The following scroll hangs on the wall by my computer...
Awwww...isn't that sweet! Kind of epitomizes the perfect marriage between Ron and Julie doesn't it? The idyllic couple, the perfect love story...
I referenced in an earlier post that Julie always told people I was "perfect". Rachel in her blog of October 18th (the day before Julie died) commented "She loves her some Princess Rachella, thatís for sure. And she double-loves her some Ron, because the one time she was lucid this week was when she responded to the Visiting Nurseís comment about how devoted her husband is. 'Oh, yes, he is,' she gasped."
Many a time, I cautioned Julie that she was setting herself up for a fall...that when we wound up in divorce court (remember, they said it wouldn't last), I was going to call her whole family as witnesses. Under oath, they would be compelled to tell the truth...that "Julie always said that Ronnie was the perfect husband!"
When a loved one passes, it is very natural for the survivor to look back and see shortcomings on his/her part...the proverbial "guilt trip".
I mentioned in an earlier posting the cold and hurtful comment I made to Julie as she was "cooking for chemo". Actually, I haven't lost any sleep over that comment. For one thing, I told Julie I was sorry at the time..."during the living years". Julie knew that I didn't mean it...that the comment was made in a moment of fear and frustration. And, most importantly, we embraced, sharing a precious moment of comforting and caring.
And...as I look back, I'm NOT trolling for instances that can be used to flog myself...to grieve over.
I'll grudgingly give myself some credit in the "big picture". Julie and I WERE "happily married" for almost 34 years...none too shabby in this day and age. Yes, we had our ups and downs as married couples will, but we rebounded to live, laugh, and love another day.
However, I will admit that during the past couple of years, I started beating up on myself...ranking myself a much better "care giver" than husband. In fact, Julie's testimonials to my "wonderfulness" actually started bothering me...causing me to respond "What-ev-uh!"
The cause of this angst on my part is best epitomized by the above poem.
That poem did NOT hang on the wall by my computer until the week after Julie passed. It actually sat on a shelf in the computer room, forgotten and half-hidden by a doll...a cow doll, no less. Julie put that scroll on that shelf years ago, and it sat there...with no comment.
You see, years ago, we had one of those "disagreements" that husbands and wives have from time to time...one that leads to the "silent treatment" that seems to go on forever, the initial cause of which neither remembers.
Sometime during the course of this episode, Julie hands me a "present", which when unwrapped turned out to be this scroll. Well, being in a defensive mode, I wasn't about to concede that I was at fault. In short, I did NOT give her a hug. Instead, I interpreted the "present" as an attack, especially since we had had the "I need a hug" discussion before. (As our friend Kathy just wrote me back in an e-mail...it's one of those man-woman, Mars-Venus things...that men don't understand and women crave.)
So, in one of my concessions to the "guilt trip" reaction, I took that scroll off of the shelf and elevated it to a position of prominence by "my throne".
I'll probably get over it some day, but I haven't reached that stage as yet.
Each day when I think of Julie, it pains me deeply to think how easily I could have given her a hug and other simple signs of affection...things that cost nothing, but mean more than a box full of diamond heart-shaped pendants.
So, if you want some advice from "the perfect husband" on the recipe for "the perfect marriage", I can tell you. Little acts of kindness and affection are the main ingredient, tenfold more important than expensive presents or "dependability" during a time of crisis.
Contrary to popular myth..."hugs are a girl's best friend."