Current mood:peacefulAll it took, for me was a glance. Sitting in some doctor's office, looking around at the pictures I had seen dozens of times. Piles of out of date magazines, with the names markered out. I was in waiting room hell. Then I happened to see the Chicken Soup book on a far table. It brought back a memory that I had stored away, for the rainiest of days.
I fancied myself to be a writer in my younger days. Short stories, poetry, reworkings of classics. In HS, I used this lack of talent, to keep a horrid teenager's angst filled diary, as I lamented my toubles at home, work, school, and my less than stellar love life. I never pursued it, thankfully.
I had a short story published in some gamer's magazine way back in the day. I still have the magazine, around here buried in some closet. As I sat and looked at the Chicken Soup book, it made me think of the 2 times I sent stories to them. Neither was used, to my knowledge. .
As awful as they were, they were true. And they were from some place deep down inside of me. Things that even the heartiest bowl of Chicken Soup, would not have healed. Thru a hundred hard drive crashes, and a dozen changes of computers, those stories, from deep inside of me were lost. One I have completely forgotten. The other, came back to me in that chair this morning.
I often think of the people who are the lucky ones. Finding their true loves, in a world of pretenders. The rest of us, just wander thru, thinking we have the one, when in truth, it is just a shiny fake that caught our eye, and caused us to fall off of the path that we were searching on.
As I look back, I think my G'father and G'mother were two of the lucky ones. They were devoted to each other, and as their years advanced, and her health went into decline, you could see the wear starting to form on the edges of his smile. Thru the good and the bad, they stuck with each other.
I never knew it, but when she passed, that was the marker in my life, where I began to shake my own fist at the sky. As gentle and as down to earth person you could ever want. Never cursed (that I ever heard). Rarely raised her voice. Played the piano at church. Taught Sunday school. raised a house full of kids.
As we, the children, of the children, started to be brought to that house, as the centerpoint of the family, I can still hear her high voice, as she called us to dinner. Told us to be quiet, when we were too loud. Tucked us in to bed at night.
She developed Alzheimer's in her later years, and as her memories faded into darkness, we grew older. Trips to that grand house were not as frequent as we wished, but we came and went as often as we could.
As the disease started to take hold, she forgot our names. Forgot the name of the man she had laid down beside, each night, for over 40 years.
I remember going to see her at a nursing facility. Her care had overwhelmed my G'father, and he fought the family for several years, before he relented and allowed her to go there.
He and I went to see her, and she could not remember either of our names. She was holding a Cabbage Patch Doll (one of my distant cousins was the guy who started those things, and he sent her one of his originals), cooing at it. In her mind, she had a new baby to care for. We, saw this woman who we loved, sitting in a haze of darkness and confusion.
My G'father ran from the room, crying. He was overwhelmed by all of this. A passing nurse stopped and asked him why he was crying. He told her that his wife no longer knew who he was. She had lost everything.
She shushed us, and walked in the room, took my G'Mother by the hand, and said "Miss Emily, Sing for me."
Out of the darkness and haze, Rock of Ages, started to come out. Her high voice, now wavering, but clear as a bell.
We knew at that moment, that even though God had taken everything else from her, He was the last thing that she would let go of.
I left that day, in tears, not knowing that I had been at one of those watershed days of my life. As I got older, I saw it more clearly. As it was. And should have been. A woman, who loved her family. Loved God. And lived her life to its fullest. We saw the confusion, never knowing that even though she did not recognize us, she recognized the other face, that was looking at her. The One listening to her sing. The only man she loved more than her husband. Yashua.
She passed several months after that. My G'Father never remarried. He never refered to her as his late wife. Just his wife. The mother of his children. His best friend.
There are lots of things that are good for a man's soul. Maybe Chicken Soup is one of them. Maybe it is not. But today, it was, for me.