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Love and marriage are the greatest adventures in life, and they point they way to our relationship with the Almighty.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 224 - It's Hard To Go On

An update - yesterday Barbara won the Halloween Costume Contest at work, dressed as WW2's Rosie The Riveter. Here's a picture - she really nailed it! (Look at the contemporary poster at top right for comparison.)

We're linked with Messy Marriage's From Messes To Messages. I hope you'll take the link there; you'll find a lot of really great marriage resources.

It is getting hard to continue...writing, and hoping. A lot of ground has been lost recently, physically, spiritually, and just in terms of overall outlook.

Barbara's concerned; she sees the light fading, and asks what she can do to help. The hardest words for a caregiver to hear, I think, are, "There's really not much you can do."

Or anyone can do, for that matter.

Except me. My morale, my hope, my future, whatever it is, is up to me. (I'm not excluding God, but my nature just doesn't allow me to lean into Him arms, or cry out to Him. He's there, with an offer of strength and a God-sized boot in the backside when I slip into self-pity. Sometimes that makes sitting down kinda hard for a few days.)

So what to do -

  • Dress professionally according to my circumstance, which means clean and neat shorts and shirt, and boots. No slippers, no dressing gowns. (I have to wear shorts as my legs have burn scars; long pants hurt.
  • No comfy chairs or sofas. When I sit down I sit on the floor; when I lie down (which is often, yeah, it's the floor. Softness is self-indulgence, and self-indulgence is a killer.
  • Maintain engagement via the internet; the only human I see regularly is my wife, and carrying on a conversation is hard. Mostly I listen. But I do try to keep up with the blogs I have come to love, and to maintain engagement on mine. Not easy, some days. Pain can make concentrating on a comment or reply hard. But it's vital for mental health.
  • Try to do at least one -aeroplane-building-task every day. This was my lifetime avocation, and while I can't do much I can still do something, even if it's laying out a pattern for a part on a piece of steel I may never be able to cut. It's not much but it's something.
  • Avoid media that calls me to cynicism. I love Joel Osteen, but hearing him talk about my miracle being just around the corner evokes an answer of "Oh, yeah?" and that isn't helpful. Cynicism is the brother of despair, and the father of self-contempt.
  • No bad language. This is hard for me! But the use of profanity is not only unimaginative, it's also sloppy and gives vent to frustration that should be sublimated to a better purpose. Complaining is useless.
  • No comfort food. The foods we crave are generally high in carbs and fat...that' why we like them so much! But for mental clarity one needs more protein. So it's lean chicken 'till I'm growing feathers. And rather than soda pop, concentrated electrolytes in tapwater. Bon apetit.
That's a pretty good list for starters. What would you suggest to add?

Much to my surprise, I decided to participate in a '31 Days' blogging exercise; rather than interrupt the flow of this post, I have another blog established, "Starting The Day With Grace". The focus is a grace quote from someone you might not expect (like, say Malcolm X) and a short commentary. I hope you'll join me.

Marley update...he's received a lot of support, but STILL NEEDS HELP TO BE SAVED.


He's up to nearly 200,000 signatures, but the local authorities are dragging their feet. They think that we'll give up and go away. We won't.

If you have a mment, I'd like to ask you to visit Change.org to consider a petition to free a 'death row dog' who has been separated from his family for ten months over a misunderstanding. Marley was saved from Afghanistan by a US serviceman; please help make sure this story doesn't end in needless tragedy! Marley's gotten a lot of support...but he still needs our help.

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.


  1. Keep talking to us!! We care. I care! And knowing that people care if important. What you are going through is what we will all eventually go through. I pray for your pain letting up enough to give you some peace. You are important Andrew. Don't ever forget that. (Yep, I gotta agree with you about Joel Osteen. Sometimes that crap just doesn't help)

    1. I'll be here, Paula, until the end. This community gives me life. Thanks so much for the prayers! (And I loved your comment on Osteen!)

  2. No profanity! I approve. :)
    Andrew, I'm sorry. At first when you said boots, I didn't imagine anything less than the most embellished city slicker cowboy boots a New Mexican resident could find at the department store and that paired with a pair of shorts...thanks for the chuckle!
    Knowing your history of service (and I thank you again for that, soldier), I imagine that "boots" might mean more of a hiking or combat boot type.

