Sunday, February 14, 2010

The consequences of life's decisions!

The packing has begun! In our many moves, most of them since I retired from the Navy, and most of them for reasons I now don't remember, my wife has always packed our china first. I remember proudly buying that Nortake China set on my first WESTPAC cruise. As it turns out, it is a limited edition set, only made for military export. But it is precious because it was the first thing I bought for our life together. You will remember we got married and I deployed to Viet Nam almost immediately. My wife lived in a furnished apartment in Whittier California while she completed her Bachelor's Degree at BIOLA college. (Now BIOLA University) In any case, the china represents us together, and it is cherished by both of us. My wife always packs our china and takes loving care in protecting each piece. But the packing of the china signifies the beginning of the move! It is like the lighting of the Olympic flame at the beginning of the Olympiad. So, while we don't take possession of our new apartment until March 1, the move has officially begun.

While both of us are excited about moving into our new apartment, a place more suited for my issues, I can't help but have some reservations and depression about this move. This move, is probably the last move we will make willingly. All of our moves, even my Navy moves, we had a hand in the decision making. I negotiated orders when I was in the Navy, trying to get the right jobs to help me promote while having some fun along the way. After we retired from the Navy, we moved from house to house, looking for better neighborhoods, schools, locations closer to our Son and his family, or what ever whim happened to move me. My wife always has taken my wanderlust with a remarkable measure of calm and composure. I am sure that she would have been happy to stay in any one of our homes. After all, they were all nice, comfortable, secure, safe, and located in a good neighborhood with all the modern conveniences. But I have dragged my wife all over the Tidewater area in the last 27 years. We have lived in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, (three places) Norfolk, and back to Virginia Beach. The china has been packed up more times than I care to count. But she never complains. She is truly amazing and frankly, I owe her an apology for making all of these moves.

But, like I said, this is most likely the last move I will orchestrate and I am sad. Sad, because I caused her to move so many times, for no good reasons. And sad, because I know where this all leads. Yes, this is a good move for all the best reasons. Heck, I get tired starting the lawn mower, well enough mowing the lawn. Yesterday, I used my drill to tighten some screws on the dinning room chairs, and I broke a sweat! No, moving to a home where I do not have to do the maintenance is the RIGHT move. Me on a ladder makes no sense at all. I am dangerous in the attic!! But, I also know what the next move holds. No body looks forward to deteriorating mentally or physically, and I am doing both! We ignore the fact of our own demise throughout most of our lives. Some of us get plastic surgery, Botox, VIAGRA, We have LASIK surgery so we don't have to wear glasses, die our hair, and have Liposuction. But sooner or later, our deteriorating body catches up with us. Mine has just become a reality earlier than most. As a friend of mine says, "It is what it is."

So, as we pack, move, and unpack, don't be too surprised if I am a little misty, sad, moody, or depressed. I believe GOD still has some things for me to do, but I know the time I have to accomplish that list is getting very short and my abilities are beginning to wane. I wish I could remember exactly how President Regan said it, when he wrote his letter to America, explaining his Alzheimer's. He was so eloquent and uplifting. But the basis of his letter was, he was on a slow journey into the unknown, and so am I.

1 comment:

  1. I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.

    Upon learning this news, Nancy and I had to decide whether as private citizens we would keep this a private matter or whether we would make this news known in a public way.

    In the past, Nancy suffered from breast cancer and I had my cancer surgeries. We found through our open disclosures we were able to raise public awareness. We were happy that as a result many more people underwent testing.

    They were treated in early stages and we were able to return to normal, healthy lives.

    So now, we feel it is important to share it with you. In opening our hearts, we hope this might promote greater awareness of this condition. Perhaps it will encourage a clearer understanding of the individuals and families who are affected by it.

    At the moment I feel just fine. I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing the things I have always done. I will continue to share life's journey with my beloved Nancy and my family. I plan to enjoy the great outdoors and stay in touch with my friends and supporters.

    Unfortunately, as Alzheimer's disease progresses, the family often bears a heavy burden. I only wish there was some way I could spare Nancy from this painful experience. When the time comes, I am confident that with your help she will face it with faith and courage.

    In closing let me thank you, the American people, for giving me the great honor of allowing me to serve as your president. When the Lord calls me home, whenever that may be, I will leave with the greatest love for this country of ours and eternal optimism for its future.

    I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.

    Thank you, my friends. May God always bless you.

    Sincerely, Ronald Reagan