Tag Archives: relationships

(I’ll be loving you) Always

My grandfather, who I affectionately refer to as “Deda,” passed away just about a month ago.  As I’ve already mentioned, Mom and I have been staying with Grandma.  Today would have been their 65th Wedding Anniversary.

The song in the title has been swimming in my head for almost two months.  You see, it’s their song.  My connection with music has always been one I’ve shared with my grandparents, who taught me to dance the foxtrot at age 10 (they tried to teach me the lindy and others, but I didn’t take as well to those unfortunately).  A few years ago, I’d dressed up ’40s style and came to sing to them on their Anniversary.  And of course, I sang “Always.”  (This site has a nice explanation and lyrics of the song.)

I spend a lot of time now remembering; but I know the biggest and most important lesson I’ll learn was the last one they taught me together, summed up in that old familiar song…

It was the lesson I learned when my 92-year-old grandfather, the night before he was rushed to the emergency room, had to take the extra steps– walker in hand and aide behind– to kiss my grandmother goodnight, because he couldn’t let her go to sleep without kissing her.  As he walked into the bedroom, he told us– my mother, the aide and I– that she was his life.

It was the lesson I learned when, on a respirator, unable to speak, he mouthed “I love you” to my Grandma.

It was the lesson I learned when my Grandma, who’s been very sick herself for about a year, forces herself to get dressed and out of the house every day for two weeks straight, and still after, several times a week, to visit Deda in ICU: An old woman, sitting in a wheelchair, near the bedside of an old man, on a respirator, on a feeding tube, IVs scattered about: holding hands.

And even though it was difficult, she’d force herself to stand almost every night, just to look into his eyes, touch his face, brush his hair back with her hand, maybe kiss his shoulder.

For a single 25-year-old, I don’t think there could be a stronger image of what it means to be there for someone “in sickness and in health, for better or for worse.”  And I sat there for days and stared at the epitome of “in sickness” and “for worse.”

But my grandparents meant those vows when they said them.  And they meant them every time they danced them as well. “Not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year, but Always.*”

Happy Anniversary, Grandma and Deda, even though this year you’re spending it apart.  And Thank You, for every moment, lesson, and story- big or small.

[The picture is my grandparents’ engagement photo– one of my very favorites of them.]

*Irving Berlin, Always, 1925

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The R-word.

An innocent question this weekend (ie, “what are your plans for today?”) brought on a full-on rant to an unsuspecting friend of mine.  As this is a creative blog, I try not to blog about my personal life here… but there’s also some necessity when personal thoughts begin “blocking” your creative flow.  For more on this, I strongly recommend The Artist’s Way.  Seriously, at least check out the book from your local library.  It’s worth it to try even if you don’t finish it.  I return to this book, and its ideas, pretty often when I reach a turning point or plateau.  Or when parts of my life obviously start feeling a bit stale or “bleh.”

I bring this up because, in the book, Cameron instructs readers to write “morning pages.”  The idea is that by hand-writing three stream-of-consciousness pages first thing each day, you get all the “blech” and “yech” thoughts out.

She describes it this way:
“All that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in the morning stands between you and your creativity.  Worrying about the job, the laundry, the funny knock in the car, the weird look in your lover’s eye– this stuff eddies through our subconscious and muddies our days.” (page 11, The Artist’s Way)

I had a moment like this when my friend asked that question and got a rant-of-sorts about the people I hold dearest.  And, as I apologized for said semi-rant, I heard myself say, “I didn’t know that was upsetting me…”

Because, in truth, I’m not upset with my friends.  But I am adjusting to the changes we’re experiencing.  It is the hard thing about having good, dear, old friends.  Life keeps happening.  And we are not in grade school anymore to see each other every day and witness the changes.  The changes often come now via text message or random phone call.  Announcing engagements, jobs, grad school acceptances, babies, and moving days to places far enough away to warrant airline tickets– or passports.

I have five friends who I would say are my closest.  Of the six of us (myself included), we now stand on a relational continuum:

Married (2 years, with 1 year old daughter)
Engaged
Serious Relationship
Relationship (unofficial):not-sure-where-this-is-going-but-hopeful
Single:getting-over-someone-waiting-for-really-good-guy
Single:I-don’t-wanna-talk-about-it

Now, those last three (again, myself included) were hard to write, mostly because I wish them to not be taken the wrong way.  I’ll put in the disclaimer that I have been in both of these places and love these girls as sisters.

I am not bitter or jealous.  I am thrilled and contented (and occasionally temporarily worried) by each new announcement.  When you truly love someone, their victories feel like your own.  However, there is a give-and-take in all of this.  Buying your closest girlfriend a toaster.  Learning to talk to her as though she were a couple– because the amount of one-on-one time you have has significantly decreased.  Learning that friendships survive in balance; and that you do still need to find alone time to talk.  The challenge of finding that time that is not taken up by jobs, significant others, children, parents, chores.  And, in the midst of your changing lives, finding out what common ground you still share.  What you can still commiserate– and laugh about– together.

newly in college or heading off-to-college

First Wedding

First Baby's First Christmas


my graduation party, and our expanding circle of friendship

Our lives are clogged with relationships.
My coming challenge:  to (wo)man up and put in the effort mine need to continue to blossom.  And to create using this love, rather than letting the changes in my life keep me blocked, ineffective, and irritable.


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