Monday, March 31, 2008

Goodbye, Ruth

My husband's Aunt Ruth died Saturday in Hope Hospice. She came to live with us a year ago when her husband of 61 years passed away. She stayed five months until her care became more than we could provide. Then she went to reign as the Belle of the Nursing Home for another 8 months. She was a funny, sweet, feisty, generous lady and we were blessed to get to know her better. She loved Nascar racing, and thought Tony Stewart was wonderful! She worked at the telephone company all her life, but to her dismay, realized she no longer understood how to use the telephone. She loved music, flowers, getting her hair done, and eating anything sweet. We had to track her down to visit her at the nursing home. She was always off doing something fun, and when we did find her she was full of stories about winning at Bingo, ("I won a quarter! Big deal!" she'd grin), going out to eat, watching musical performances, attending church services and making new friends. ("There are such nice people here!" she'd tell me). Ruth was generous all her life and even at the home she was always trying to give her things away to the other residents or use her Bingo winnings to buy candy for the staff. She loved new experiences and refused to live in the past. "I won't worry," she told me frequently. "Worry causes wrinkles!"

When Ruth was going to go in the nursing home, she told me she hoped they would offer dancing lessons. Well, now she is in her permanent home - and I'll bet she's dancing!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A New Appreciation For Water

Recently our son was replacing the water pipes to our house and had to turn off our water for 24 hours. I had some jugs filled with water and tea, some hand sanitizer, and I was prepared. Or so I thought. But as it turns out, I had no idea I used so much water during the course of one day! I had some water for drinking. But even if I wanted to make more tea, or powdered milk, or lemonade, I needed water. I had prepared a way to cleanse my hands, but when I went to prepare lunch, I couldn't rinse the strawberries or the celery. Preparing dinner was going to be interesting also. No boiling of anything! Of course I couldn't wash dishes, or do laundry. I couldn't wash the car, either, or water the garden. I couldn't even really work too hard in the garden, because I would get very sweaty and dirty and want a shower. Exercising could get pretty sweaty, too, come to think of it! As each hour in the day passed, I seemed to think of a new use for the water I didn't have. When my husband got home and took me to Wal-Mart to buy some jugs of water to flush the toilet with, I couldn't help thinking of the many other countries where water isn't so easily obtained, let alone clean and safe. I've been surrounded by abundant water all my life, to swim in, bathe in, drink and enjoy in any way I wanted. But after this experience, I won't soon take it for granted again.

Prince Charming 30 Years Later

In the years when we were raising and homeschooling the children, I use to secretly think that being at home when I was sick, surrounded by all the work I should have been doing and the children that still needed tending, was a bit like my husband going in to work, setting up a cot by his desk, and trying to recover. Instead, when he was sick, he could stay home, lounge around watching t.v, and concentrate on getting better; sick pay would take care of the expenses, and his normal work was at least "out of sight, out of mind." Even though my husband and even my children helped out as much as they could, I still sometimes felt just a little bit envious.

Recently, however, my husband and I each took a turn at the flu, and I discovered a new perspective on the whole thing. When he was home sick, my work load did not increase at all. Actually, it may have gone down. He wasn't hungry, so I didn't have to cook, and for the most part I was free to lounge around with him, just keeping up with the basic tasks. We saw some really excellent movies and had some leisurely conversations. He wasn't the least bit demanding, and since I felt fine, I just enjoyed having him home. Almost like a little mini-vacation.

Then I got sick. I was too miserable to enjoy myself, but other than my miseries, I had no other worries. He, however, now had to go in to work. Coming in after a full day, he fixed me whatever I thought I could choke down, fixed his own dinner and cleaned up the kitchen. My restlessness and coughing made sleeping difficult for him, but the next day he had to get up, fix his own breakfast and pack his own lunch, make sure I was all settled for the day, and head off to work again. On the weekend, he did the shopping. All of this he did, and more. He thought of so many little things to comfort and cheer me, and he treated me with such kindness and compassion, even when I know he was exhausted.

He took such wonderful care of me that I have now recovered. Things are back to normal, which means I take care of him, he takes care of me and both of us feel well-cared for. But I just want to say Thank You, Honey. This past week when I could only gratefully and wretchedly take without giving much back, you showed me once again that you are my Prince Charming who makes living Happily Ever After a reality!
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