Sharing True Love Stories of Sorts

Courtesy of Darlene Bethany

Courtesy of Darlene Bethany

“Looking Thru the Glass”
By Darlene Bethany

“Hey, girl with the red shirt on, my friend wants me to tell you he wants to marry you.”

Those words stopped the six of us in our tracks. We turned to laugh at the audacity of the boys who had “snuck” up behind us, but we had no interest in these boys.

Our minds were focused on the Beatles, deciding who we liked best of the four young Englishmen, shaking the world with what we considered a bigger quake than Elvis had ever made.

Walking home from a ball game, my friends and I discussed the boys in their uniforms and who might have smiled in our direction as they rounded home.

I was a tall, skinny, 12-year old girl who considered myself the last person in our group any boy might find pretty, let alone want to marry.
Here I was, being silly one minute and the next having some tall, skinny, sandy-haired, freckle- faced boy, who appeared to be no more than 13 or 14 proposing to me.

However dumbfounded as I was by that proposal, I found it was just the beginning.

This persistent, 14-year old boy followed me for the next several years and constantly reminded me that one day we would be married and live together forever.

Those words still sound as ridiculous today as the first time I heard them; however, this time I can only smile, not cringe.

Our teen years were up and down, one day “going steady” and the next not. We were so different; we could not date consistently, let alone marry and live together in harmony.

He did not like to dance; I loved to dance. He was cowboy boots, western shirts and jeans; I was big hair and frills.
He loved the country; I wanted to live in the really big city, far from Comanche, America.

I was so shortsighted I could not see past the “important” things on my “future” list. However, as time went on and life continued, it all seemed to change.

By the end of my sophomore year, I began to find myself looking forward to his showing up at noon to take me to lunch, after school to chauffeur me to work and waiting patiently when I was off in the parking lot.

Then, either a movie or making the drag from one end of town to the other, over and over again.

His consistent show of affection became the first thing I remembered while putting on my make-up, combing my hair and getting dressed.
The affection I once dreaded put a smile on my face as I prepared for bed each night.

One night after numerous love notes, flowers and songs dedicated to me on the radio, I realized I had fallen in love with the tall, sandy-haired, skinny boy who had proclaimed his love for over five years.

He had become my world.

I no longer desired to leave our small town and move to the big city. I only wanted to stay and become the wife of our little city’s newest fireman.

Life became a blur.

We planned a wedding, bought a house and furnished it with great anticipation.

Our home was filled with the love and laughter of three children as life opened up and seemed to swallow us, yet allowing us to savor every morsel.

Each year seemed to bring new trials, emotions and degrees of happiness we could never have imagined, yet he never relinquished his consistent show of love and tenderness toward me.

Whether the room was crowded or contained just the two of us, his eyes seemed to watch me constantly, and when our eyes met there was never a doubt in my mind he adored me.

However, one day, all that changed.

I should have been ready for that day.

After all, the page had been unfolding for several years. In the early 80s, my husband had been injured off shore while working on an oil rig.

This led to years of continual battles with sicknesses and disease, all rooted either from the accident or from the medications he had taken over the years.

During the last three years, he suffered continually and for the last year was bed fast.

The decision to care for him at home seemed natural. After all, he had given so much to me over the years.

He offered an unconditional love to each of us, and although we may not have said it aloud, we knew we were blessed immensely.

Stubbornly, I yielded to the realization he and I would be making our final trek together in the physical.

The service was held.

Friends and family were numerous, loving and caring, and all offered whatever was needed to see us through the days, weeks and months ahead.
As I sat in silence in the car while Shane, my oldest granddaughter’s fiancé, followed the hearse slowly making the eight-mile drive to the cemetery, it seemed like a thousand miles of endless anticipation as we feared an end we could not fathom.

I sat in the front-row seat, shivering cold.

I could only wonder if he knew how much I adored him.

My deepest desire was that he knew, even in the midst of his deepest pain.

Over the years, when he needed comfort, I prayed I had been the source of strength and peace to him that he had been to me.
In the night, even at his weakest point, I would wake up to find his hand on mine and hear him quietly praying for God to give me strength and peace.

