ALL THAT AND A NURSE TOO - ITS PERSONAL
by Jane Delveaux, RN
We only know the true extent of our love when we think we might loose it. Marry the one you can't live without.
When Howard and I first met each other, I was fifteen. Even then, at a time when I was in high school and we were just friends, he was considerate and a gentleman. He would offer his arm and open doors. He did all the right things. It was at a dance, when he boldly rescued my from the advances of an obnoxious drunk that some of the characteristics of a Sir Galahad caught my attention.
Three years later, I was a naive eighteen year old, making plans to go to Nursing School. We had gone our separate ways and now he was a returning war hero, having just served those three years in the Marine Corp during the Korean War.
During those years out of the country, his mother had died and home was not the same for him. When he returned, he was lonely and paid a visit. He wanted to pick up his life again. It didn't take much time for him to decide he wanted to have a family of his own and he became very attentive. Although we lived 150 miles apart, he made sure that we spent every weekend together.
I didn't believe that people really fell in love at first sight. Even though we had known each other for a few years, I had a hard time believing him when he immediately began saying the words, "I love you."In less than a month, he proposed. But, this was too fast for me. I really didn't know how I felt and told him so. Not discouraged, he persisted and proposed every time we saw each other. Throughout the spring and into the summer this continued. But then, a day came that he didn't propose and I began to strongly fear that I could loose him. It was such a convincing moment that I asked him if he still wanted to get married and I finally accepted his proposal. Plans for Nursing School didn't seem important when I discovered that I couldn't live without him.
To love, To honor, and To cherish -
Words with powerful meaning - Words to live by. As I remember, he probably said "I love you" hourly when we were together over the next twenty-nine years. I learned the power of words from him.
Nursing School was deferred for a few years. During this time, while I was raising eight children, I had some growing up of my own to do. Learning how to respond appropriately to significant others in my life and to changing circumstances was a challenge.
There were fun times.
Every evening after supper, he would pile the whole family in the car and off we would go for a ride. It might include a stop at the A & W for a baby beer or ice cream , but it always included a ride through the forestry. He knew every winding road. There are so many that to this day, I can still get lost in those woods.
Flying together was a passion.
A day came when he made a tough decision about this risky activity of flying. We needed to keep our feet on the ground to make sure that we would be around to raise our children. By then, I was accompanying him on some of his jaunts. He had already turned down an offer from his flying instructor to go into a partnership at the municipal airport. The bottom line for him was always, "What is best for my family?" His answer was, "Sell the airplane for now. We'll live to fly another day."
A little selfishness was good.
Those busy years spent raising children usually included time alone on weekly dates. A drive, a movie, or a dinner meant some uninterrupted quiet romantic time just for each other
Sometimes it was "I told you so".
Our first 4 children were ages 1, 2, 3, and 4 when they experienced their first great adventure. Their dad had been "froggin" with his brother for the giant BIZZ MAROONS. The hunt produced a gunny sack full of the green creatures and the boys were anxious to show off their catch. Despite my pleadings to keep the gunny sack outside, it was brought into the house and placed on the dining room table. I was assured that none of the frogs could possibly be alive. There were four wide-eyed eager youngsters kneeling on four chairs around the table waiting to get a good look at BIZZ MAROONS. As the sack was opened, surprise of all surprises, some of the frogs were very much alive. In an instant, there were leaping frogs and kids. The frogs were silent, but the kids were thoroughly "frog-freaked out" with squeals and screams. It was one of those 'I told you so moments
TRUST AND OBEY
When things go wrong.
My stubborn personality really balked at being told what I could and could not do. Howard was a controller because he was a worrier. When he was happy, he was very, very happy, but when he was sad, he could be very, very low. This led to some frustrating years and a buildup of resentment on my part. My way of dealing with the controlling was to use avoidance, deceit, and passive resistance.
Since I was blind to the fact that I was stubborn, I took on a dysfunctional attitude and considered myself a victim. This was the era of the Women's Lib movement and I bought into it. There was a rough period before I was able to get back to my religious roots where I found the answers that Women's Lib couldn't give me. I began to see my stubborn self more clearly as I looked to the Scriptures and found not only answers, but also promises. It was the beginning of my learning to "trust and obey". The day that I resolved to work with Howard instead of against him was the beginning of a relationship deeper than I had imagined. It did require working and talking together. Something that for far too long I had been too stubborn to do.
Speak up or bust.
Well, life was not always perfect and it did take time to discover something more about myself and the man that I had married. My speech center was underdeveloped. I didn't like to talk. Howard's was overdeveloped. He always liked to talk and he was really good at it. I didn't realize it, but for years he had missed sparring with his boisterous brothers and sisters who were all chatty and willing to give him a good fight. One day he added the last straw after years of needling and little barbs that he aimed in my direction. I raised my voice to him and told him that I had enough of it. He laughed his heartiest laugh and busted out with, "Well it took you long enough!" That was a lesson that I happily perfected over the next years.
There shall be showers
Night time prayers were considered absolute necessities at the children's' bedside. I considered it my motherly privilege to be able to ask for a blessing and touch each child. As Howard and I received rich biblical teaching and were drawn closer to the Lord, I was led to ask him a serious question about prayer.
Each night he had heard me singing to our youngest son, who always had trouble getting to sleep. Each night he heard me say the same blessing. "May the Lord bless and keep you. May he make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May he lift up his countenance unto you and grant you peace."
The most wonderful smile came over Howard's face the night I asked him if he would like me to pray for him in the same way. During the brief time that my hand was on his forehead and as I said the words of that blessing, the vulnerable child in him was ever so faintly visible. He had developed serious heart problems at an early age. This time of blessing became one of the most cherished moments of every succeeding day until he went to be with the Lord. From where he now is, I receive showers of blessings.
Remembering those words again
When the children were older, Howard and I were again in the air flying. I was his backup pilot. As we were driving to the airport on our last day together, Howard gave me a long thoughtful quizzical look and very deliberately asked me, "You really do know how much I love you, don't you?" It was an unusual question for him. The Sunday morning's sermon had left its impression. I touched him to reassure him and said, "Of course I know that you love me. You tell me a hundred times a day and I get all kinds of love, hugs and kisses. You've always done that and it's been wonderful." But he still had more on his mind. "Do you remember the plans I had to make a million dollars by the time I was forty? My heart attack changed all that, but I'm even richer that I thought I'd ever be. My children are my wealth. Each one is worth more than any millions to me. My real wealth is my family and I love you all more than anything." What a statement! What a delight to hear! That was Howard. It indeed was his last day. He died at the controls of his plane and met the Lord in the air.
"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint". Isaiah 40:31
I'm a nurse. Years have come and gone. My life is not much different than other nurses. We may marry; have children; have great rewards; and have great struggles; have joys; and have sorrows. Whether things are going well or whether they are not, we are a ministering profession dedicated to improving the lives of those we meet. Let us remember our high calling in our personal and in our professional lives. 'As we sow, so shall we reap. '