Friday, April 27, 2007

"Being part of an Old Couple"

I bumped in to an interesting blog today. Usually happens when I am trying to find images to help me draw something and then my curiosity takes over and I end up reading the websites where the images are. This blog was written by a young girl, must of been in college because she was saying she wouldn't be posting until her examines were done. Well the blog that caught my eye was her opinions on marriage. She sounded just like I did in college.
She said she would not even consider getting married until she was "independent and shrewed". Here is my "rebuttal blog" on why if she takes that as her criteria for marriage she will fail.
I might not know everything or much- but I have been married for sixteen years- I think, I always have to have my husband remind me what it is exactly- but then again he has to remind me exactly how old I am too.
I think her very modern idea of "being independent" is the kiss of death to a marriage. Sorry "modern women" - "Need" is vital. Marriage will not last unless both of you need each other. Companionship is not enough.
When I was in college- I worked in a nursing home as a CNA and learned a lot about life, death and marriage.
Amazing, most of the residence when their mind "left them" their thoughts went back to their childhoods and they would take about their mothers and fathers in the present tense- like a child. But there were a few exceptions- Minnie Brown would wander the halls looking for Mr. Brown- sometimes in desperation and only the reassurance that he was on his way would appease her.
There was another man, I can't remember his name. You could tell he had been a proud man,tall and strong in his younger day but since having a stroke he just sat in his room, not one to want to be out in the halls or involved in the activities- he was waiting to die, but it was going to take him a long time. He would not interact with the nurses and CNA when we would help him get dress and take care of the things he could not do anymore- sometimes "growling at us" in his frustration of not being able to even go to the bathroom alone. I knew he liked me because he wouldn't "growl" so much at me and I could usually get him to do the things I needed to.
His wife came to see him everyday.She would talk to him a little, but mostly she just sat with him. Sometime, I would walk by the room and she would be standing behind his chair rubbing his back.
But then she had a heart attack and died, so all day, everyday he sat in his room alone. Once when I had gotten him in the bathroom and was standing behind him waiting for him to finish, he cried and I rubbed his back for him.
I don't know what kind of a marriage they had, what their life was like together. But whatever it was, they stuck through it together. I could tell, as could everyone else in the nursing home-how much he loved and needed his wife.
You don't sit with the shell of your husband or wife everyday or help them with their "bodily functions" because you enjoy them as "a companion". In fact, that might not be a bad litmus test to decide if you are in love- "would you empty out their catheter bag for them the rest of their life." Well actually it is put a little bit more elegantly- "In sickness and in health, forsaking all others" in the marriage vows. Enough said on that!
On to the second half of my rebuttal- "not get married until I am shrewd?" - I had the same thought in my head as a young women- I want my husband to be this to be that- I want him to have this intelligence, this demeanor, even to the extent of his eye color, hair color, etc. Asked the questions young girls discuss- the what if's - what if he wants me to do this or that?
We define love the wrong direction- we thing we will love someone because what they do and who they are- True love is loving someone Despite what they do. And God has a sense of humor- my husband is such the opposite of all my expectations- and frankly sometimes he irritates the hell out of me- but he is a good, strong man and takes care of his family. The bottom line to everything, the thing that "trumps" being independent, shrewd or anything else- is when he kisses me- I melt inside. There really is nothing else then that. I love him enough to empty his catheter everyday- hum? maybe I should put that on our next anniversary card?


  1. Julia, I love your comments here about the nursing home...I was so touched by your account of the loney elders missing their mates that I cried. Some of your words are so should write. You have the ability to move people...these elders, mrs. Brown and the old man who was once so strong will stay in my mind, I think, for a long long time.

    Hi Julia,
    Thanks for your insightful comments of marriage! I really enjoyed your thoughts and knowing how you create your wonderful artwork.
    Blessings, sue

  3. What a lovely sweet honest entry