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Memories We Share - Part 4

Updated on July 4, 2011

The morning sun and the sound of you stirring about, wakes me from my all too short sleep. I stumble for the bathroom and then to the coffee pot. I put in an extra scoop as if it will ward off the fatigue that has permeated every fiber of my being.

Even now, you give me my space, knowing what a complete ass I am until I’ve had at least one and usually two cups of coffee. Another lesson learned over the years. I have learned that when I ask you what’s wrong and you say nothing, it means nothing I can help with or something you will tell me about in due time, your time.

I turn on the computer, find favorite songs and blast Billy Joel’s, “For The Longest Time,” singing and swaying my tiredness away. You join me and ask, “Whatcha doing?”

“We need to pick out music for your Celebration of Life, the one you’re coming to.”

After discussing your cremation and my need for some sort of ceremony we had started picking out music and found ourselves veering off into old tunes that made you smile and sing in that most dreadful off key way of yours. I save them reminding you Hospice is having their Music Therapist visit and we plan to ask her to burn some cd’s for you to listen to and for your celebrations.

We have come to the conclusion that celebrating your life would make a great deal more sense now. The other way is like buying flowers for the dead … why not share a bouquet with the living? We’ve called about the cost of renting out the room at the city’s new recreation center, complete with kitchen, a dance floor … the works. You have made out a rough menu and have requested a keg of beer for the old crew who you are now busy trying to reach and invite. These are people you haven’t seen in over twenty-five years and haven’t kept in touch with, save one you found a couple of months ago. I am praying they will come. One owns a band and we will pay them to play if need be to assure a turn out. We will put flyers around town as there are people here who will attend, if for nothing else then music and free beer. I don’t care, it needs to be your time in the spotlight, for you to shine and remember and most of all laugh and enjoy yourself. We will post open invitations in the newspaper of the town you came from and in the town we lived in, “Come One, Come all!” I fight the Panic Attack that is forming on the horizon from even thinking of this. My Agoraphobia is knocking at my mind’s door reminding me it can leave me powerless if it so chooses and I find my hands shaking as I try to type out these lists of preparations.

I have to keep reminding myself that while this is not my idea of a good time, it is yours and you are the feature. Do you remember the night you took me to your favorite hang-out from your wild and rowdy drinking days? We walked in and it was like a scene from Cheers were everyone greats Norm. I soon discovered the partial cause of your popularity as you ordered a round for the bar and I cringed at the cost! Bars and I have never been good friends to begin with. I spent too many years accompanying my Mother who would search for my father or step-fathers in these places and witnessed the humiliation of the situation that seemed to go over her head. Of course they paid dearly when she finally got them home but the women who didn’t even bother to pretend they weren’t hanging all over one of them, the smells and even the music is burned in my brain. Other than my brief freedom from my ex-husband when I would go dancing with friends from college, my time was spent elsewhere. The bar you took me to was a mixture of bikers, day laborers and shall we say, “help me make it through the night” women. We sat at the bar and then a table and I remember praying your pager would go off and we would have to leave and get back to our jobs … but no. I drank one coke to your three Jack and Cokes and reluctantly had to visit the restroom. As I was trying to wash my hands and was wondering what I had gotten myself into, a rather large and very drunk woman who appeared as if she’d applied her make-up with a putty knife and sprayed a final coat of shellac over it for good measure, came out of a stall and fell into me.

“Watch it, Bitch,” she says to me.

“Watch yourself!” I reply, cussing myself as I check my purse for some Tylenol, finding none.

“You wanna go MF?” she is trying to pull something from her purse and I’m assuming she’s not about to refresh her lipstick.

“Nope! Just went, but thanks.” I reach for the door knob and walk back to our table on shaky legs announcing I am ready to go. You, however, are in your element and having a grand time. Too many Jack and Cokes have stripped away your White Knight shining armor and you stubbornly tell me to enjoy myself, loosen up and have a good time for a change. When you went to the bar to get us another round I left, walked thirteen blocks to the bus station and rode a Greyhound to the town where we lived and took a cab to the apartment.

Safe in my own bed I lay awake wondering about you, this man who read the classics to me in our shared bubble baths and quoted poetry versus the edge of a tattered cuff persona I’d witnessed that night. I had not fallen in love with you quite yet and you were fast becoming a definite no in my book. If you had not seen the true PTSD reactions I had when you would drink and chosen to give it up, we would have never been planning this celebration.

No, I am not looking forward to this party, but I prefer it to the Celebration of Life that will be held after you pass so I will make the best of it, pray these people have mellowed with age and carry a pair of brass knuckles in my purse … just in case.


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  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from On the edge

    I wish that this was a created story, more than you'll ever know. The reference to carrying brass knuckles was an attempt at humor and also to try to demonstrate that I was very nervous about having guests that were so very different from the man my husband became these past twenty-five years. They were just people after all and though only one came to his party, he was able to connect with a few of them and have the memories come alive for him, if only for a few minutes in phone calls.

