About the past - so many happy memories. The birthday that Tom handed me a beautifully wrapped gift and inside the card he had written, "I love you. P.S. I hope you like the earrings!" I did and I still do = I wear those gold hoops whenever I need a little boost or an angel on my shoulder. But oh, how I laughed and how we hugged.
That was the last birthday (June 25, 2000) I had before Tom suffered his first stroke. On July 11th we were having dinner in a local restaurant and Tom fell over at the dinner table - we were busy planning our wedding anniversary trip - one second he was there and the next he was "gone". Tom had just retired on May 1st - poor guy never had an opportunity to do the things of his dreams.
Life was never the same again but oh it still was sweet.
We worked hard together in recovery - over the years we reinvented ourselves and we reinvented our marriage. We fulfilled those vows about "in sickness and in health" and oh how we loved.
It was not perfect - I do not have Tom on some big old pedestal. We had plenty of challenges. Many days I stopped on my way home from work and paused at the top of Mounds Park to take a breath before going home to care giving.
Tom had plenty of frustration at being cognitively impaired as a result of that stroke. He had spent his career as an air force officer and attorney - now he couldn't keep a check book. Oh yes, there was enough frustration to go around. There also was boundless love - the kind of love that defies the odds - the real stuff. Deep and lasting.
Today as I continue my vigil - I am thinking about all the blessings, about the dancing in the kitchen, about "camping on the floor in the living room" watching the Mississippi roll by outside the big, big window. About falling asleep warm in embrace and awaking in a big pile of quilts - about so many things that were. I am blessed beyond belief to have these memories. The beat goes on.............