Looking back at my last three posts, I’ve been thinking about stuff that happened in the past- reminiscing. I’m still in that frame of mind for some reason so I guess this will be another post of that kind. I don’t really know why I’m stuck in reminiscing mode, but maybe I will empty that bucket with this post. In those last three posts, I discussed our children, friends, and my wife.
It’s really hard to believe that Robin and I began our relationship 47 years ago and that we celebrated our 43rd anniversary this past June. I mentioned my boss that bet $5 we wouldn’t make it five years; I can think of two periods of time that I really wondered if our marriage would survive. In fact, I felt that we likely would not work it out and frankly I think it would have been easier to just call it quits. The time and energy we spent to repair the damage was significant and it was hard and painful [BUT OH SO WORTH IT!] And we still bear the scars from those periods of our marriage; but we can now accept the scars, acknowledge the pain and move on. In some ways I have come to value those tough times because I think we learned a lot. I know I did. Communication hasn’t always been my strongest asset, but those hard times taught me how essential it is to maintain a strong relationship. I also learned that things are going to happen that we simply cannot control; we can fret, worry, agonize, and torture ourselves, but it isn’t going to change anything. It just causes mental and physical trauma to our bodies.
When we were in the middle of our fights for survival it seemed that it would never end. It was our first thought when we woke up and our last one before falling asleep. Sometimes it woke us during the night and the darkness and silence was smothering and deafening. Most days we walked around in a zombie-like trance, unable to think clearly and make sound decisions.
However, the GREAT times are what make the time and energy spent during the bad times worth it. By most anyone’s standards, Robin and I are blessed beyond measure. We have a wonderful family and extended family that we love deeply. We have spent times together that would qualify as “mountain top” experiences. Some of these times have been on vacation trips, both with family and by ourselves. Some have been just sitting quietly in the boat enjoying the solitude and beauty. Some have been just being together at home doing nothing in particular but enjoying each other’s company. Some have been “date nights” where we have tried to continue to have a date like we did 44 years ago. Some have been dancing together; we’ve taken ballroom dance lessons for over ten years and I think we are just going to be perpetual students and never “graduate”. But that’s ok; we’re still having fun.
I recently had a colonoscopy; and for you younger readers that will become a regular birthday present in your future years. And for those of you who have had this experience you know what a “joy” the prep time is. But when I was first waking up in recovery, I could faintly hear Robin’s voice talking with Mama and Daddy and feel her fingers running through my hair. I can’t describe the comforting feeling that I had at that time and the love I felt for her. Somehow, the pain and misery of the prep time was a distant memory. So maybe life is like a colonoscopy; there are some pretty miserable times, but the good times fade them to a “well that wasn’t so bad after all” memory.
Friday Aug 25 marked three months since Carter’s death shattered our world. I can easily say that it is the single most traumatic experience we have ever had but it was different than those discussed above. We were not fighting for our marriage to survive, but we were leaning on each other for strength and for comfort when we needed it and it continues. Our darkness isn’t gone, but every now and then we see a twinkling star. I certainly can’t speak for my daughter and son-in-law, but I hope they too occasionally see the star.