Footprints In The Sand of Time…

Our road trip to see my husband’s newest grandson was good. It was good in that he tolerated the travel quite well. It was good that he could spend time with the first grandson who is 2 1/2 and hollers for his PapPap when he gets into trouble. It was good that he got to spend time in the twilight of his parents…

Of course, the best part was holding his new grandbaby and seeing the dark hair that is in abundance. That was definately the first indication that this little one is a part of him, his namesake, his legacy.

My husband also got to hold and care for this tiny fella while he cried all night with a tummy ache…My husband has never shied away from a dirty diaper, cleaning a dirty face or putting clothes on a squirminy child who is telling him, “No, PapPap, no…”  My husband has always loved babies and he loves to be a “hands on” kind of ” dad”. PapPap willingly walked the floor all night with his new grandson. Without a complaint, or waking me to say, ” Here NanNan, your turn…”. He quitely sang, “Jesus Love Me” for hours.

For those who have never experienced this kind of love, all that I can say is that it is beyond anything that you can feel until the moment when this child is placed in your arms. As you look into the face of this tiny creature, you realize that you are holding your replacement on this earth. This is especially true for a grandfather who has cancer.

Your children do not replace you; it is the grandchildren that walk in the footprints that you make. You look and sometimes find a glimpse of yourself in their smile, the way they walk, or in that devilish laugh that ripples through the air and puts a huge smile on your face. They are the ones who know your love will always be there for them and that knowledge allows them to grow toward the sun. They are the ones who will solve the problems when you are no longer able. They are the ones who will care when you are unable to care for yourself.

It is the grandchildren that make the footprints on your heart, like footprints in the sand. They will be the generation that you may never see grow into maturity, but you know that your responsibility for their future is more vital than it was for your children.

It is the prayers of grandparents that follow you no matter where this world and your pursuits take you. These prayers are forever active regardless if that grandparent is still on this earth or not. These are the prayers that know that life has pitfalls and pains contained in life and it is there responsibility to keep the child before God’s face. These are the prayers that ask the angels to be a hedge of protection around this budding life; to protect the immeasurable possibilities contained in this treasured vessel of flesh. These tiny precious ones are new slates that life will write upon.

It is grandparents that have the time to listen to their little stories and be just as excited as the child over their new discovery. That is how grandparents help mold these children who are so fresh from the hand of God. They are so new that, when they smile, I belive that they are hearing the angels sing…Then, you realize that you are approaching the days when you, too, will hear these radiant melodies…

These tiny footprints are the ones that say that you lived, you loved and you achieved one of the most important levels of life. You are someone’s PapPap or NanNan. You are a very important person in the wonderment that is held in that special child’s eyes…

No one can take your place, only they can replace you. There is no way to describe the kind of love that you feel when you see the face of this tiny life…it is beyond words. It is a level of heaven on earth that only a miracle of love can bring…

These tiny creatures are your footprints left in the sands of time….

 

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The Trip

We didn’t get to leave as planned, so we are going to try it again today….

I will be gone from the blog for a little while, but hope to be back as soon as possible.

I would appreciate your prayers for my husbands. He has developed some new symptoms and of course, I am a little nervous at being so far from our doctors. But, that will not deter him from seeing this new grandson. At first you don’t susceed try, try, try….

Bye for now

Shadowlands

New Beginnings

Just a short post to say that my husband’s newest grandson has arrived. He is healthy and he is perfection.

We will be traveling to see this little miracle. I am praying that my husband will weather the road trip well. I know that he is anticipating the moment when he gazes into the eyes of this little wonder, a small part of him, a namesake and a legacy. This tiny wonder has been an important motivation for my husband’s survival.

Now, on to July when the next grandchild will come on the scene. This is another possible namesake. Should it be another little girl, then it will be just as sweet. The family is growing and providing the sustance that makes my husband purpose to stay on this earth…

Sprintime and new beginnings, who could ask for anything more???

 

It Is Finished and He is Free….

After 19 years, the day finally arrived. My husband is legally free from any financial obligation to the mother of his youngest daughter. You may be asking what does this have to do with a blog that speaks to a journey of cancer? It is just one of the multifaceted stresses that contributes to the emotional burden that my husband and I suffer as we walk in these dark shadows.

This is also a small ray of light that shines into this darkness. His illness rendered it impossible for him to pay support on a child that was more grown than not. He was denied his request to have this child emancipated at age 19 when she was a mother of one child and pregnant with another one. Even though this child refused to communicate with her father since the time she was 16 years old, the court ordered him to continue to pay until she was 21 years old.

