Monday, July 29, 2013

40 Love

In two weeks, Cat Daddy and I will have been married 40 years!

If  you were to ask me what it takes; what has to be invested to maintain wedding vows for 40 years, I'd tell you...40 years...of your life.

40 years y'all of  hard labor with no time off  for good behavior...
and no wish for parole.

I hope y'all are in the mood for a little light summer reading as I try to entertain y'all with different stories of labors of love!

Falling In Place
Why do all true love stories begin -- or end -- in a hospital?  Not in a daisy-filled meadow or on a warm white beach, but in a sterile and cold white hospital room.  Perhaps it's because life isn't always about being beautiful, but more about remembering to breathe in...and out.  Remembering too that while a candle-lit dinner, a dozen roses and sweet words are nice, love is forged and strengthened in the day-to-day reality of burnt meat loaves, endless chores, and in the unspoken of the endless waiting for medical test results.
The October night was clear and crisp: Its symphony a cacophony of her high heels on the pavement, clicking a staccato beat to the wailing sirens of an approaching ambulance and the hum of the hospital generators. Glancing down at the soft hand holding his, Jake was thankful Molly had given him one last chance. As they walked across the parking lot of the hospital,   suddenly and without warning, Jake’s mind raced back 40 years.  He remembered the first time he ever laid eyes on Molly as she stood outside the school band hall that September morning of their freshmen year.  All of 14 years old, she was a pretty girl with the whispered promise of the beautiful woman she would become.  Now, casting a sideways glance at her and seeing that promise fulfilled, Jack felt ashamed.  Penitent, he remembered how foolish and unbelievably stupid he had been three years later at the start of their senior year. That fall, with all the bravado only a 17 year old boy can possess, he had dumbly thought himself to be the catch of the county.  He cheated on her --more than once -- forcing her to walk away to salvage her pride.  Some ladies man all right.  How he had cried that June night shortly after graduation when she married someone else. His only excuse for losing her was poor at best. He was too young to know better ... or at least that's what Jack had told himself in the years that followed.
"How's your dad doing?" she asked, her voice breaking his reverie, returning him to the present. 
"Dad's doing what the doctors tell him to, but I'm more worried about Mom," he replied.  "She's wearing herself out.  She won't go home, eats like a bird, and worries constantly.  Molly, it's breaking my heart.  I can't remember them ever spending a night apart and even though Tim and I offer, she refuses to leave Dad...even for a night."

Stepping into the elevator that would take them to the hospital’s third floor, once again Jack felt the past drag at his mind. He thought about the second chance Molly had given him years ago. Who knew a simple invitation to a high school reunion would give him the opportunity to try and right a wrong?  Swallowing his pride, he had called Molly and was relieved to learn she was single again.  Apologizing for his stupidity 20 years earlier, he asked her to be his date for the reunion dance.  He could still recall the pride he had felt walking into the reunion with his high school sweetheart on his arm.  But somehow...some way...he had managed to blow it...again.  He was struggling now, trying to remember what idiotic thing he’d done at the reunion that caused her to walk out of his life once more, when the door to the elevator opened.

As they stepped out of the elevator and started down the hallway, they were startled to see nurses streaming out of his father's room.  Molly motioned for him to run ahead, telling him, "I'll catch up."

"What's happening?  What's wrong with my father?" he asked breathlessly,  needing the answer but scared to his core of what that answer might be.

"There appears to be a problem with one of his medications," the nurse replied just as the doctor stepped out of his father's room.

"An experimental medication we were trying with your father caused an adverse reaction akin to Alzheimer's.  This sometimes happens in Parkinson's. He was disoriented and hallucinatory with no recognition of his surroundings. We've administered a sedative and are working to correct the situation.  He is stable, but we'll continue to monitor him through the night. Hopefully Mr. Towns will be back to his normal self by morning."  As the doctor started to walk away, he stopped, turned and with a quick nod told Jack, "By the way,you've got one helluva mother in that room with your father."

At that moment, Molly caught up with Jack and silently took his hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.  Puzzled and wanting to know more, but with the need to see his father first and foremost in his mind, they stepped into the room.  There would be time to give the doctor a what for later, but for now it was more important he judge for himself  his father was okay.

Walking into the room, the full portent of what was to be unfolding before their eyes, they could only turn and stare at each other speechless.  Unable to believe what he was witnessing, Jack’s first thought was, "Oh my gosh...this can't be real.  This only happens in the movies."   It was too surreal to be true.  Both of his parents lay on the small hospital bed, his father lying on his right side, moaning and shaking while Jack's mother lay beside her husband, the only man she had ever loved.  Her arms were wrapped tightly around him, holding on for dear life as he kept repeating, "Don't let me fall.  Please don't let me fall!"
"I never have and I never will," was the single promise whispered by the only woman he’d ever loved.

