On Valentine’s Day my husband and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary. We were unable to celebrate in the usual fashion since once again I am on a new medication and having some difficulties with the side effects. That evening we retreated to the family room, each in our favorite chair with laptops in place. In my most romantic flannel pajamas and wrapped up in my favorite blanket we watched a movie, which title escapes me. My husband continued his quest to find a job since he was downsized at the end of last year. Not the most romantic way to spend Valentine’s Day or our anniversary, but we decided we would make up for later when I was feeling better. I remember thinking I was so tired of this excuse, but I sure was lucky my husband was so understanding.
My husband was the one who wanted to get married on Valentine’s Day. In fact, even though I was a part-time event planner for my job, he planned 75 percent of our wedding and I planned the honeymoon. Since it was a second marriage for both, it didn’t seem odd to reverse roles. My daughter and I did picked out the flowers and our dresses, but he took care of the rest. We were married in a lovely bed and breakfast with just close family members and a few friends in Pennsylvania on an extremely cold day. My daughter was maid of honor and my husband’s brother was best man. Following the religious ceremony we had a wonderful lunch in the restaurant. It was a small event — one we will never forget.
The day after our anniversary I logged onto Facebook to do a quick scan. My husband seldom posts anything personal so I was shocked when I read what he wrote on his Facebook page: “About two weeks ago, M. and I had finished shopping and on our way through the parking lot met a woman who was loading her purchases into her car. It looked like she had a heavy box to load when we got to her. M. with cane in hand offered to help with her box. The woman politely said she didn’t need any assistance, but she kept up the conversation. After about an hour of talking, she and M. became quick friends and she called M. her angel. What most of you do or don’t know about M. is she does this all the time. Some people get to see her this way in these situations, but I am glad I get to see this every day. I am blessed to have her as my wife today and for the past nine years!! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY DARLING ANGEL! “
While it isn’t unusual for me to stop and volunteer my husband to help, this particular lady had a car full of toys, which we learned she donates to children who are underprivileged. She shops the toy clearance section so she always has an abundance of items for children who may not have something to open on Christmas or a birthday. We also learned she was in a lot of pain and needs to have surgery on both knees, but her employer wouldn’t give her time off to have the surgery. I pray the information I shared with her will arm her with the knowledge she needs to face her employer and get the time off she needs. It frustrates me when employers bully their employees just because they may not be current with the most updated laws.
When I read my husband’s post, I was shocked at the comments that followed from many of his friends and family. He had 27 friends who liked his post and six very thoughtful comments. A friend who he attended high school with wrote “there’s no couple who deserves each other more than you two.” One of my precious aunt’s wrote “I’ve seen M. ‘in action’ many times with my parents. They both adored her because of her kindness and empathy. “Angel” is a good description. Blessings to both of you!
My husband’s post, as well as all the ‘likes’ and the wonderful comments written took my breath away. Maybe our not-so-romantic evening was more than I could have hoped for. Helping people comes naturally for me. I was raised to live the Golden Rule. Both of my parents are from very large Southern families and taught my brothers and me to not have a selfish bone in our body. I go out of my way to help others even if I am running late or even when I am having a rough day myself (sometimes to the chagrin of my husband and my family). I find giving a bit of kindness to others makes me happy and end up feeling better about myself. Who can’t smile when a sweet lady calls you an angel? And, who doesn’t feel blessed when your husband is proud of you for being a certain way and shares his thoughts with friends and family? There have been so many times I have been proud to be his wife and this was definitely one of them.
My aunt’s comment is special since both of my grandparent’s have passed away. You don’t always realize if someone notices or how someone perceives your actions. While alive they had so many grandchildren, but tried to make each one of us feel special. When I moved to Pennsylvania I would mail them their favorite cakes since we would only see them three or four times a year. Once my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it was difficult to see her declining health. When visiting VA, I would spend hours with her, she not knowing my name, but at times I knew she got a glimpse of a special memory the two of us shared. Somehow she knew I lived far away and always told me to be careful driving home since it was far away. During those visits I would push her in the wheelchair for long distances and told her we weren’t stopping until she laughed. It would often take hours, but I eventually got a chuckle. That laugh…I can still hear today.
I have been thinking a lot about my husband’s post, as well as the comments. While I don’t think there is anything angelic in the way I live my life, I do believe I care about all people. If there is something I can do, say, write, etc. that may help another person — then I want to do it. Nothing makes me happier hearing something I wrote, said or did has helped a person in some small way. Just yesterday a friend from high school wrote and told me the blog has helped her husband talk openly about his spinal injury and pain. As I have said before, if the blog helps one person, then everything I have gone through from the day Dr. Liar slammed the mallet into my spinal cord has been worth it.
Since I posted the one year anniversary post I have received the most wonderful messages from those I know and from those I don’t. People have written offering their congratulations, writers giving advice on turning the blog into a book, a college friend who experience a horrible car accident and many messages from other high school and college classmates, co-workers, even a neuroscientist who is researching a cure. Something that began as a way for me to tell my story and to help others has developed into so much more. And six-plus years later I can honestly say I have found my life’s purpose. And, maybe, just maybe, I am earning those wings!
©My Unplanned Life and www.shakinguplife.wordpress.com, 2012.