So, in 2006, his disability benefits were reduced by $326/month and we had to survive on less than what some people pay for their home mortgage. Of course, I could go to work. We chose for me to stay with him especially when the doctors said that he had 6 months to a year to live.

I contacted our attorney and asked her what would transpire should my husband not survive long enough to pay this obligation and she replied that I would have to finish paying the support. It would be viewed as a government loan and that I would be responsible.

In addition to the garnishment, all our vehicles were placed with a lien against them so that we could not liquidate them. So, if I sold them for the purpose of his burial expenses, the courts would order the funeral director to surrender any and all monies that they received for his burial and remit them to the support division…

This distressed my husband terribly. He hated the fact that I would be made responsible for his child and that is in addition to all of the other atrosities that I endured through the fact that I loved him and I married him…

All of this would have been difficult in its own right, however, the history of the events that we endured in the fifteen years of marriage have been horrible. All because his ex wife is mentally ill. She has the diagnosis of bi polar disorder and she has learned to use it to survive life. She especially made my husband pay for his attempt in trying to remove his child from the effects of living with this woman. Everything he tried to do to prevent his child’s suffering brought suffering to him and to those who love him…

Now, the final tie is severed.

We no longer have a relationship with this child by my husband’s choice. He knows that having this child in his life will bring too much “drama” and he can no longer endure these stresses.

He knows where she is living and he knows that she finally is married. He knows that he has 3 grand daughters and he mourns that he will never know them, yet this is preferable to having them removed from him should his daughter become upset with anyone or anything that she disapporves. He made the choice to protect me, his other children, my children and most importantly himself…

He also knows that there is no way to have a relationship with this daughter without being in contact with his ex wife. It is impossible to have one without the other. That is a fact and that is too much for him to deal with emotionally.

So, we are free. Free from anything that can cause him to be legally compelled to do something against his wishes. He also has insured that his other children nor I will have to have any contact with her. He has written his will to legally combat any attempt on her or her mother’s part to take anything away from us.

It is sad to think of the price he paid to be in her life. In the end, it was all for nothing…the courts’ bias against father’s made this fact a reality and it continues to do so…

We are finally free from this saga. I am free from this saga and there is no more remaining penalty for loving this man, this average, wonderful longsuffering man…

 

His Story…

Every book has a theme, some sort of information or a story to tell. Every life seems to have these elements as well. What is his theme, his information, his story?

He is average, as it goes in how the world measures men. He has not aspired to great things. That doesn’t mean he isn’t accomplished . He may be an average man, but he is unique. He is one of a kind.

He is a man who has lived for the zest of life and found it wanting. He has looked for life’s meaning and  has been disappointed; that is until he was told that there was no more life to live.

Now, he lives holding each day as precious even when it is a common replication of the one before. He sees the sunrise and appreiciates it as if it were his first.

He watches a sunset with gratitide and realizes it may be his last.

He has lived his life as if God was too far away to touch. And now, he sees God as Abraham did. God calls him, Friend.

What is the sum total of his life? What is the value of an average man who has lived an average life?

Great…..not because of anything that he has accomplished, not because of any measured importance.

He is greatly valued and wonderfully important because I love him…

 

 

Sounds of Silence

“Hello Darkness My Old Friend…

I’ve come to talk with you again….

In restless dreams I walked alone…

I turn my collar to the cold and damp…

Touch the sound of silence…

In the naked light I saw

Ten thousand people maybe more

People talking without speaking

hearing without listening

songs..

 that voices never share, no one there…

Stir the sound of silence…

Fools said I do not know…

Silence like a cancer grows…

But my words like silent raindrops fell…

Echo the sounds of silence…”      Sounds of Silence…Simon and Garfunkle….

It is too beautiful of a day for the sounds of silence, but that is my day. Somehow, it feels as if the next step takes me to nothing and no where. I understand the condition. It is common and it is nothing new. It is part of the journey.

