Friday, April 25, 2014

Vital, Vacant, Vulnerable, and Vows

Here is My A To Z Challenge. An adventure. My attempt at telling you my story. I care for my husband who has end-stage Parkinson's disease.
We have good days and we have bad days. Hope you will follow along....A TO Z!

I have always thought the word vital
Meant a lot to me.
If you looked it up in Webster.
A picture of my husband you would see.
He was such a vital man.
He wanted to do it all.
He served on many committees.
And chaired some of those each fall.
He even took a job after retirement.
Just to have something to do.
And planned the best of trips for us
To travel the world through.
Then he began to lose his vitality
To a disease he didn't want.
It first started with the tremors
But he remained so nonchalant.
He denied there was a problem.
When we left the neurologist's office.
Even when the muscles started to stiffen.
He refused to give in.
And then he had a stroke!

The stroke took us all by surprise.
And left a vacant look in his eyes.
Twelve long hospitalized days.
Some, a machine breathed for him.
But then he fought and he came back.
I brought him home. But it's never been the same.
It's like we now are playing a different game.
And slowly, oh so slowly, he lost most function.
He fought like mad and never gave up
But we finally hit the 'no return' junction.

He feels vulnerable, and so do I.
Where this journey will take us
Who knows?
His eyes are no longer vacant. Of most things
he is aware.
He doesn't know the day of week.
And usually never the year.
He can't remember that he read the paper
So most days he reads it again.
But I'll take this over the alternative
Of having him gone.
That will happen soon enough. 
Then vulnerability...bring it on!

Today I have to add another word.
It too will start with a "v".
The meaning is in no way blurred.
If you are a spouse, you'll see.
Those words we said on our wedding day.
The vows we took to please.
Most of us simply had no idea
We just needed to agree.
Be sure you really mean it,
When you promise to be true
In both good times and bad.
We had no idea! It can be really sad.
Be sure you know about sickness and health.
Richer or poorer, as you may have no wealth.
Until death do you part
Can take a long time
But the wedding bells continue to chime.
Did you take your vows and mean them?
Or were they just something you said
While he slipped on the gem?
Today is a good day to think about vows
Before you have to learn what it allows. 


  1. What can I say. You write so powerfully. Your story is not a simple one, but you simply tell your story. It’s the way you tell it. You show us how, why, and what you are feeling and what your husband is feeling. You are both an inspiration!
    The second part of this post, oh my. You are so right. Most people are caught up in the “wedding”. This may sound strange, but I think that people who marry for a second time may have a more realistic understanding of what they are promising each other.

    1. I think you are right....when I repeated my vows, the second time, I thought long and hard about the 'until death do us part' part Thanks for visiting

  2. Well, I just wrote about the vow of sickness in my comment to your U post. I think most take their vows with good intentions (just as they do the decision to have a child). I'm not sure we can ever understand the realities of this kind of illness until actually faced with it, like you are. If we understood all those possibilities, we'd probably never take vows. I learn from your commitment and your caretaking - all the while knowing that these years are not being lived by either of you the way you wanted or expected. I hope you know, by sharing your journey - the good, bad and ugly as you say - that you are teaching and preparing us for how we will stay true to our vows should we ever be in your situation. I continue to pray for both of you.

    1. That is why I am writing about it....for others to see what these vows 'really mean'. Because people need to think about them not just repeat them

  3. I admire that you have such a strong attitude in the face of such a terrible disease.
    Shawn from Laughing at Life 2

  4. I think it's the most beautiful thing in the world, hearing how you watch over and take care of him. I know it's breaking your heart, but it gives me hope in humanity, that true love exists, and that people are more than mere pleasure-seekers.

    True Heroes from A to Z

    1. The world is full of true you well know

  5. You have a beautiful way with words. Nice to meet and connect through atozchallenge.

    1. Thank you very much. I just write what I feel

  6. Vows. That's the word. It keeps us grounded. Believe it or not :)
    I looks very pretty and a very serene spot.
    Katy Did

    Life's Ride In Between

  7. So true about the vows; when one is young they can't imagine what the words could play out to be as they age; we think we'll have smooth lives with no problems only to find out so differently. I guess we can consider vows a verb, like love, something that is put into action when it needs to be acted upon, like you are doing in taking care of your husband. I would imagine it has to be hard to see what he used to be and now what he can do, but still grateful he is there with you.


    1. It is hard....when I think he is actively dying....I am begging him to stay. It is crazy. I think I am ready and then I am not!!

  8. I don't know how to say it eloquently, but you're a good woman. Once again, I will just say I am glad you can write about this, as I sense that it helps you deal with it. I'm keeping you and your husband in my prayers.

    1. Thank you very much Fancy. Yes, it helps to write. And prayers help too!!

  9. Paula, you touch my heart. I couldn't help but think of these young celebrities who marry and as soon as they hit the first bump in the road, divorce. So many today make these vows meaningless, but you have restored them to their true meaning in this post. My husband suffers from a chronic illness too, nothing like this, and treatment may have been discovered. We will be looking into it. I would always stay with him, no matter what the future brings and he would do the same for me.

    1. That is what keeps me going, Inger. The knowing that in a reverse situation Richard would also be right here by my side!

  10. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of the pre-Parkinson's, pre-stroke Richard. Vital is a great term to describe the strong, prideful fellow who swept you off your feet. For some reason, this reminds me of that sweet song, "Someone to Watch Over Me." Who'd have guessed your roles would have become so reversed! :(

    1. My mom warned me (because of our age difference) but whoever listens to moms, eh?

  11. Very beautiful..especially the lines on Vows :)

    1. Thank you. My second time around I decided to work the vows!

  12. Trying to catch up on some blog reading - you brought me to tears once again with your love story. I think the fact that we still see the person our loved one USED to be makes it harder. If you are a nurse or paid caregiver and this is the only way you've ever seen your charge - it has to make it less emotional. I think...but what do I know? Beautiful story my friend.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. Because I am a nurse I have been in their postion hundreds of times. It is so much different when you know them as personally as I do my's like I am now a wife and NOT a nurse.


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