we are staying at a historical hotel in the hills of west virginia. the first word that came to my mind as we drove through the gates was opulent. of course that was followed by gasps of joy and a few tears at the sheer beauty, not just the beauty before me but the beauty of my life since meeting him. some were skeptical when we first met nearly 23 years ago yet here i am with him now and even more in love and in awe of the life we have built together.
the new battery in the device implanted in my chest to keep this heart beating must be working overtime! just a few short weeks ago i had been told that my battery was at the end of its 3 month warning to be replaced. at that time i seemed to forget the decision once made not to have it replaced. my only thought was “do it.” as i lay in the hospital bed i couldn’t help but ask if i had been hasty. we usually talked about such big decisions, i had sent him home not wanting him to be overwhelmed by all the medical jargon that was going to be flying in the next few hours.
now sitting in the car, looking at this incredible hotel that would be our love nest for the next few days, i have no regrets. the scar still healing is tender, not more tender than my feelings for him. nothing is ever more tender than that. Men in smart-looking uniforms rush to open our car doors. immediately i am taking pictures. one is of standing by the lion statue, the man in uniform asks if we would like to have our picture taken together. i hate to see images of myself, but he answers with a firm yes and there i am with him by the lion.. we are told rubbing the lions nose will bring us good luck. what he doesn’t know is, i have already been blessed with abundant luck.
arriving on monday we went to our room and napped a bit. then on to have some dinner and explore. there are 6 restaurants in this sprawling resort. there is also an ice skating rink (we did not go skating), bowling alley, and casino. we had “afternoon tea” accompanied by live piano music. he asked for our song, of course he is so tender-hearted that tears start to flow with the first notes. i love him all the more for this soft side of him.
tuesday i was down for the day. he went out alone a couple of times but kept coming back to check on me. once he lay with me and took a nap. we had room service that day. it seemed a waste of time and money to be there but he just re-assured me that tomorrow would be a better day. wednesday we explored the small town of lexinburg, most of the shops were closed for the winter. lunch was at a very hip little diner that served only organic food. they even listed where they got everything and it was all local. thursday it snowed most of the day. my love went down for tea on his own this day and again i seemed stuck in the bed. again we had room service. the night before we had dinned in the main dining room. it was so marvelous! the food was like a work of art. i decided to stick with appetizers since the meals were just huge, it worked out great. amazingly we had piano entertainment. while i was in the restroom apparently he had made his requests for certain songs.
as i was walking back to the table i saw him across the room . he was walking toward me and i thought “how sweet he is going to walk me back to the table. suddenly i here the music and she is playing Dancing Cheek to Cheek. he takes my hand and suddenly we are dancing, there is no one else in the room, or is there? in that moment there is no else in the room. there is only the two of us. he fold me into his arms and i feel like nothing can take me away from him. death cannot separate us.
there is a song I hope you dance and i would wish that for the whole world. wouldn’t we all be a little happier if we danced? i could only dance for a minute, no matter, it felt like a lifetime there in his arms. this battery won’t make me well. we know that. what we hope for is a little more time. however long or short that may be we are so grateful. i don’t know how many of these trips i have in me. on the way home we recalled all our favorite moments at the Greenbrier. we also discussed and agreed that long trips were no longer an option. time will tell what the future holds for us. i am excited about what the possibilities are.
for years i have made it a goal to do “random acts of kindness.” it has brought me great joy and a sense of connection. today it brought me the “angel of kindness.” my experience is or has been that when you put out good, you get back good. of course we all go through some difficult times and that is only natural.
today my sweet man went to pick up a few items from the pharmacy and grocery store, he also stopped at the cleaners. i was pleasantly surprised to see that a sweater i had dropped off last march had been found and returned. the woman who works at the cleaners also sent a gift. there were a couple of small items along with a willows angel holding a puppy. on the box it was titled “the angel of friendship.” i have met in person, and here online, so many kind and generous people.
when listening to the news at night it is easy to believe the world is a scary place with people who just rob and create mayhem. most of my life i have had to be able to close the door on one part of my day, even my life, in order to have peace. while in the army whatever happened while on duty had to be left behind when i made it home. those at home deserved my full attention and focus. as a therapist i often found myself in the same situation. whatever sad or horrible stories heard while working needed to be left behind in order to again be fully engaged at home. there were times i would watch the kids next door to remind me that there were ordinary families that loved each other and they had ordinary lives.
as a kid, at times when my grandmother and i were in california with my mom and dad, i would walk to what i considered average neighborhoods. the point of these walks being to stand on the sidewalk and observe these moments of unguarded family time. i would see parents being loving to their children and usually the family sitting down to dinner. it reminded me that soon i would go back to my real home where there was no screaming, arguing and hitting. there were moments i wanted to cry for the tenderness i witnessed. i always knew my grandmother loved me but i have to admit that she was not the warm fuzzy kind of woman. she had a hard life and her mother had passed away when she was quite young.
for all the kindness that i have been freely given in my life i am, with all my heart, grateful. it is almost painful for me to know such depths of friendship and kindness. it is the kind of thing that will bring tears to my eyes when little else will. my tolerance for pain is much higher than my ability to receive from others. thank you for these gifts of love. for much of my life there was an absence of such love, however, it has been abundant in the most important years of my life.