Especially the part where people are talking without speaking…hearing without listening…it seems that is the nature of our doctor visits with the oncologist. She talks but she offers nothing…she hears, but she does not listen…that is how most people relate to us now…they ask the questions, but they truly do not want to listen…they just want to hear…

Today is just one of “those” days…I can’t get motivated to do the smallest of necessities. My husband sleeps and all I can do is watch and listen to his breath. I was hoping that spring would help this kind of thing, but it is spring and this persists…

The silence continues… no phone calls…no conversation that would interest me if someone would call…I am becoming accustomed to the silence…

It is just another day that is replicated in the fashion of the day before…it is empty…I am empty…I am weary and ithe silence keeps growing like the cancer…

I know that this will pass. I have opted to not take anything to alter this mood. I want to feel it…I want to not be altered by medication…it is part of the journey…it just is….so I keep walking “In restless dreams I walked alone…I turn my collar to the cold and damp…”, I keep walking in the silence…and the sunset is brilliant today, yet is is setting in silence…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lela’s Story Part 4

     It was1918; the dawn of the Jazz Age…the day of  flappers, women’s suffrage and the debate as to whether women should have control over their bodies and prevent child conception and birth…It was the days of prohibition and towns were full of speakeasies and underground clubs where women would smoke cigarettes on long filters. It was the dawn of the “Roaring ’20’s” the “Golden Age”.

      What an exciting era for a young woman!!! What an accepting time for someone who was not acceptable in polite society…Lela’s world was full of opportunities. These opportunities had never been considered for women before this time in history.

      At the end of the First World War, women hoped that their contribution to the workforce would win them the right to vote. They proved their abilities to work outside the home. Many wanted to continue in their positions, but when the “Dough Boys” came marching home, women were instructed to return to the kitchen so as to make room for the weary soldiers….

       This was the era of the Great Gatsby, the time of everyone trying to pretend to be well off. Women wanted to appear as women of leisure. They hid their labor calloused hands with gloves and they wore heavy make up to emulate the women in the movies. Their fashion went from Victorian age of high collars and hiding their ankles under long skirts to wearing flimsy slips of dresses with their hems hoisted up to the knee. They danced the “Charleston” to show off their legs and most scandalous, they wore men’s clothes. To promote their new freedoms, they cut their hair into “Bobs”. They wanted equal rights and if it took a more masculine look to achieve it, then so be it. 

      Women were rebelling and their actions threatened the conventional ideals of women’s roles in the home. Almost every accepted norm that was expected and kept by women in polite society were called into question by a tempestuous flapper. Women challenged every area of morality, especially their realm of sexuality. Women opening expressed their desire to engage in causal sex without any promise of marriage. To live life in this era, women needed to have contol over their bodies and they wanted to prevent pregnancy. They wanted to have sex and not bear a child every two years for the rest of their child bearing years. They wanted safer methods of child birthing. They wanted choices. They demanded them.

      All of these issues touched the fabirc of life at the turn of the century. One death in 100 pregnancies was the sad statistic of the day. Because of this loss of life, many men were left with a newborn baby and no wife or mother to raise their child.

      Such was the case of the young engineer. He lost his wife when she gave birth to their first child. David needed a wife and mother for his daughter.

     When David met Lela, his daughter was three years old, and it was true. David needed to find a mother for his daughter. His parents were raising his daughter. Life as an railroad engineer did not lend itself to raising children. The only way he could manage was for his parents to carefor his daughter. He knew that she would be cared for properly and she would be raised to be a  proper young lady with all of the advantages of polite society.

      David was the first generation to be born into this country. His parents were immigrants from England. His mother was Northern Irish and his father was from the “Lake District” of Cumberland. When they came to America, they did not come as some. They wanted land and they had enough money to purchase fine farmland on the Illinois/Indiana border. They were wealthy enough to build a fine home and establish a refined life complete with servants and proper engagements in the community. They were well off and cultured in comparison to those around them.

      It doesn’t take much to imagine their raised eyebrows when their engineer son brought home Lela. They knew straight away that Lela was not a woman of good breeding. In fact, they were appalled that she was a half breed. It was clear that she did not have the benefit of  any “finishing” and or education. Lela definately was beneath their standards and they were not happy that David was wanting to marry beneath his station.

      David made sure as to never tell them of how he tied off the train whistle and let it blow until Lela accepted his invitation to a New Year’s Eve night on the town. He definitely didn’t tell them how Lela had told two men to meet her at the same time at the same place. They would have disapproved of Lela’s cheekiness in deciding that she would go with the man who first appeared in the doorway of the Whistle Stop restaurant. Knowing the circumstances of their meeting would have confirmed their opinion that Lela was a “loose” woman, a flapper, one of those women. She was a suffragette, a person that wanted to change the accepted customs of society…

      The night of New Year’s Eve was one that Lela will never forget. She waited as the hour of closing crept nearer. She quickly finished her duties and went to the back of the restaurant to freshen up. At 8:25, she put on her coat and gathered her purse. She was ready and she would leave with the first man who came in the door. She didn’t care if it was the traveling salesman or the young engineer. She was going out on the town tonight and she was going to have a fantastic time.

