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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 351 - This Will All Be Over Soon {FMF}

This is another FMF post that almost wasn't written.

Last night I went out to look at the sunset, and couldn't get back to the house. My pancreas went into spasm, and the pain prevented me from moving. I just stood there, to weak even to call for help.

Fortunately Barb was home, and she was able to help me back to shelter. Baby steps, and each one like a dagger.

She was sad. I used to be able to run, to hike, to climb to build. And now this.

It's been a long fall, and it's going to get worse.

But I am surprised to find that I have no need for sadness. Surprised, because I've lost so much...shouldn't I mourn?

No, I shouldn't.

First, I'm grateful for the life I've had. I have a wonderfully loving and supportive wife, who is patient with all of the necessary accommodations that terminal illness requires. She wishes she could do more, but she does everything she can.

My friends - you guys, reading this - have been both support and inspiration. Your prayers and help have meant more to me than I can ever say.

My dreams have generally not come true, but better things have happened. I wanted to have a life of flying, and got some of that, but more was sacrificed to keep a large group of dogs healthy, happy, and safe. Welive near an airfield, and I look up daily to watch the aeroplanes overhead, but am brought back to what has truly mattered by cold noses and wagging tails. Aeroplanes can't love you back; dogs can.

I've had some influence through writing, with a couple of novels, a couple of short non-fiction books, and this blog. People have written and said that my words helped them, people from all over the world. I am so grateful to have had that opportunity, even if my slow death has been an integral part of what I've written.

The days are good, even with pain and nausea and other stuff. I can;t focus on reading as much, but I find comfort in re-reading books I've loved...and we have a local library that has a good collection of VDs. Can't watch fore than 20-30 minutes at a time because, again, I lose focus. But right now I am working my way through the remake of Ben-Hur, and savouring it. (Better than the original, in my view.)

And occasionally I can take hacksaw to metal and fabricate one more part for the aeroplane upon which I have not given up. One part, yes, but that's one part less to build.

I'm too busy enjoying life to be sad.

And perhaps the happiest thing is the hope and the knowing, inside my heart, that there is someone out there who will step into my shoes and into Barbara's heart, a good Christian man who will help her walk through the sorrow, and who will love our canine family.

And who will help her feel love and hope again.

And I hope I meet him before I die.

It seems that this will all be over soon; I will have to step away from the blog (but not FMF!) to try to put it into some coherence so that others may benefit from it an an e-book.

And then, it will be time to say Goodbye.

But not today. Not quite yet.

So...music! How about the Fab Four and the original video of Yellow Submarine?



I do ask that you be patient with my slow replies to your comments (which we treasure). I'm trying to stay caught up.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.










Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 350 - Oh, The Unfairness Of It All!

Facing pain and more pain, and deterioration unto death, one might be the slightest bit tempted to say, "This is unfair! I had a LIFE!"

"Why me?"

Tempting, but for the eample of someone you probably never heard of, Bruno Peter Gaido.

On February 1, 1942, peter Gaido was an Aviation Machinist's Mate 3rd Class (AMM3/C), serving on the aircraft carrier Enterprise. On that day Enterprise had struck the Japanese-held Marshall Islands, and as she retired came under attack from a group of Japanese bombers led by Lt. Nakai Kazuo.

Gaido saw the attack developing, and ran to an SBD Dauntless dive-bomber parked on Enterprise's deck. He climbed into the rear cockpit, and unshipped the .30 caliber machine gun mounted there, and began firing.

It became a personal duel; Gaido crippled Nakai's aeroplane, but the Japanese bomber continued on in attempt to become a proto-kamikaze, and crash aboard the carrier. It hit the ship a glancing blow, and its wing sheared off the tail of the SBD from which Gaido was firing.

After the impact Gaido stood in his seat, and continued fire into the bomber's wreckage...and then picked up a fire bottle to help extinguish the flames that billowed up around him.

And then he disappeared into the bowels of the ship, afraid that he would get in trouble for ghis unconventional actions.

He didn't. Admiral William Halsey gave him a spot promotion to AMM1/C, a big jump for an enlisted man.

You'd think the fates would have been kind to Peter Gaido. You would be wrong.

Four months later, flying from the Enterprise with pilot Ensign Frank O' Flaherty, Gaido was part of the strike that sank the Japanese carrier Kaga (one of the carriers that attacked Pearl Harbour) at the Battle of Midway, on June 4, 1942.

Their SBD damaged and losing fuel, O'Flaherty and Gaido had to land in the water near the Japanese fleet. They were picked up by the destroyer Makigumo, and were tortured into revealing some information about the composition of the American fleet.

