Saturday, October 16, 2010

Something Special: Ellen Lindner and love

It may have been via Facebook that I first saw Ellen Lindner's art quilt: Reconciliation. She has given me permission to post it here and I'll include a link to her website as well.

It was unexpected and what I needed at that exact moment. It brought tears to my eyes. She has other quilts made using a similar technique with the sillouette borders that are equally strong and emotional. I do hope you'll visit her site to enjoy her work. Art truly feeds the soul and often brings us back to life.

Lindner's Reconciliation came for me at a time when my husband and I are celebrating our 39th anniversary. October 16! I started to write 'birthday' instead of anniversary -- one of those meaningful typos.

Our wedding was a rebirth for both of us. We were one. No longer alone facing a bewildering world, but two people together who drew closer as adversity surrounded us. Sometimes I forget how much we lean on each other and how much we hold each other up.

Through these years I've had some 'materialistic' moments and I'm not talking fabric or stash. But me selfiishly wanting grand gifts and declarations of love and romantic gestures. Roses! Diamonds! Romantic getaways! Once or twice roses if I guilted him into it, maybe he'd make dinner. Maybe I'd add candles. But mostly he just lived each day showing me love in everything he did for me -- and I took for granted. I'd stew and get over it and go on loving him each day with the little things like making sure his peaches were free of fuzz or not serving creamed peas or mending his pants, or buying shirts that had pockets, or turning to kiss and hug him every chance I got. We are always touching.

We have a cat who doesn't like to be held. He likes to sit beside me with his back foot against me. He just needs that connection to know I'm there -- to keep track of me. It is something like that for Derrol and me. We don't need to be coddled or fawned over, just need that touch for reassurance. Maybe we both have a bit of awe that we were lucky to find each other.

Lately it seems like we've become more nurse and patient as we struggle to keep him as healthy as possible. As I remind you all too often, he has ALS and the recovery rate from ALS is ZERO.

Our touches have more to do with health care and trust me there is NOTHING romantic about a man on a breathing machine. Nothing until I look into his eyes and see that twinkle and suddenly we are both 19 and very much in love all over again. Maybe we have never grown up.

The Reconciliation piece for me is more about reconnecting. It has been a long time since my husband could stand and hold me in his arms and so Reconciliation is a nostalgia piece as well.

What did he give me for our anniversary? You will laugh and groan but for me it was the best gift ever. He called me in to his bed this morning and said, "You gotta see this." I saw a naked old man with skinny legs. SKINNY LEGS! We've been battling edema (swelling) for years and today the swelling is gone. It was the absolute BEST gift. What can I say, he knows me better than I know myself. Better than diamonds, roses and a Hawaiian cruise all rolled up with a big red ribbon. He is the best gift of all and I pray he hangs around for a very long time!

Please enjoy Ellen's special quilt. I just had to share this and our special occasion with my good friends -- you are my community and I don't know what I'd do without you.

23 comments:

kayt said...

Your message reduced me to tears. I too struggled with wanting all the flashy things that my friends receive. . . and failing to recognize the steady and never failing love that I have. Thank goodness I realized what I had been overlooking. Thus far, my husband is in good health for which I am thankful. I will add you and your darling one to my prayer list. Peace be with you both.

norma said...

What a wonderful, touching tribute to your love. Happy Anniversary.

Doodlequilter said...

Have a very Happy Anniversary! Enjoy this and every day and may your burdens be lifted. Joy to you both.

Anonymous said...

You made me cry but its ok. I was married for all most 25 years my husband John, he died a month before our 25th and it was the year my mom and dad were going to have their 50th. We were thinking of having a party but it didn't get to happen. I didn't know how much I loved being married until he wasn't here with me anymore. I miss him and all the little things we shared, like you said; how he liked his food, clothes and the times we were just together hanging out living and working for our family. Not trying to bum you out sorry. Congratulations to you both hope you make it to 40 years.

valerie said...