       Eight : thirty appeared on the clock on the wall. Lela heard someone whistling a popular song of the day. It was a lively rendition of  “Mares Eat Oats and Does Eat Oats and Little Lambs Eat Ivy”. The manner in which it was being whistled showed that it was a happy tune; one that could move your feet to dance. In the next moment, Lela saw the young engineer rounding the corner of the restaurant. He was carrying a few tired looking flowers that he found at the rail station. Truth be told, the flowers were from a funeral wreath that was accompanying a casket on his train. It was the best he could do in the dead of winter.

      As he entered the restaurant, he offered Lela the flowers then he offered his arm and away they went out of  the restaurant’s door. Laughing and talking excitedly, they turned toward downtown Springfield. Just as they rounded the corner of the restaurant, the traveling salesman was hurrying toward them. When he realized that Lela was on the arm of another man, he stopped in mid step. He had a bewildered look of surprise and disappointment on his face. David tipped his hat to the salesman and Lela gave him a huge smile and a giggle as they moved past the startled man. The salesman silently stood there in utter shock at the turn of these events…

      Lela had a great time that night and she and David began dating regularly. Of course, Polly didn’t approve. Polly saw David as a typical railroad man who would soon be off down the tracks soon to forget all about her daughter…just another man that was what David was to Polly…

      But, not to Lela. He was handsome. He had a wonderful sense of humor and he seemed to be smitten with her. She found herself waiting in anticipation for him to come into the restaurant. There were days when he was gone on the train and she couldn’t help but wonder if there were other women in other restaurants and train stations. She would never truly know, but she wanted to believe that she had captured this man’s heart because he definitely had captured hers…

      After dating a few months, they decided to marry. Lela  met David’s parents and his young daughter. His daughter, Emily, was the same age as her Pauline. Lela believed that they would make a happy family together. When David asked Polly’s permission to marry, Lela was so excited. Now, they just had to set a date.

      Not long after announcing their intentions to wed, David received a wire from his parents. The message said that he needed to come home as soon as possible. It stated that there was a serious matter for discussion

      David’s first thought was his daughter. David told Lela that he would be gone for a few days but he promised that on his return, they would decide on their wedding date.

      When David arrived at his parent’s home, he was glad to see his daughter was well and was very happy to see him… She had grown since he last saw her. Even though she seemed a little spoiled by her grandparents, she was a delightful child.  In his relief to see that his daughter was alright, he felt a keen sense of tension on his arrival. David was troubled by this feeling of dread.

       After a wonderful dinner, David and his parents retired to the parlor. They were served coffee and David began to inquire as to the purpose of their wire. He couldn’t stand the suspense any longer.

      His mother started the conversation with reminding David of his responsibilities. As the oldest son, he was expected to inherit the family farm and, in exchange for this inheritance, he was expected to care for both of his parents as they aged. She also reminded him of his responsibility to Emily. As her father, he was expected to find a woman of suitable station to help mold Emily into the ways of a young woman of good breeding.

      Then his father spoke. He said that his mother and he were not pleased with his choice of a mother for Emily. He stated that Lela was not at all suitable as a wife for their son. He reminded David that Lela was from the world of poverty and her parentage included an Indian mother. He went on to say that Lela was a divorced woman and that David should be mindful of his families standing in the community. He concluded his remarks with the statement that Lela would just not do as a new member of the family.

      Then, his father made a statement that rattled David’s world. His father stated that should David pursue this marriage with Lela, they would be forced to disinherit him. He added that they would see to it that Emily would be taken away from him and he would not see her or have anything further to do with his daughter…there was no need for discussion…

      David knew that there was no such thing as discussion in this household. When his father or mother spoke, that was it. They never said things in jest or in passing. David knew that this decision was made and it was most likely made the first time they laid eyes on Lela. Any protest by David was useless…

      David excused himself from the parlor. He needed to think about what was just said. He was aware that Lela didn’t meet the standards to which his parents adhered but he believed that it was a new world and a new era of society. He never considered that his parents would withhold his daughter from him…

      David was stunned. He loved Lela. He loved her more than any woman he had ever known. He was sorry to admit that he loved Lela more than he loved his first wife. He didn’t know that he could love anyone as much as he loved her. Lela was everything to him. Now, he had to give her up or loose his daughter…He knew his parents well enough to know that they would do exactly as they said that they would do.