As Molly, tears in her eyes, softly laid a hand on his mother's back, Jack walked to the other side of the bed to see their faces.  His tiny, frail mother, reading the confusion and fear in her son's eyes whispered, "He's all right now, Jack.  He was afraid of falling out of the bed or off a cliff. I'm not sure which. I just thought it might help if he knew I was here, holding him. Please don't fret about me, hon. I'll rest better too, feeling him breathe beside me."  Giving Jack a weary, small smile, she closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, continuing to hold the man she had promised "through sickness and health" with no intention of ever letting go.

Looking across the hospital bed that held 67 years of love unfailing and seeing his own 40 years of missteps, Jack’s eyes came to rest on Molly's tear-streaked face.  As Jack looked at her beautiful face, he fell into silent prayer.  "Lord, if it's true the third time's the charm, I only ask for one thing:  Please, Lord, if it be your will, the next time I feel myself falling let Molly be the one to hold me."

This is based on two beautiful couples I know.  Parts of the story are true; parts are what I see in my mind's eye when I'm with them.

All of it is based on love.


Jill said...

I've just been talking with one of my daughters about the commitment of marriage. And, it's the commitment to our Lord that gives you the grace you need to make it through each trial. The third person in the marriage.
I enjoyed your story.


You got me tearing up girl! Can't wait to hear the rest...and congrats on almost 40 yrs-and big thanks for telling it like it is. I think we all get snowed by the fairy tales and don't always realize that what we have is just what we are supposed to have...and it ain't easy but its worth it!


holli said...

40 years is AMAZING! I can pray that Todd and I will celebrate our 40th with the same zest as you. This brought tears to my eyes and i know that Love like this does exist. I'm so excited for my wedding to get here and begin my life as a wife.
Love you

Kathy said...

A big ol' congratulations on your 40 amazing years of "weddedness" from "up north"!! Hugs and wishing you many more! AND, Such a sweet story - endless love!


Rebecca said...

Such a romantic you are... bless you both with 40 more years of holding each other up with the Lord as your strength
Love you

Dewena Callis said...

Congratulations to both of you on this big day coming up! I enjoyed reading Jake and Molly's story and thought what an obstacle "self" can be in a marriage. And yet to avoid the other extreme, enabling. A fine line to walk unless the marriage is made in heaven, and how many are? And then there's the hindrance to forgiveness, pride or that enduring longing to, well to be blunt--get even.

It's a wonder any of us make it to 40 and beyond and wouldn't, in our own strength, would we?

I love stories, especially when real is behind them.

cindy craine said...

Well hell, now my mascara is running! Such a sweet story! Congrats to you both for 40 years of Junk Bliss!!
I'm glad you're feeling better and could celebrate! Hope to see you soon. xoxoxoxo-cin

~Sheri~ said...

Sweet Jesus...I just announced on facebook that we decided to go through with our October wedding....instead of waiting until 2014..I confirmed my invitation order.....then decided to blog hop....always lovn your junk,your love of Cat Daddy and your posts....I cried when I read the! We r in our 40's...third time for me!!!! I always say 3rd times a charm....God saved my BEST for last!

The Domestic Fringe said...

What a story!

40 years - WOW!!!! Congratulations. I hope you two are going to celebrate in fine fashion.

Not many couples have that kind of staying power anymore. You're a blessing to all the rest of married a few less years.

Happy Anniversary!

Prior said...

You know I am a big fan of your story tellin'...Congrats on the William just commented to me (he didn't know what I was reading) Can you believe we've been married over 35 years? LOVE the photo!

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

Deb, I would hop and skip (just not today okay) to buy your first book. You really should look into doing this, seriously. You had me captured and I was ready for the next chapter. And speaking of next chapters, well here's to 40 more my friends (I'm raising a cup of coffee to you two)!!

Laura said...

You had me at the first sentence- but your writing always does.

You have the knack of causing the reader to want MORE.

That is a gift.
Just like you are a gift.
Just like 40 years of marriage is a gift.

Nice work my friend.


Lisa said...

Wow, 'please don't let me fall'. Chills for days. Boy you can write. But let's talk about the picture. I want to see faces!!! Happy 40, you guys are my role models. Love to you both.

Stephanie said...

Love, love, love!! You are one talented Texan!

Bohemian said...

WOW... what a Love Story... still wiping the tears from my eyes! And Congrats on 40 Years without the possibility of Parole, not that you'd want it and I completely Understand that Sentiment... True Love is always Sacrificial and quite a ride!

Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

Pam @ Frippery said...

Just beautiful. Like you.

The Bashful Nest said...

You are such a good writer! It take a sweet heart to write so well. I hope you have a good week.

Visit me,

The Feathered Nest said...

Oh Deb...this is BEAUTIFUL!!! You've got me crying now!!! I can't wait to read more....Happy Anniversary to you both angel!!! I wish you many more years of happiness, junkin' and LOVE ~ XXOO, Dawn

andrea@townandprairie said...

You are an incredible storyteller! You must submit this somewhere. to a magazine,a s a short story... you must!