days.  but remember those other seasons you mastered, overcame or just plain outlasted.  he cannot live sick forever.  life & death are mysterious. i, too, don't know how a body can press on even when its very own mind has forgotten how to do so much. but i know this: suffering, his & yours, are temporary.

and remember, sweet friend, when forever overwhelms, pray.  and drive home safe.  and eat a healthy lunch.  and take a nap.  it is okay if you have nothing productive to show for your day.  you are a reflection of Christ in your undying love for husband and that is enough.

press on,
forever yours.