       How was he going to choose between the woman that he loved and his child? How was he going to tell Lela?

We Made It!!!

We made it! 

March has come and gone and his prediction has gone with it…He is still here. In fact, he is in a holding pattern of sorts.

Of course, having the “flu” isn’t good. We are through the “fever” part of the virus. The other symptoms didn’t materialize. I should say, they did not make the appearance that we expected.  That is great, too.

He has complained of pleurisy type pain. The first order of business will be to fill the Rx for the antibiotic. We just have to get through the next 48 hours. The disability money will be in and we can get the medicine filled.  In the mean time, we are taking collodial silver. It was the antibiotic of the 1930’s and it is effective without adding stress on the liver. Hopefully, it is having a positive effect on keeping us from experiencing the usual symptoms of this flu.

Anyone with asthma or a compromised immune system i.e. cancer dreads the idea of having the flu. Others will suffer through it and in a couple of weeks, life returns to normal…what takes two weeks for them takes us a month of recovery.

For cancer victims, the secondary complications that lead to pnuemonia can become the usher of death. So far, he is being very resilient and we are not having the complications, but we are only a week into this round. We must still error on the side of caution.

As for me, I never know which virus will trigger my asthma and I always sit on “pins and needles” looking for the changes that I have come to know too well. I am happy to say that I am not having any asthma symptoms as yet. This is peculiar.

The main complaint has been the exhaution and feeling worse than dirt. My husband battles fatigue from the cancer. I battle it from the “depression”. So, add with it the virus, the world has come to a halt and we are dragging ourselves around this little house like some sort of zombies….

This is the first time in a week that I wanted to sit at the computer and write anything. I am grateful that I have had the desire. If it produces anything, all the better.

Then, it hit me…it is April. We made it!!! March is gone and April is full of many things to look forward to. (for better understanding see the January post where my husband predicts that he will be gone by March.)

In two weeks, the new grandson will be here. His birthday is scheduled for the 17th. (my husband’s daughter must deliver by C-section)

We are having dinner with an old friend next week. Oldest Grandson is in his first musical. (he is in first grade. I am thrilled because I was in musical theater and I am hoping for one of my grandsons to take up the torch and run with music in his heart)

The week following, another friend is in the area for training and she will be stopping by or we will be going to dinner with her. And the last week of April, we have another friend who will be coming here and staying while she works in Kentucky…April is quite full for a couple who usually has very little to accomplish…

It is also the month that I will continue the story of Lela. I am working on the rough draft a little at a time….and I am still researching her life.

I am also continuing on with my journey towards forgiveness. It is important for me to overcome this particular shadow. I understand that it is an ongoing journey, but the major accomplishment is that I want to pursue forgiveness. I had no desire to do this for a very long time.

There is a line in a song by Brad Paisley/Dolly Parton that says, ” When I get where I am going, I will shed the sins and struggles that I’ve carried all these years, And I’ll leave my heart wide open,  I will love and have no fear….”

This part of the song speaks volumes to my hubby and to my heart as well. I just don’t want to wait until I leave this world to accomplish this goal. I want to shed the sins and struggles now. I want to live now with my heart wide open and love and have no fear …

That is my desire. It is so contrary from what my head says. I have lived before with my heart wide open and I have lived long enough to know that leaving your heart so open results in great pain…that is the risk you take when you love.

I am so tired of the pain and the pain brings with it anger. The anger fails to walk alone and brings fear with it. That can evolve into a defensive nature that pushes everything away. Everything like love, peace, contentment, all of these things are kept behind the wall of defense. I don’t want to live like that any longer.

I want the hurt and the bitterness of life’s disappointments to be laid down. Carrying this load is more than I can bear.

Sometimes, it seems like I am walking the Valley of the Shadow as a mule that has one purpose and that is to carry the heavy packs along a narrow trail. I am not as sure footed as the mule. I know that I can slip and fall. I have fallen many times on this journey.

I want to lighten the load by forgiving those who have used me.  Those who have found me not as dependable as they thought I should be. Those who have demanded of me and I failed them. I am weary of bearing the guilt for disappointing them. .

I want to forgive myself and I want to forgive God.

All of these things are in my hopes for April. It will be interesting to see how this month proceeds.

Wait…I caught a glimpse of something outside the window…It is a robin. Wait, I can  smell the earth warming….yes, finally….there are the green sprouts of daffodil…oh yeah!!

It is Spring…we made it!!!!