Saturday, November 29, 2008


Much to my surprise, I actually spent the day after T-giving shopping for Christmas. I haven't gone out on Black Friday for maybe 10-12 years but I felt like I had better get up and get going. Like most marriages, in ours the Socialworker does all the shopping and Tex might shop for 1-2 presents. Now that he can't drive, I shop for all of them. I kind of had fun planning out my route and getting in and out fairly quickly.

Today Tex is pretty clingy and wants more attention while I want to withdraw and have some alone time. This is an ongoing issue that has never been satisfactorally resolved in our marriage and probably never will be. Most of the time we manage our differences quite well, but it is really grating on me right now. Long weekends are sometimes harder as I crave solitude.

I have also heard that the Ex is no longer able to eat although he is still drinking liquids. That makes me incredibly sad. There doesn't seem to be anywhere to discharge the sadness either. My kids are not willing to talk about it much, and although Tex understands, he isn't the appropriate person either. I guess this blog is the best outlet I have for it right now.

One surprising thing about this weekend is that I have had several email contacts from my baby brother Mountain Man's grandaughter. She is 11 and interested in learning about her grandpa's family so I have emailed her some info about the family. That has been really heartwarming to me. I am so fond of both my brothers and seem to be getting even more so as we age. I do really feel supported by them and enjoy their company.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stronger at the Broken Places

Sometime back about 34 years ago, I was still married to the Ex. We were at very different stages of life. He was into his Don Juan stage while I was playing Mother Hubbard popping out babies. Or as he put it one time, he "was a professional trouble-maker" and I "was a professional trouble-fixer." Yeah, he was a union organizer and I was a social worker even then. Needless to say, we split up. But the one thing we did agree on was that we were both good parents and did not want our kids to have to choose one parent over the other. So we wrote our divorce settlement with joint custody long before it was fashionable. Very quickly after the divorce, he added the Stepmother (an honorable title in our family) to the parental mix. She loved my kids and they grew to love her. Fifteen years later, I brought Tex into the group. Tex had raised his own kids by then and knew how to be a great friend and stepfather to mine.

We didn't do everything right, that's for sure. He played "Disneyland Dad" more than I liked, and I bore the brunt of the work of kid-raising , brush your teeth, did you do your homework?, how did you lose just one of another pair of socks at your Dad's?, of course you can jump in bed with Mommy during thunderstorms, hugs and kisses kind of thing. The truth is that we both played to our long suits and enjoyed our roles.

I certainly misjudged the Ex's ability to be a good husband at the time, but I was absolutely dead on in picking the father for my children. I knew how to nurture and to work hard, and he knew how to play and have fun, which are all traits children need to have in abundance. Not the most conventional family structure but Bud and Lawyer Girl both thrived. They have grown up into really great people who are supportive of both their parents. I guess we really did grow stronger at our broken places.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pick a Path, Any Path...

This week I received word that my old boyfriend, the one I almost married, has terminal kidney cancer and is on hospice. My ex-husband also has terminal cancer, and he is on hospice care. My dear husband Tex has a chronic and serious illness and is on home health care. OK, I get it Lord, any path I picked was going to lead me to be a caregiver at this time in my life! All of the men in my life are happy with their current wives. The Ex has written beautifully about his love for his wife, and I am so happy that he has found joy with her. The boyfriend who has always classified himself as a Seeker, appears to have found a steady, clear-headed woman to be his "tie-down." Tex and I have a deep, joyful love that is more than I could have ever imagined existed. We all came through the tumults ending up in the best of all possible places. But I still think it is ironic that no matter which man I ended up with, I would now be a caregiver to a man with life-threatening health issues.

A young woman whom I met with two weeks ago was killed by her separated husband this week. He also killed her mother. Jan Carroll had taken every possible precaution, she had a supportive family who tried to protect her as best they could, she had prosecuted him through every assault and reported every threat. Still, he killed her, her mother, and himself. She was the friend and mentor to my young student who had spent the last three months with her. My student is devastated, Jan's friends and family are bereft and still reeling. It is a reminder to me that the issue of domestic violence is very real and sometimes fatal. It is spurring me to start working in that area. I brought it up in our department meeting yesterday and another professor and I are going to put together a seminar for our students on the topic.

Tex remains very frail and I am noticing how the fall at the El Chico's has taken out of him. He just doesn't have much energy at all. Sometimes I wonder how much longer I have left to be with him here on Earth. Since I can't know the answer to that, I will just treasure the time we have.

This has been such a week of sadness and weariness for me. The semester will be over a month from now, and I am going to take several weeks off.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

He's Coming Home!

I feel giddy as a teenager. This morning I am going to check Tex out of rehab and bring him home! I honestly can't wait to get my hands on that cute fella without all the other people around! He is walking extremely well, if somewhat slowly, with a quad cane; his mental status is excellent, and he has done remarkably well with his physical therapy and overall attitude. Once again, God has given me back "my" guy who makes me laugh and makes me feel completely loved. This strange illness of his, with its periods of "normal Tex" followed by swift periods of "dreadfully sick and completely out of it" Tex may be God's way of forcing me to be flexible. Although I wish he would just leave Tex at his highest level of functioning, I know that I am blessed to have the "up" periods at all. Please keep him in your prayers people; they are continuing to do wonders for us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Proud to be an American

I am so proud to be an American! Yesterday we collectively put our racist heritage behind us and overwhelmingly elected a black man to be president. Whites, blacks, and Latinos joined together to elect Barack Obama President of the United States. I remember the 50's where African-Americans had "their side" and we whites had our much larger and more prosperous side of town. I remember the 60's with the tremendous tension and seemingly endless time of the civil rights struggle, with the deaths of John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and the despair that seemed to be sweeping the country over the Vietnam War. In a brief span of 40 years we went from killing African-American leaders to electing one to be our president. All this has happened in my lifetime. (And still my cautious nature says that the Secret Service had better protect this one really well!)

John McCain made one of the most gracious concession speeches I have ever heard. He is a true American hero and deserves to be honored for his lifetime of service to America. It was wonderful to see him at his best. People who supported McCain can be justifiably proud of their votes as well as those who voted for Obama.

How can we possibly be sufficiently thankful to live in this country at this time?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This is election day, the day that all the awful commercials, and robot-calls cease! Hurrah! I already voted on the 2nd day of early voting here in the Lone Star State. Tex sent in for an absentee ballot since he is still in rehab (he will come home on Saturday, thanks be to God!). Evidently it did not get in before the cutoff so I took him to the polls today, even though he does always cancel out my vote. It was very important to me that Tex be able to vote; it is his civic right and he is quite compos mentis (sic). So up to our village hall we went and I asked for "curbside assistance." I checked him in, showed his id papers, signed a form stating that I would not tell him who to vote for (if only I could!), they brought his ballot to him, and he voted in the car. I really appreciate my country today which has made it easy for people like Tex to vote. Although I REALLY want my candidate to win, I remind myself that both McCain and Obama are honorable men who really do want to serve their country. I think that the political process is waaaaayy too drawn out, and brings out the worst in both parties. It may be a very flawed process but we are tremendously blessed to have it. Off to the election party...