And then they were tied together, and thrown into the sea to drown.

When I think life's unfair, I think of Bruno Peter Gaido and Frank O'Flaherty.


Bruno Peter Gaido AMM1/C (from www.findagrave.com)


The wrecked SBD from which Gaido fought on Feb. 1 1942 (form here)


Ensign Frank O'Flaherty (from www.findagrave.com)

The musical theme can be nothing else but this:




 I do ask that you be patient with my replies to your comments (which we treasure). I'm trying to stay caught up.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).





I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.











Monday, August 14, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 349 - Horrible Days, Fun Music

This post is late, and will be short; two nights ago, it was an ordeal. Pain that left me screaming loud enough, said Barb, to wake the dead.

Or at least our not-so-close neighbours.

The next day, Sunday August 13, I was wrecked, both physically and emotionally. It's not easy.

We truly appreciate the prayers y'all have offerred on our behalf, and in return, how about some fun music?


I do ask that you be patient with my replies to your comments (which we treasure). I'm trying to stay caught up.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).



I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.







Thursday, August 10, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 348 - The Other Side Of Me {FMF}

The past 96 or so hours (as I write this, and I've lost track) have been the worst yet, and this will be short. I don't want to miss a FMF post, but...

Pain's off the scale, nausea's off the charts, and the dry heaves have me convinced that this is how I shall die, retching uncontrollably, with consciousness fading, and perpetual light dawning.

But in the meantime, it really hurts.

I have been lowered to my hands and knees, trying to catch my breath and wailing, "I can't do this! I wanna go home!"

Ask Barb. She was there. On second thought maybe don't, it's a moment I am sure she'd prefer to forget.

I'd like to say it was pain talking, but that isn't accurate. It was me, all right, the part of me that I used to disdain, and for whom I now have to find a measure of compassion.

It's not easy. I can't strap this Weaker Me to the rack and tell him,"Don't worry about the pain, It's just weakness being forced from the body."

I can't make him do a thousand moral press-ups to build the musculature of fortitude.

Moto sloganeering doesn't work, and he can't comprehend something like "Only in agony's crucible can we find out what God wanted us to be".

He's not that interested in hifalutin' goals. He just wants it to stop. "Love thy neighbour as thyself," he reminds. "Compassion for others is worth little when you don't extend it inward."

Sigh.

I gently shut him back into the basement of my psyche, and return to my world.

The good may die young, but badass lives forever!

But I haven't locked that cellar door, because I know in my heart that badass will one day be broken, and it'll be left for that compassionate, gentle individual to return blinking to the light of day, pick up the shattered remnants of My Strength That Was, and carry them...US...to the Throne of Grace.

August 9 was the 15th anniversary of Barb marrying me, and while courting, I would sing her this song. Here it is, peformed by the great Jo Stafford...You Belong To Me.



Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).



I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.






Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 347 - Freefall

Not up to writing much, physically it's like the go-kart of my life is headed down Death Mountain with no brakes.

Kind of a cool ride, but for the dry heaves that got really violent broke something in my throat. Now I swallow funny.

And did you know you could break a tooth while retching? Neither did I.

Neither did Service Dog Ladron. The tooth whacked her in the face; she thought I was trying to bite her.

The things we learn!

One might be tempted, at times, to think this is quite unfair...but it's not, really. The positive side of the ledger completely overwhelms the negative, with a wonderful wife, darling dogs (well, Bella did nip my ankle this morning...she's the little broken-backed terrier, and I didn't feed her fast enough), and loving, caring friends, most of whom I will not meet in this life.

There's still stuff I can do, albeit slowly, and I still have the unshakeable hope that I will beat this thing.

And there is the God that whispers strength in my ear. He never promised ese; He did promise His Faithful Love. He delivers on that every day.

Oh and did I mention my wonderful wife...the one who just got some on-sale fringed boots?

She's on the lookout for a fringed vest.

And a trilby hat. She's gonna look like Tom Petty.

Now, music...in the mood for some U2? You are?

Me2.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 345 - Embracing Fear {FMF}

Fear.

That stark, staring dread that grabs you by the throat and chokes the breath out of you, that loosens your guts and sends them churning, that makes you lose your water.

That's where I have been for the past few hours.

Last night Barbara was awakened by unearthly screams, and came out to find me in agony, curled in a foetal position, delirious and unaware of where I was (and who she was). It lasted 90 minutes.

(This is my post for Five Minute Friday, written ahead of time. When I learn the keyword I will try to work it in.) (The word is TRY. It's there.)

