Monday, December 05, 2005

Crazy Glue on my Shoes

Some times I hate listening to music. It makes me cry too often. I mean, who wouldn’t cry over lines like: “I can only give you love that lasts forever…” when your guy is sleeping in the other room and you’ve just finished watching The Way We Were?

I loved that movie when it first came out back in the early ‘70s. Plot: a Jewish left-wing intensely political woman falls in love with a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant who, by his own admission, had everything in life come too easy for him. I do believe it was that movie that made me fall in love with Robert Redford. (Insert a big sigh here.) Barbara Streisand as a movie star I can take or leave but the way she sang the theme song of that film still gets to me.

“…Memories may be beautiful and yet what’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget…”

We see bits of ourselves in most books or movies. After all, life-experiences are for the most part, timeless and universal. I was never as political as Barbara’s character, Katie, but I was certainly more political than the guys I dated back before I met Don. I was more into sociology and philosophy, too. I’m eternally grateful that none of those relationships ever worked out but, of course, being in my twenties I didn’t see it that way at the time. I would never have been happy serving beer and snacks to the boys in the living room every Sunday afternoon as they rallied their favor sports teams towards the play-offs. "Me man. You woman." I love that fact that with Don I was able to grow in a direction of my choosing.

“…So it's the laughter we will remember whenever we remember the way we were….”

I suppose some people will take offense at a caregiver who spends a lonely evening looking back over her life and wondering if she’d taken door number one or two instead of door number three would she be any more or less happy with the present day. But I don’t view reminiscing in a negative way. Maybe that’s a place we get to as we grow older. Maybe that’s a place we get to when we realize we didn’t turn out all that bad and we want to mark the trail for others to follow.

I look back at all the memories that Don and I made together over the years and I know why I view these caregiver/survivor years as just another chapter in a long book of chapters. We’ve done a lot of living and growing up together. Thumbing through our book of chapters is not about wishing for the past. It’s about loneliness that is often hard to bear. It’s about being two peas in a pod, half of a whole. Reminiscing is a reminder of why we caregivers choose to stay when others might run.

It bothers me when survivors misread the wistfulness that caregivers occasionally express about returning to pre-stroke days---when the survivor internalizes that wistfulness to be a condemnation of their post-stroke self. It’s not about measuring the past against the present for me. It’s about going back to the past to gather strength to go on in the future.

“…Memories light the corners of my mind. Misty water colored memories of the way we were...”

Memories are the commonalities that bind Don and me together, they make our commitment to one another stick like Crazy Glue on our shoes. This is my truth. I’m so sorry if instead of glue on your euphemistic shoe, you stepped in a big wade of snot.

Jean Riva ©

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Blogger Gary Gray said...

Hi Jean

Thanks for your comment at Harmony Lane.

Can I echo what I said at Strokenet... BRAVO!

Not an easy job (see Proverbs Chapter 31)

Smiles :o)


2:20 AM  

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