Posts tagged ‘bob etier’

The First Anniversary

Bistro Port-brite4-10-15-Charlotte

We met with the lead doctor of the transplant team.

He said, “Come back in July and we’ll get her on the waiting list for a liver.”

One year ago today, my wife had exactly seventeen days to live.

No one expected such a timeline.

We received the news in February she needed a liver transplant.

My attention was focused on how our lives would change and what it might be like after the surgery. I had made plans to retire so I could take care of her.

It never occurred to me she wouldn’t make it to the surgery.

Monday, 4-20-15

Bob’s doctor admitted her to the hospital for fluids and tube feeding. Gastric problems had made it impossible for her to gain much needed weight to prepare for the transplant. A feeding tube would bypass the stomach and avoid problems.After four days, it appeared as though the plan was working. She had gained a few pounds and lab values looked good.

Saturday, 4-25-15

X-rays to check on the placement of the feeding tube revealed the presence of double pneumonia.

Bob and I have a mutual friend we both admire and love. Miriam Goldberg has a hobby of watching the news for celebrity deaths. Anytime a celebrity dies, she knows the story. Every time we would ask her something like, “What happened to Merle Haggard? How did he die?”  Miriam would reply, “His heart stopped beating.”

4-27 calendarMonday, 4-27-15 at 4:37 P.M. Bob’s heart stopped beating.
Seventeen days from today, family members will be in town to join me in observing the first anniversary of Bob’s death.

It will be a special day for us all. Not because she died, but because she lived, our lives will never be the same again.What a blessing.

I’m at peace.

 

 

My Life as an Animal

904b8-aaa-wwwThe Excerpt:

Owls-1

Miss Bob’s cross stitch. It hangs on the wall in my studio, near where I’m typing this blog post.

The television series, Twin Peaks, featured a memorable dream sequence in which a giant man appears to Special Agent Dale Cooper. In the dream, the giant says, among other things, “The owls are not what they seem.” My wife said that I was an owl, too, because I turned out to me something I didn’t seem to be originally (a friend who later became her husband.) Eventually, we had a collection of owl memorabilia from cross stitch to various sized replicas. It was nice to be an owl for her. She had been a “Kat” and morphed into a flamingo.

Maybe we were birds of a feather?

The Setup:

We’re all animals anyway, but there are times in all of our lives when we seem to be something other than homo sapiens.

Today’s sample comes from a blog that will post on Friday, the 31st on my publisher’s site. OK, it’s HERE.

I was a

I was a “zebra” for sixteen years. In this shot, I’m conducting a coin toss.

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Timelines Converge

Two "Chips" meet and time lines converge.

Two “Chips” meet and time lines converge.

We saw only one person moving about in the cemetery.

If it wasn’t a caretaker, it must be him.

He was adjusting his lawn chair near the headstone of his wife.

I walked towards him.

When I got close enough to speak, I reached out to shake hands and said, “Good morning, my name is Chip.”

He smiled and said, “My name is Chip, too.”

My attention went directly to the tombstone, “I was sorry to learn of your wife’s passing.”
“She had dementia and died of double pneumonia.”

Our eyes met and I replied, “My wife was waiting on a liver transplant and died of double pneumonia.”

My voice broke.

He instinctively reached out and put his hand on my shoulder to offer comfort.

That was the sign my friend and two family members who were waiting in the car had hoped might appear. My brother-in-law said, “When he put his hand on your shoulder, we knew everything was okay.”

Our group consisted of a close friend, Art Hoffman, and my brother-in-law, John Coe and his wife, Veronica. Our outing that morning had been to visit a location Art had found a week or so before our visit to Louisville from North Carolina. My return to work begins next week and we all needed a break from home, Chip and Bob’s Flamingo Farm.

Earlier, the lady who told us about Mr. Chip appeared with little warning as we soaked in the ambiance of Art’s surprise. It

John, Veronica, and Art in front of Sissy's Consignment store.

John, Veronica, and Art in front of Sissy’s Consignment store.

was a consignment store that featured numerous flamingoes, my wife’s favorite fowl. The mystery lady said Mr. Chip had been keeping a daily vigil in the cemetery and cautioned us to approach with care and respect. It isn’t often a community sees a seventy-something year old man make daily visits to the grave of his wife—visits that last hours. The cemetery was on the main thoroughfare in town, just a block or two from the fire station. Mr. Chip was in plain view every day, on stage, for all to see. According to the mystery lady, the local townspeople had pitched in to purchase the headstone for Mrs. Perkins.

We had more than a nickname in common. His given name is Charles Franklin. Mine is Frank Cecil. So we share reversed initials, C.F. and F.C.

This morning, we had found him about to get situated in a lawn chair, in a blazing sun.

He was about to read to his wife from Open Windows, a devotional publication from LifeWay.

It was her birthday.

Who would have thought that on her birthday, a Chip from the present would cross trails with a Chip of the future.

I hope Mr. Chip found an unexpected visit from another “Chip” as comforting as I did.

Video, Part One:

For Part Two of the video, click, HERE.

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