    Thanks once again for your time reading my memoirs.

  • Levertis Steele profile image

    Levertis Steele 

    6 years ago from Southern Clime

    Speaking my real thoughts have often landed me into trouble with people, but your stories are so "perfect" that I wonder if they are created. I love your ending with the brass knuckles. Smart in a created story or real life situation!

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    So true Michael, so very true!

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 

    7 years ago

    Agoraphobia can take you out of any mix and here you are and there you are. God bless you dear Pooh.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    Oh I hope so! That would mean a great deal to me. SO does the time you take to read my little hubs. Thank-you so much!

  • Sharyn's Slant profile image

    Sharon Smith 

    7 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

    OMG Pooh,

    Again and again, I love your writing. I love your honesty and openness and humor too. To me, you are the type of person that would make a great friend.

    This piece was simply awesome. And I again, believe your writing about this special (and difficult) journey will help many . . .


  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    And thanks to you Deborah K. for reading and following us along this path. To be in the company of such a great woman of God is humbling, indeed. God bless you too.

  • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

    DeBorrah K Ogans 

    7 years ago

    Poohgranma, You are a strong woman... Your descriptive writing candidly captures the scenes of your life journey together... Thank you for sharing these precious moments... In HIS Love, Grace, Peace & Blessings! God Bless YOU!

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    That is what we have always believed, but proving it was another matter. The poor man is just now getting pain relief, now that he is dying the doctors don't worry about him getting addicted to strong pain medicine.

    One doctor was brave enough to give him something for the pain and while he had it he had a good quality of life, but the agency the doctor worked for did not agree and he no longer works there. It's really too bad that people have to suffer when pain medication, when used properly and not abused really does just deal with the pain.

    Thank-you for coming back and commenting.

  • Odewumijoshua profile image


    7 years ago from Lagos state

    @pooh, based on your husband exposure to these agents ,possibly the pain could have been from long time exposure to these chemical agents which are tagged as been carcinogens.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    SOH - YES - I meant for the humor to come through. Thank you for recognizing it.

    Planning this one, for when he will be there is not the tough one, the one for after he passes was the hard one to plan so I did mine too and it was like we were doing this together.

  • SomewayOuttaHere profile image


    7 years ago from TheGreatGigInTheSky

    ....nice twist to the story of life...not sure if you intended...but....i chuckled at the end of your hub...i hope they have mellowed too!...i bet they have or those that didn't mellow are probably not walking amongst us

    ...planning must be very difficult

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    Genna and stars, it is always a pleasure to find comments from each of you.

    Stars, yes ... I probably will, though, at this point, I'm not convinced yet that I want to.

    Genna - My husband's exposure to Agent Orange and his COPD are only a lie according to our Veteran's Administration ... that kind of pain is in a category all of its own.

    It could have been the cigarettes alone that leaves him dying from oxygen starved blood, it matters little at this point, the cause.

  • stars439 profile image


    7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

    You will make it. You will survive it all dear heart. God Bless You.

  • Genna East profile image

    Genna East 

    7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

    Pooh; you are such a unique talent. I love the words you use to describe reflection and retrospection -- among many other things.

    “Safe in my own bed I lay awake wondering about you, this man who read the classics to me in our shared bubble baths and quoted poetry versus the edge of a tattered cuff persona I’d witnessed that night.” (Up and awesome.)

    I am so sorry to hear of the pain your husband suffered and how it impacted your life. The Viet Nam war brought such pain to so many people – both in, and far beyond, the battlefield. It remains, to this day, an infamous chapter in our history that continues.

  • Poohgranma profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from On the edge

    Odewumijoshua, I see that you know a lot about toxicology. My husband's illness started from exposure to Agent Orange and in later years from chemicals he came into contact with spraying pest control materials that were supposed to be safe. He added to the problem by smoking a tremendous amount of tobacco. Our country, our Veteran's Administration will never admit that his illness began where it did because they would have had to give him a disability rating and a check. He fought for several years and all it did was grind down his spirit and make him feel as if he had been lied to and abandoned, as is the case with many (most) veterans.

    I'm not positive if I understand you post but I appreciate it that you read and commented. Welcome to Hub Pages. I will watch for your writing.

  • Odewumijoshua profile image


    7 years ago from Lagos state

    The greatest revenge i think is worthy of a man is to stand back to the ground were he /she has fallen or to provide a solution tothe priblem that leaded to his or her down fall.

  • Hyphenbird profile image

    Brenda Barnes 

    7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Just in case.....what a lovely way to look at it. Just in case the pain passes swiftly into the grace of peace. Just in case bitterness becomes sweet memories. Just in case one throws a fit at the unfairness of it all and a loved one holds them until the rage melts into tears and laughter. Just in case....


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