I would wake up nose-to-nose with him as he leaned closer from his hospital bed with those beautiful blue, twinkling eyes, those eyes which over the years twinkled in mischievousness, always leaving us wondering what he had been up to.

Those loving eyes stared at me from the depth of his being, assuring me all would be well.

As my life changed forever, I had to decide what I would make of each and every day that lay ahead.

My desire had grown to show my God’s love not to only family and close friends but also to all whom I might meet during the rest of my life.
Therefore, I chose to allow my memories to bring me joy, peace and a calm assurance of the love we were blessed to share.
I would not allow memories to make me bitter and angry. They would not be used as an excuse to withdraw from life or wear my pajamas daily, feeling sorry for myself.

No longer the skinny, frightened, trembling 12-year old who could never have imagined spending life with the freckle-faced, timid boy, I became the woman who chose life and elected to share my God, the one who sustained me.

I no longer looked thru the glass darkly. I could see clearly.

After all, I had experienced something some may never know.

 

 

Courtesy of Brandy Belew

Courtesy of Brandy Belew

“For My Sister, Charlie”
By Brandy Belew

I met one of the greatest loves of my life on Sept. 1, 1993. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on her that my life would be forever changed.

Her eyes were bluer then blue and her mouth was set in a grim line which made her look a little bit like a frog.

My little sister became the center of my life, and I will love her from her first day until my last.

My dear friends, love is not always about romance, sometimes the greatest loves of our lives are the ones that only involve kisses on scraped knees.

I love you Little Rabbit.

 

 

Courtesy of Doreen Thomas

Courtesy of Doreen Thomas

“Making Memories of Mary”
By Doreen Thomas

Mary’s reasons for being in my life are still a mystery to me but are becoming clearer each day. Mary’s story started as many of my other rescues do.

She was a dog that a family could no longer care for, a product of a husband and wife divorcing and a product of an abusive home where the husband used to beat Mary whenever he was mad or drunk.

It was a cold February day when I picked Mary up. She was not a happy dog.

Her owner was crying profusely, adding more to an already stressful situation. Mary was visibly upset and confused on what was going on and rightly so.

She wanted no part of me trying to pet her and made no bones in letting me know.

The very noticeable limp and large lump on Mary’s left front leg was what caught my eye first – and then her horrible mats and the hundreds of fleas crawling all over her back.

Removing Mary from her situation became a lot easier for me. Her owner said that she had an “owie” on her leg and was giving her aspirin for it.

Fast-forward a few days later to the Fort Sill Veterinary Clinic. Mary is a pretty, white color with no mats or fleas, but she has a limp and a large lump on her leg.

She is now a much happier girl who seems so appreciative to be out of her former home.

After shots and a heartworm test, it was off to ex-ray to determine if she indeed had an old fracture.

In the span of ten minutes, the news I received changed the entire course of my life.

Looking at the ex-rays of Mary’s leg and her lungs, I was staring at one of the many faces that death has – Osteosarcomia, or bone cancer, that had already spread to her lungs.

That all familiar feeling of hopelessness crept through my body as I cried deeply into Mary’s soft fur.

Cancer is no stranger to me. Most of my adolescent childhood was spent either watching my grandmother die from cancer, or spending hours and hours in the hospital waiting room while my mom battled cancer, not once but twice, or losing my other grandmother to cancer.

The subject of cancer is something I have tried hard my adult life to stay away from.

I remember vaguely the conversation we had in the ex-ray room, except for hearing Mary could have days, weeks or months left.

No one really knows, and for right now she can be put on pain medications. I think that was the conversation we had that day.

Mary and I took each day one day at a time. I looked at each day as a blessing to celebrate her life and not think about one less day for her to be here.

I worked really hard at making good memories with Mary.

On May 9, the day after Mother’s Day, Mary let me know that it was time for her to go and that the Good Lord wanted his four-legged, furry angel back.

I knew that I had to be strong because the time had come.

There was a reason Mary came into my life – maybe to help me cope with one of my greatest fears by actually having to face it. I don’t know.
I believe that things happen for a reason and are all part of the master plan of life.

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