Wednesday, June 14, 2006

On June 14th I'm thinking of...

...Kadi's birthday

She's nine years old today. I've loved this dog since she was a 10-week-old bundle of energy, nothing but big feet, wagging tail, and yellow fur. I expect to love her for the rest of my life, whether on this plane of existence or the next one. Kadi is a people pleaser, a prim and proper girl, a great communicator, a wonderful friend. She has enriched my life beyond measure. Excuse the saccharine, but I find her "Labradorable."


...one of my wedding anniversaries

On this day in 1968 I married my second (and last and best) husband. He was a good, good man, with a warm heart. He took me and my two small daughters into his life and wrapped us in his love. He was a good provider and, when he was in the right frame of mind, a great husband and father.

He was also a man with a troubled spirit. He tried to run from his personal demons by moving again and again to distant places, expecting each new city to be the one where he'd be happy. We made seven long-distance moves in the 12 years we were married, and I have happy memories from almost every place we lived. He made sure we had a comfortable home in each place, but he, himself, never managed to find much comfort or happiness. He had magnificent highs and devastating lows, and we rode that roller coaster with him. In 1980, when he wanted us to pack up again and go to California to search once more for a better place and better times, I chose to stay in Louisiana in search of stability for myself and my then teenaged children.

I wish we'd known more about clinical depression in those days, because I'm convinced now that that was the root of his problems. But we didn't have that knowledge. We didn't have Prozac or Zoloft or Wellbutrin, so he medicated himself with alcohol. As the drinking increased, so did all my old insecurities and fears of abandonment, and moving became a frightening proposition for me.

Some people, in trying to drown their sorrows, drown themselves. He didn't. He managed to stay afloat. After we parted, he married three more times and moved to many, many more places, both in this country and abroad. He died in 2003 of an obscure illness that doctors believe he contracted when he lived for a while in Jamaica. We hadn't stayed in close touch, but from the day we met until the day he died, my respect for him as a man remained intact.

I no longer celebrate this anniversary, of course, and I've never doubted that the decision to go our separate ways was the right one. Still, I think of him every June 14th and remember how much love and hope was in our hearts on our wedding day. I've loved again since my years with him ended, but I can't say I've ever loved a better man.

On a much, much lighter note, my wedding ensemble pictured here (coat over matching dress) was beige linen, with stripes of hot-pink daisies with lime-green centers, as bold and stylish as my huge hairdo in the Laugh-in days of 1968.


...Flag Day

As holidays go, this one doesn't get much attention, but the very fact that a holiday exists to celebrate our flag speaks volumes about its importance to us. At a time when the nation is more divided than it's been since the Civil War, when it's begun to seem easier to turn our backs on those who disagree with us than to listen to each other and seek a peaceful middle ground, it's amazing how united we all are in our pride and patriotism when we see this beautiful banner. It is, indeed, a Grand Old Flag.

9 comments:

  1. really sad people like your husband but i know people who have had the benifit of all the new cures and some of them still have a hard life. wanted to say that betty was the last baby i took care of for mama i grew up and the job fell to my younger sister. it did us good to have that close relation ship with our brothers and sisters. after my parents died i said the greatest gift they gave us was all the brothers and sisters. we are never alone we have each other.

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  2. I wish the life with your prince had worked out better. I think
    too often today folks make decisions considering their "own"
    happiness and forget there are little ones involved. They should
    always stand in front of us in our
    decisions. They are the only things most of have of real value. I am glad you did what you thought was best for them.

    Kids in school do not have to say the pledge, but when we have the pledge each morning they do stand and do it quietly...or they will have to set and hear their teacher tell the story of her father and the flag raising on Iwo Jima. They don't want to hear it. They would rather stand and pay respect.
    The teacher's story goes on and on and she has fire in her eyes when she relays it!

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  3. Velvet..should say
    sit

    not

    set

    I hate it that on the comments we can not return and correct anything.

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  4. Loved the hairdo in your wedding photo! I'll have to find and post the one taken at my wedding where it looks like a pot of flowers is sitting on my head. ;)

    A dear and very much loved friend of mine committed suicide many years ago and I also think of how he might have been saved with the medicines now available. My memories of him are filled with the same sad love and respect.
    Carmon

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  5. I think there's something really wonderful about stories of love come undone. It leaves one with an endless recipe for might-have-been stories to tell oneself. I know you're a storyteller, Velvet. All of us are, aren't we, and don't we like to make up many alternate endings when we're free to do so?

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  6. sister three -- i think the story of iwo jima would be a good one for you to post.

    velvet-- your dog is precious. i hope i can say my rocky is precious some day.

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  7. A dog story, a story of lost love, and a tribute to the flag. Was I pulling out all the emotional stops yesterday or what?

    Thank you all for your nice comments (sniff). I'm all better now.

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  8. Three special events in one day! That's a lot. A lot of memories, too. Kadi is just adorable, BTW!

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  9. first a belated Happy Birthday to Kadi. I understand how you feel I had such a wonderful companion for twelve years. Labradors are such loveable kind dogs.
    I think you made the right decision Velvet, you can only uproot and start again s many times, but when your children are growing they need the stability of home, friends and school.
    It is so very sad that present day medication was not available for your husband.
    Sandy

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