The Age of Beauty

After 9/11, David knew he would probably mobilize to go overseas with the Navy. He was in the reserves, and anti-terrorism was his area of expertise.

One Friday, he left for his usual monthly reserve duty. He called the next day to tell me he’d learned that he was indeed to be called up for a year of active duty. And soon. We decided not to tell our young daughter until he actually had the orders.

That evening, she and I went to the mall. She pointed. “Look at that teenage couple. Isn’t that romantic?”

“No,” I said.

She stared at me in astonishment.

I hadn’t expected that to pop out of my mouth, but I figured I might as well go on. “What’s really romantic,” I said, “is a couple who’ve been married for years and are still deeply in love.”

Okay, so a cute teenage couple is romantic. But I stand by what I said. Love that lasts and makes it through hard things, and goes deeper and deeper . . . that’s real romance.

That’s beautiful.

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Rub-a-Dub-Dub

Caregiving isn’t for the faint of heart. Or stomach.

For some time now, David’s right big toe had been rejecting its nail. He’d lost toenails several years ago when he ran a marathon, and he figured it would fall off and grow back in like before.

No go. So we finally made an appointment with a podiatrist, who opted to remove it entirely via cauterization. This should mean no growing back, which should mean no more problems, ever. Just a smooth, healthy toe. David was all in favor, so they did it then and there.

I chose to go out and walk around the parking lot. Sometimes discretion really is the better part of valor.

Once we were home, though, there was no more ducking out. The first time we went through the soak-scrub-bandage routine, I crouched to scrub, jumped up for a deep breath, crouched to scrub, stood, crouched, stood…. The next day, it took a while to figure out why my legs were so sore. I’d been through a whole workout.

Now, of course, I’m an old hand at this. We’ll both be glad when we can put the pink tub and Neosporin away, but I’m a little tougher than when we started. That’s a good thing.

Caregiving definitely isn’t for the faint of heart or stomach. Or legs.

Marking Four

Life turned upside-down four years ago today. August 11 always brings the memories and revs up the emotions.

Shortly after the one-year anniversary, we got to meet John Jamison, the middle school principal who saved David’s life with CPR. He was highly uncomfortable with being regarded as a hero, but for one evening he just had to put up with it.

The other person I’d love to talk with is the woman who first found David. Believing he was dead, she panicked and ran – not away, but up onto 30th Street, where she flagged down John’s car. She led him down to David, and that’s the last we know of her.

No one got her name. We have no idea who she is. I’d love to tell her how her actions started the chain of care that brought us to this four-year anniversary.

So maybe it’s time for some creative research. Finding her could be my goal for August 11, 2014.

We owe her thanks, big-time.

Singing the Not-So-Blues

I never thought I’d cry over a country and western song.

Flying through the air and landing on his head took a few things away from David. He can no longer walk quickly or far, use his hands with strength and dexterity, or project his voice in a noisy room. But it also gave him some unexpected gifts.

One is a new depth to how music touches him.

When a couple stayed with us last summer, David and the husband started exchanging music. Sean listened to artists David had never heard of, and David got hooked on some. When one worship song went especially deep for him, he bought it from iTunes and told Sean, “This’ll be your song. Whenever I listen to it, I’ll pray for you.”

The idea spread. David now has about sixty songs on his playlists, and each “belongs to” someone. Rap, Zulu, contemporary worship, old hymns, pop, Spanish, folk, classical, blues…his life is richer. So is mine.

But the kicker came when a friend gave him a country and western song. Yeah, yeah, I thought as we listened. Twang, whine, moan. But as Frank Church sang on about his wife, who loves him “like Jesus does,” David and I looked at each other. Pow. Time to reach for the tissue box.

I never thought I’d cry over a country and western song. Just another unexpected gift.