I am very lucky to have that kind of man, that kind of relationship, too. You say it so very well. Many, many blessings to you both.

Dawn said...

You have all enriched this day with your understanding and caring and congratulations.

I'm doubly blessed if my words touch you, the writer in me is thrilled to share something meaningful through words.

And Anonymous you did not bum me out. I feel your loss and you give me strength to know it is possible to survive such loss. So thank you for telling us about your husband, John.

Pat's Place said...

Thank you for sharing your post. My mom nursed my dad through ALS almost until the end - but she contracted pancreatitis, then pneumonia, and finally had a massive heart attack. Dad died 8 days later, having spent only one month in a nursing facility, thanks to mom's love, dedication, and endurance.

Their love, humor, laughter, and playfulness remains ever with all of us who were privileged to be with them during part or all of their journey.

Your steadfastness to one another is the strongest testimony that Love conquers all, for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.

Blessings to both of you and your family.

liniecat said...

You are both blessed indeed, despite the ails of life itself.

Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing your story and the reminder I need to hear. By chance, I was just viewing the ALS quilts on display at Va. Beach thru Hopes and Dreams. I sent one it and will do another this year. Your story will be my inspiration. Happy Aniversary!

Dawn said...

Debbie! Thanks so much for your contributions to ALS. I would be honored to have you think of us as you make a second quilt for Hopes and Dreams. It is an excellent charity.

Rayna said...

As you can well, imagine, Dawn, I wept as I read your post. Despite all the crappy stuff, every day with each other is a gift. Thanks for saying it so well - and happy anniversary.
love,
Rayna

Bee said...

Happy Anniversary to you and your husband! Your post is a lovely tribute to your beautiful marriage. Many blessings to you both!

Robin West said...

I read your blog hours ago and keep thinking about what you've said. What a wonderful marriage you both have grown into. It's sometimes hard in this materialistic world to remember to appreciate the truly wonderful moments we may have with our loved ones. Congratulations to you both. You will be in my thoughts.

Marilyn Wall said...

Dawne, what a lovely post. I often kick myself when I find fault with little things that annoy me with my husband. I have one of the good ones. I just need to remind myself every once in a while. Thanks for the reminder.
Happy Anniversary.

Karen Turner said...

What a moving and beautiful post. Thank you for finding and sharing these words. Wishing joy to you both.

Barbara Douglas said...

Roses and diamonds are the 'romantic dreams' of love in the mind of girl.
Skinny legs are the 'reality' of love in the mind of a woman.
May you live and love in 'reality' for many years to come.

Gisela Towner said...

Oh my. Beautiful post...you've got me in tears here.
Now I'll go get a towel to dry off the keyboard and wish you a happy anniversary;

Quiltluver said...

What a beautiful post and tribute to a long and wonderful marriage. I just celebrated my 33rd anniversary on the 15th. As I've watched my brother going through a serious health crisis the past few weeks, I realize how blessed I am that both of us are reasonably healthy. Happy (belated) anniversary. I love those quilts, too!

Maggie Szafranski said...

To be in love with your best friend, that is magic!

Kathy said...

What a lovely glimpse of your life to share with us. Reading this brought tears to my eyes.....thank you for reminding me I am alive. Happy anniversary...may you have many, many more.

Kathy said...

What a beautiful glimpse of your life to share with us. You moved me to tears....thanks for reminding me I am alive. Happy anniversary...may you have many, many more.

Martha Ginn said...

Dawn, I am late seeing your anniversary post, but extremely touched to read your story of caring for your husband with ALS. My husband of 56 years has advanced Parkinson's and I can identify. How little we knew about what it really meant to say "for richer/poorer, sickness/health" as we try to hang onto the good days. Blessings on you both!

Christine Thresh said...

Thank you for sharing your marriage story. I think the skinny legs were a splendid gift for your anniversary.
Go give him a hug.