There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Muddied Crystal Clear Thoughts

I plan on living a long, long time.....heart stuff listen up!  I am going to see my grandchildren and great grandchildren become the people I know they will be and that is nothing short of wonderful humans. The story I am going to tell will make you want to comment (if anyone reads this anymore) stuff like stop that and buck up, think positively, get over it....whatever.  But, facts are facts and I am at a point in my life where "things" need to be taken care of and my affairs need to be in order. I'm not morose, sad or fatalistic....I'm honest. Steve and I both know I will probably die first.

Last year when I was in monitored cardiac rehab (versus maintenance like I am now without a monitor) I met a guy that had a heart attack and stents like me. His wife came with him every session and they would both be dressed in WalMart tan and blue and no, at that point, I had never seen either one of them in WalMart. He was and still is an ill tempered man, she was/is a happy spirit. They attended classes with Steve and me and he balked at every single suggestion, lesson and fact. He was not giving up coffee, was going to eat what he wanted, eventually dropped out of rehab because he was going to buy a bike, and his most ridiculous statement was that he already had a heart attack and why was he taking all of those pills if they weren't going to fix everything.

His wife was the polar opposite saying she would see to it he followed all the rules and was going to buy that bike herself and make him exercise. She was changing her lifestyle and he would too. We talked off and on and I liked her. Of course after he left rehab we saw them all of the time at WalMart; just saw them last Wednesday.

Right around Christmas time we went shopping for last minute dinner things. The wife was at the greeter station sitting on one of those fancy walkers things.....seat, basket, hand brakes...all the bells and whistles. I went over to talk to her like I always did and asked if she had fallen or broken something. With horribly slurred speech she told me...with a smile....that she had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of ALS, but Walmart was going to keep her employed and working as the official greeter. I was stunned. She was like sunshine in summer. Each time I have seen her after that she has been a little less vocal and always sitting on that walker. But, she still has that radiant smile. We see her husband all of the time too....he is still Grumpy, The Grinch, Mr. Rain Cloud.

Last Friday Steve took me out to a movie and dinner.....senior discount at the movies and Subway for a healthy Februany $5.00 foot long. When we walked in guess who was in a booth.....yup, there they were. We ordered our meal to go....sandwiches only no chips or soda.....and on the way out we stopped to quickly say hello. There was Grumpy tearing small pieces off of her sandwich and putting them in her almost floppy, tremulous fingers so she could chew and swallow easier.....and as we went out the door with the picture of them in my mind I thought....what will Steve do without me. Telepathy. Steve said I know what you are thinking and I don't know how I will manage......and he hugged me.

Did I mention we went to a seminar on Revocable Living Trusts? 



14 comments:

Judy (kenju) said...

Funny how the experiences of others morph into a learning experience for us.

I have wondered the same thing about us, but my younger daughter will always take good care of her dad, no matter what, so I don't worry too much. Getting old and infirm is hell.

gina said...

You will not die before Steve. So, what will YOU do without him? We women live a lot longer than men, previous heart attacks notwithstanding. I am not worried about what Tom will do without me, because I know I'm living into my 90's (good genes on both sides). But, if some tragedy should befall me, he will have Shana. She will always take care of her dad, so he's golden.

The thing I took away from this story was that you can't judge a book by its cover. Mr. Grumpy may be grumpy, but he clearly loves his wife. I feel sad for him, since she will most likely go before him, and yes, what WILL he do without her? Maybe he's grumpy because he has had a lot of bad things happen to him that he hasn't been able to get past. Sad.

You are going to live a very, very long time, Rosemary! xoxoxo

booda baby said...

What a gift you give us all, to choose life as great as you can possibly make it!

We learned this morning that my mom's remission just went into remission. Reluctant at first, she decided to take the cocktail of prednisone - again - even though it does crazy stuff to her body. Once we had the medical/logistical details out of the way, we had one of those very lovely talks. There's something profoundly empowering in being forthright about death. It gives us the space to choose life with all our hearts while we have it.

Which sort of makes EVERYthing crystal clear and immensely WONDERful.

rosemary said...

Living 1500 miles away from any family presents an issue for both Steve and me. Our children love us immensely, but distance makes managing anything difficult. I wake up every day happy to be alive...and probably bitch a lot throughout that same day.....I would leave Idaho if I was the one left so I could be by my kids, but Steve will never leave this land, this house, his place of bliss. Gina you got the point exactly...that Mr. Grumpy is not what we see on the outside. Judy....some days it is hell....Booda....it is a freeing experience to finally discuss death and gives me all the more reason to squeeze every moment out of my life.

Mom said...

Death is inevitable. We all will die. I have never found it hard to talk about death's inevitability, -but I don't know what I would do without Dennis. We got all the necessary paperwork done, quit worrying about it, and enjoy each and every day. My plan is for us to die together on the day before we get old.

My name WAS Female, I shit you not! said...

Welcome back after a long respite.
Looking forward to reading your blog for many years to come...YA HEAR!
(((hugs)))Pat

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

I'm sorry, but you are not allowed to die..at least before me..and I'm figuring I'm good for another 20 years if I keep my oil changed...
you made me weep

Middle Child said...

This makes me feel like crying. I admit here that as hard as it was for me - I am glad Don died before me as no one could have cared for him as I did. Full stop. I loved him... if I had died first as a quadriplegic the next stop may have been a nursing home and all its horrors for such a man as Don -
The manner of his killing could never have been predicted and we could have done without that... and I miss him like a bleeding wound in my heart and wonder will I have to die before that is soothed - I think so...we were one. As you know just treasure each other...every touch of hand and lips... every smell, every joke gone bad. Its a precious treasure to be in that wonderful place where you know this is your soul mate...

That couple probably love each other just as you do but show it in different ways...she is no doubt his sunshine and he her dark cloud - but what the heck
take care okay

FoxyMoron said...

Strange how I found your blog again just as I was thinking about all this, I had a conversation last night with our friend who just lost his wife a few weeks ago.
And nobody can judge a relationship from the outside can they? That picture you painted of him helping her to eat was so sweetly painful.
Glad to see you posting again Rosemary!

more cowbell said...

Hugs to you, Rosemary.

I don't think you're morose or sad at all. As life moves along, things change our perspective ... sometimes little by little, sometimes all of a sudden. And we think more about these things, see them in different ways. I've thought a little more about the big picture just in reading your experiences, and knowing a little about how you are with Steve. It adds something, being paired with another, thinking about the big picture. When I was single, I thought in a different way. Now mi querido is 9 years older than I am, and to be honest, that scares me, given the stats on men and women. Reading Middle Child's comment ... it's true, the need to remember to treasure what we have while we have it.

Middle Child said...

Hope alls well with you Rosemary - don't just go away - feel like I have known you for such a long time

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My name WAS Female, I shit you not! said...

Miss you Rosemary.
Lost my husband of 45 years, this past July 23rd.
It goes without saying that I miss him.
Hope life has been good to you this past year.
(((hugs)))