Sunday, November 27, 2011


Thomas Allen

What follows are random thoughts about life with Deborah.

‒ I am glad that Deb and I did not court much. I was not very good at courting. Most of our interaction was through letters and telephone conversations. Before we married, I visited her in Connecticut for about five days, and she visited me in North Carolina for about five days. I did turn out to be an excellent husband for her. Likewise, she turned out to be an excellent, even ideal, wife for me. Courting and marriage are like campaigning and performing the duties of an elective office. They require two different sets of skills, attributes, and abilities. Because a person is good at one does not mean that he is good at the other.

‒ As paradoxical as it sounds, until Deb was gone, I never realized how much she guided me and told me what to do without ever saying a word. She seldom right out told me what to do or not do. Yet without speaking, even with body language, she was the guiding influence telling me what to do and not to do. Perhaps it was because she gave everything purpose and meaning. Perhaps it was because she came to surrender herself totally to me that I could not help but to follow her unspoken instructions.

‒ Deb was, so to speak, my security blanket. I did things, such as speaking against issues at public hearings, that I would not have done without her. Her presence gave me courage even if she were not with me. When the children were young, she did not accompany me because she remained home to watch them. After they became old enough to look after themselves, she went with me. Whether she accompanied me or remained home, she gave me courage, direction, and purpose. I knew that she was there behind me and for me.

‒ When Deb was ill, I commented that wished I could have borne her burden to spare her the suffering. Now I am having to bear a burden that she will never have to bear. I am having to bear her loss and the void that it has created. Deb, it hurts! I am not having to feel the physical pain that she endured. Nevertheless, I am having to endure an enormous amount of pain. By her dying first, at least I am sparing her this pain. However, I am convinced that she could have borne it better than I am. She was my superior at such things.

‒ One reason that I love Deb so much and so deeply is that she never rejected me. She always accepted me. She accepted me as I was, and I accepted her as she was.

‒ Deb was always easy going and rarely demanding. She did have to run off to visit her sister occasionally. Also, every year or two, she had to go to the beach with the children after they were older.

‒ This year, 2011, was the first year in the last 29 years that I was not with Deb on my birthday (she died a few hours before) or her birthday. It was the first year in 30 years that I did not eat Thanksgiving dinner with her or celebrate Christmas with her.

‒ Before Deb got sick, I usually had little patience or compassion for sick people — especially myself. After Deb became ill, I soon acquired a great deal of patience and compassion for her. I was honored with the privilege of serving her during her illness. Although I did not always succeed, I tried to serve her the best that I could. My biggest regret is failing to defend her against and protect her from hospice. That failure resulted in her premature death. Hospice took weeks and maybe months off her life. Now I have to live with that failure for the rest of my life.

‒ When she was in the hospital, Deb bragged to the nurses and aides about having such a good husband. (I enjoyed hearing her say that.) I was there because I had a better wife. While she was in the hospital, I spent nine to twelve hours a day with her. While she was in the hospice house, I was with her 60 out of every 72 hours. I was with her because of her.

‒ When I first met Deb, little did I realize that I had found paradise on earth — or at least as close as a man can come in this sinful world. Wives can either make a marriage heaven on earth or hell on earth. Deb made it heaven. Not that everything always ran smoothly with no disagreement, they certainly did not. However, over time discord faded and harmony grew. Being married to Deb was a blessing and much more than I deserved.

‒ Deb and I came about as close as sinners can come to following the directions of Ephesians 5:24-33. She yielded herself to me and made me her head. In return, I tried to love her as Christ loves the Church (although no human can so fully love) and gave her all that I could. We also strove to follow the instructions of 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 and tried not to withhold our bodies from each other.

‒ I do not recall if it were the first turkey that Deb cooked for Thanksgiving, but it was one of the first ones. We had forgotten to get a pan in which to cook the turkey when we bought the turkey. Back then most stores closed on Thanksgiving. So I could not go buy one. I ended up sawing off the upper part of a big enamel pot for her to use. Later we use the resulting pan as a dish to feed the dog.

‒ Although we had some arguments, I only remember one. Like most of our arguments, it dealt with money for the school. The school that our children went to usually waited until the day before money was needed for a field trip or whatever before asking for it. Waiting to the last minute to ask for money really irritated me, especially since they knew at the beginning of the school year that they would need the money. I like to budget for expenses and do not like surprises, especially when the people wanting the money knew far enough in advance that I could have budgeted for it if they had told me. Anyway, Deb took money that I had allocated for another purpose and gave it to the school. That set me off. I ranted for sometime. After I finished my rant, I felt bad. Although I did not admit it, she did the right thing under the circumstance. I resolved the problem by setting up a borrowing and repayment system. (Now that I look back, probably much of the argument was my frustration with the school.) I do not recall us ever arguing about money after that.

‒ One of the many things that I admired about Deb was that she trusted me in the position of being the head of our relationship and marriage. She forced me to take on that responsibility whether I wanted it or not. I must admit I was somewhat reluctant at first, but she knew what was best. For any relationship and marriage to be highly successful, the man must take the responsibility of being the head. That is a major reason that our marriage was so happy and successful.

‒ Deb saw something in me of great worth. She saw a goodness and greatness in me that no one else ever did or has since. Whatever it was, I did not know and still do not. Most likely, she would have difficulty explaining it. It was more something she sensed and felt than something she could articulate. Nevertheless, she saw it and brought it out. She made life worth living and got things out of me that I did not know were possible or even existed.

Copyright © 2011 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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