    Cynics are abundant, but hope-bringers? Harder to find. Think of how you defy the very Earth you exist in? You create heat as you exist. Cynicism drains all the energy out of others. You instead choose to pour energy into others. Bravo, Andrew! You've found the secret of life. To persevere. To LIVE!

    You're still a brilliant orange leaf these days! :)

    1. Tammy, thank you for this lovely, heartwarming comment! You've really brought so much light into my life.

      I try to use the old jungle boots when I can find a good pair. They lace high enough to keep the thistles off my feet, but the canvas uppers are light enough to breathe.

      I think the secret may have found me...I was looking for a modus vivendi and it seems God has backed me into a corner. I'm OK with this.

      And orange was always a favourite colour...plus, it's the only word in common English usage that doesn't have a word to rhyme with!

      Love back!

  3. Dang that Tammy - such a brilliant Wordsmith. Pretend I wrote that, ok?
    I loved your post - and although I have my health, my life is sort of like yours. I usually don't see another human up close Mon-Fri as I work from home, unless my hubs is off the road and here. I do see a furry face every day - our Sam. But I do like comfy chairs and an occasional couch. Oh yeah, and I do NOT like J.O. I really like your list and if I think of something to add I'll LYK. Don't forget that card with a sketch. You have my address, right?

    1. Susan, yes...Tammy's really good, but you're no slouch either!

      I used to love armchairs...but I find now that they tempt me to drifting and dozing. I have to stay frosty, to even do the minimal writing I can now.

      Haven't forgotten that card!

  4. In small ways I can relate as this bout of shingles has lingered far too long for my liking. I do love to lay on the floor as well. The bed just isn't as comfortable. And most days lately I'm doing the bare minimum, but I always try to push myself when I'm feeling better. I do hope you continue to persevere, Andrew. Your will to live is so inspiring and seems almost impossible to me. I don't know what I would add to your list. You've lived in this dark valley long enough to know much better than anyone else. Prayers are being lifted.

    1. Beth, I'm so sorry that you're still bedeviled by shingles. You are always in my prayers.

      The bare minimum...it's all I can do, too. For awhile I felt I was failing, but I realize now that small successes snatch hope from the gullet of despair, and they are worth cherishing.

      The biggest part of having a will to live is looking outward, and trying to serve the internet community of which I'm a part (in addition to the home community of dogs, cats, feral rabbits, and Barbara). The root of the word 'samurai' means means 'to serve', and the grace of this illness is that I have learned that my life is not about me.

      Thank you so much for being here, and for your prayers!

  5. There's a reason you're still with us. You have a great attitude and you're influencing lots of people on your own blog and on others. By the way, I think it's funny that some words are considered "bad" while their synonyms aren't. Maybe next time you feel like swearing you could say, "Excrement!" or "Eternal condemnation!" without feeling guilty. (Just kidding.)

    1. Jan, yes...I am increasingly aware of a Power that keeps my mind and body going when a part of the 'inner me' wants to rest. I'm being kept here, I think, to offer good and hope, wrapped in the truth that would try to elicit despair. I won't quit.

      And I love your suggestions for Alternative Bad Language. I rather suspect that when Hillary Clinton wants to swear she might say "Email!" instead; and for Donald Trump the phrase might be "Access Hollywood!"

      Thanks so much for being here!

    2. LOL!

      By the way, I love the photos of your wife.

  6. I'm late to the party, but I'm so glad I could stop by. First off, I love those pictures of Barb. How wonderful! And it's nice to put a face to the lady I've been praying for.

    Your list, Andrew, in one way, seems extreme. But, maybe that's because it requires intentionality and discipline to maintain it. You are probably the most disciplined, intentional person I know. And I'm so thankful for your example, your presence and your friendship.

    I think the only thing I would add to your list is to be spending some time with God each day. Even though He feels distant in our understanding some days, He's still as close as our every breath. Taking that time to be with Him in prayer or in His word can be refreshing. It can still any turmoil discouragement and self-pitying thoughts stir up within us.

    Great post, my friend.

  7. Still here with you Andrew...and love that you shared Barb's costume! She definitely did Rosie well!!

    The points you listed seem to be complete; I can't think of anything to add...you are doing what you can; and being who you are...the only other thing would be, as Jeanne above said, spending time with God. But that is coming from someone who is not in the same situation you are in...yet, He IS there for you ALL THE TIME!

    Prayers, Hugs, and being here...these I can do! And remain part of your team of bloggers that keep up with who you are and how you are!!