I asked her to please shoot me. Glad she didn't.

I don't remember much except the pain, and as I write this I can still feel it waiting, biding its time. It's like a San Andreas Fault inside me, sending small shocks that tell of The Big One to come.

And it's scary.

A braver man than I would be able to compartmentalize, and set it aside. A man with more faith would be able to lean into God, and hand the pain and fear to Him.

Me being me, I have had to try to find another way, and it's this...which is surprising. I have to embrace the fear.

Embracing pain is much easier; it calls up the Stoic virtue of endurance, the Spartan one of self-abnegation, and the Jewish virtue of dark humour (My spiritual upbringing came from an Orthodox family, and there is a mezzuzah at my door).

But fear? That almost feels like saying, "I'm a coward, and I own it."

Almost, but not quite, because while cowardice is action, fear is merely circumstance. I'm tempted to say that it's like the old adage that you can't prevent birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.

But that's not really it, because my fear is an aspect of me. It's not something I can cut off and discard.

And so, I can either fight it, and engage in an internal civil war that will tire me out while the real enemy gains more ground...

...or I can hold it close, and treat it with gentle respect, because in truth, my fear is the part of that is the crying child, afraid of the darkness.

You can't browbeat a child into courage, or an adult, for that matter.

But what you can do is sit with them. The fear may not go away.

But at least you'll be facing it together.

And this, I think, is what embracing fear, rather than rejecting it, does for us. It's the way we can invite God to sit with us.

Cancer will never be anything but scary.  I am afraid of that darkness, that jungle of pain.

But I don't have to face it alone.

And now, a treat for you...if you ever wondered what Barb is like as a person, her gestures and her animation, I found a video that's so close it's eerie (and it's a nice song, too); just watch the singer, and you'll have a glimpse of my dear wife...


Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.







Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Your Dying Spouse 344 - Passing The Torch

These posts are getting harder to write, because I have to face - and find a way to share - some things that are physically and spiritually hard.

And emotionally hard, as well.

So, here goes.

We all want to be mourned at our death, and remembered. Even though we be Christians with a lienhold in Paradise, we instinctively want that temporal immortality of not being forgotten.

But how much do we want it, and more importantly, to what end?

When I die, do I want Barbara to lie in bed through long sleepless nights, weeping because the memory of my voice is fading? Do I want her to hold my tools to her bosom, because I was the last one to have held them?

Sure. Not for me, but for her, because there is a real need to grieve. No one gets a free pass on that, in any marriage worthy of the name.

And the Bible sets aside forty days as a period of mourning.  But only forty.

And then, life goes on. It has to.

So, consider a situation that I will take pains to stress is hypothetical. It has no counterpart in real life. None.

What if Barbara met someone at church, a Godly widower with for whom she found herself developing an affection...an affection that was returned? Or what if she had an old friend from her past, who had loved her from afar and who was now uncommitted?

And what if they developed an unspoken understanding, that, upon my death, they might one day be together?

How would I feel about that? Pretty good, really. In fact, if I could physically do it, I'd be turning cartwheels.

I want my wife to be happy. I wish that we could grow old in shared happiness, but since that's not to be, I want her to find the happiness she can, without any feeling that she's betraying my memory...even if I am still alive.

Please note that I am not suggesting physical or emotional betrayal. Far from it; that would do more damage than anything.

But I would be delighted that she had something to which she could look forward. I don't want her to face the cold air of a lonely winter alone.

And to think of another man here, playing with my dogs, using my tools, reading my books...loving my wife?

Yes to all of them. I want my dogs to have another friend when I'm gone, and my tools to find other skilled hands. I want my books to be cherished for their own sake, but also that the familiar titles will still be around my wife.

And I want Barbara to be loved.

God has His plans and seasons; but however He cares to do it...

Please, God, find someone who will love my wife, and the remaining parts of my life, when I'm gone.

Musical theme is that lovely song from the Plain White T's, Hey There Delilah.

Still hoping to get the new and improved version of Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart up and running in the near future. Just haven't had the energy to do it yet...but if you would like to read it, please say so in your comment and I'd be glad to send you a PDF (which should fit your Kindle).

I have another blog, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Mick Jagger) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.



Marley update... been moved to a sanctuary, and Bay County will revise their 'dangerous dog' codes.

WE MADE A DIFFERENCE!

And marley has a Facebook page! Please drop by to see how happy he is today.


If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

Below are my recent releases on Kindle -please excuse their presence in the body of the blog. I haven't the energy to get them up as 'buttons' in the sidebar. You can click on the covers to go to the Amazon links.