Life Changes

The only constant in life is change. Dealing with health issues affecting loved ones may be the hardest "change" of all.

The only constant in life is change. Dealing with health issues affecting loved ones may be the hardest “change” of all.

“Over, under, under, over…right? No – that’s not working,” Robert said to himself as he gazed into the mirror. For some reason he could not get his bow tie tied today.  It just wasn’t coming out right.  He was dressing for Sunday dinner at his daughter’s house and his grandkids looked forward to those colorful ties. He decided to wear a turtleneck sweater instead and forget about the tie for now. That bow tie had been his signature look for the last 35 years as the accounting manager of the local bank and he’d only retired 5 years ago. He would tell the kids it was getting colder now that it was fall and this sweater kept him warm. In the back of his mind he noticed he was making a lot of excuses like that lately. The last pair of tennis shoes he bought was the “slip-on” kind with no laces. “It was just easier,” he had rationalized, pretending his intermittent inability to tie shoes was just a momentary lapse of memory as well.

He walked into the bathroom to shave and removed the gear from the mirrored cabinet above the sink. He closed the door and saw his reflection again; he had already shaved. When did he do that? Must have been early this morning when he was still groggy. “Oh well, probably all that blood pressure medication is making me foggy,” he said to Charlie the cat.

He descended the stairs and made a pot of coffee, got the morning paper and put a few slices of bread in the toaster. While it cooked he took his pills, turned on the radio and opened a few windows. The smell of the fall air brought back memories of his wife, who had passed on 3 years ago next month. He choked back a tear, buttered the bread and sat down at the table to read the paper. Charlie sat in the window sill basking in the sunlight.

Robert began to look at the headlines, but his wife’s absence was strong in him today. The letters on the front page began to blur. He put the paper down and his head in his hands and began to weep. Where had the years gone? He began to think about all the challenges he had faced as a man, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an employee, a manager of people, a citizen of this town and a child of God. He thought about all the days that he had endured problems and pain and all the days where his cup had runneth over in gratitude for all the love and good fortune with which he had been blessed.

The cat leaped to the table and began to rub against his shoulder, sensing that something was wrong. Robert patted him gratefully, cleared his eyes, swallowed hard and ate his toast. He put the dishes away, poured another cup of coffee and went out to the front porch to finish it. Neighbors out for walks and mowing lawns waved and he smiled and waved back. At least he still had his old familiar neighborhood and the friends that rounded out his life. Eddie, from across the street, ambled up the stairs and past him into the house, knowing the coffee had been made. He returned to “his chair” on the porch and nodded at Robert without a word; their daily ritual very much intact.

“No tie today?” said Eddie. “Getting cold,” Robert replied. “Ah,” Eddie finished and pointed down the street. “Looks like Johnson’s getting aluminum siding put on the house, huh?”  Robert shook his head.  “They don’t call it aluminum anymore.  It’s made of vinyl.”



“You will what?”

Robert exhaled. “Yeah, he’s getting aluminum siding.”

“I know that!  I’m the one who told you!”

Robert stood up. “I have to get over to my daughter’s house for dinner. It’s Sunday you know?”

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