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Laurie's Journal (long)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I always write to think things through and work out stuff that's on my mind or going on in my life. But I've been so time constrained lately, I just haven't had time. Gosh - I can't even remember the last time I had out my knitting at home! We've been on the plane a few times in the past week alone, and I was able to pick up where I left off... but that's for no good reason, and that's part of why I need to write.

Anyway, it came to me the other night - a way to combine two things that I love (and need!). I can just start a journal here at TCS.

Feel free to reply or respond - I'm keeping in mind this is a public forum, after all . I might not respond directly, because I am doing this to work things out for myself. But having a journal that talks back might be helpful!

So.... for those of you who want to get to know me better, feel free to read on. I've always written like I'm writing a letter to someone, I guess. Don't usually have a particular person in mind. (Occasionally hubby, when I'm upset with him ).


Well, it's been a while since I've written anything, so I might as well start with.... turning 40. Ugh. I thought I wouldn't mind, but I was surprised to find it bothered me. !! It just sounds so old - but only as it applies to me. My parents, at 70-something, don't seem old. But somehow, when it's me that is this age, it seems older than it does for other people who are my age or older. Is that weird? Just being self-centered, I guess.

I remember being 20, and thinking how old people like me seemed. Did those people feel old? I sure don't. Maybe it's just that they seemed so mature, and because Gary and I aren't parents, I've been able to retain a high level of immaturity! LOL! Mind you, my body doesn't work like it used to. But that all changed several years ago, which is why I thought I wouldn't mind turning 40. I was already over the age hump, I thought. I started gaining weight - and it wouldn't come off by itself anymore. My periods changed. I had aches and pains. A few wrinkles here and there, some age spots.... It takes longer to get over being sick. I thought I'd already passed into "middle age" without noticing it had happened. It actually happened sometime between 37 and 38 for me. So I didn't think 40 was going to bother me. Age isn't something I'd ever been afraid of before. But I DON'T LIKE BEING 40!!!! All of a sudden it doesn't seem like life is endless. Time passes so quickly. I remember when years took forever to end. Now months go by in a snap! I'm already afraid there's not enough time. Not enough time for what, I'm not sure, but I know there's not enough of it.

Maybe part of it is actually being in love. Actually being happy. Who knew Gary would look me up and that we'd get back together? I am so, so blessed, I know that. We were made for each other. We've spent lifetimes together. It has to be.

Wow. 1993 seems like so long ago (when we started living together). I was still full of youthful exuberance when we hit the road together, back in 1994. We were both 31. Life WAS endless back then! Now the end looms. Statistically, I've already lived more than half my life. Is that freaky or what?

I was never scared of death before. As a matter of fact, for the better part of my 20s, my main goal in life was to achieve "enlightment" so I didn't have to keep coming back. When I went for marriage counseling, the therapist was concerned I was suicidal. Obviously not trained in eastern theologies! I grew up in a very "puritanical" household - life was not given to us to be enjoyed. Of course as a normal teen I rebelled against all of that - but I did develop into someone who wanted to dedicate my life to "helping." To "living love." To things that were much bigger than "me." I guess in many ways I was just a typical aquarian. Barely tied to this earth. Concerned, caring and loving - but very dispassionate when it came to personal relationships.

Gary changed all that. I'd never met someone like him before. I mean - we were a couple in our teens, but re-meeting him again as an adult with 12 years of experiences inbetween was an entirely different thing. Gary is such a passionate person he literally sees red sometimes when he gets angry. I didn't know that ACTUALLY happened! Gary brought my level of caring about things - especially my own life - to entirely new levels.

He changed a lot of things. I was so dispassionate about my own life I would die rather than hurt someone to save my life. If there were to be a nuclear war, I would have wanted to be at ground zero rather than deal with everything that would accompany a post-apocalyptic society. But loving Gary as passionately as I do has changed a lot of things. I would kill in order to survive, if that's what it took. I would fight to defend myself. Before he moved in, I was very anti-gun. But he was in the army, and owns weapons. I understood the importance to him, and figured if he wanted to be able to defend us, he's been trained to do so, so intellectually I didn't mind having them around. I didn't figure I'd ever be willing to use one. But I felt strongly that if they were going to be in the same home as me, I'd better know how to use them. It was very scary at first. I'm a good shot. And that, somehow, was scary to me. Now I'm not scared of them. And I feel strongly enough about being alive that I would use one, if I had to, to stay alive. It is such a far cry from where I once was!

But I guess it's not just having recently turned 40 that's bothering me so much. As a matter of fact, that we're facing death on a daily basis has got to be a part of what's eating away at me.

Gary's dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just a few weeks ago. It is a terrible disease. Of course cancer in general is a terrible disease. But pancreatic cancer is a particularly nasty one. Only 29,000 people a year, on average, are diagnosed with it. So not a lot of money goes into research. And it is so fast acting. Just 18% of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer live longer than 15 months. At first his dad told us he had a year. Then we found out that was HIS estimate - not the Doctor's! (Typical!) Preliminary estimates were 6 months. Then as they did further testing, that dropped to 3 - 6 months. And further testing brought it down to 8 - 12 weeks.

And he's deteriorating so rapidly. He has the money to fly us to Chicago, and we've been there three times now, twice just last week. He looks and sounds terrible already. And he's already got a nurse with him.

And he and Gary are trying to cram 10 years of life into just a few weeks.

Of course Gary got his passionate nature from somewhere.... and he and his dad have always had a really firey relationship. After all, Gary did leave home at 15. And it took his dad 2 years to track him down with a Private Detective. (We lived a cash-based existence back then!) But whatever happened, happened - and they stopped talking back in 1993. I met Gary's dad for the first time in January.

Gary was very, very nervous about the dinner. Spent a lot of time obsessing about the motive behind it. I don't blame him. He has a lot of reasons not to trust his Dad. My FIL is (was) a very manipulative, controlling person. Here's a short example. He taught Gary to play chess at age 4. He never let Gary win. (Gotta learn that life is tough and competitive!) They played chess until Gary was 7. The first time Gary beat FIL (easier than writing "his dad" out all the time - and his name, actually, is Phil!) was the last time they played.

But now we think we know what happened. We think FIL already knew he had cancer. I'm glad he didn't tell us then. Gary and he got to reconcile before Gary knew, anyway. Gary got to hear his Dad tell him he's proud of him for the first time in his life. Gary got to hear his Dad tell him he loves him for the first time in his life. And he got to appreciate it all before he knew his dad was dying. I'm so thankful for that.

But he is dying, and rapidly. Almost before our eyes. I don't even know the man, and it is devastating. FIL's parents lived into their 90s. He thought he had years left. Decades. We all thought he had years left. Decades.

But that's life, isn't it? So fragile. Frequently, gone in a flash. But you can't literally live each day like it's your last one. I guess.... I guess I feel it's important to live each day like I'm going to be held accountable for each day of it. Each moment. But dealing with the spectre of death, each day like this, is so strange.

It's not like I would imagine it would be in a war. Facing death each day. Each hour. Becoming numb and immune to the pain and suffering. This is different. It is a constant reminder of, of, of, of... I don't know what. That I love being alive, and I'd better not take it for granted.

Well, I'm not done, but I gotta go now.

post #2 of 7
no response seems appropriate, but i wanted you to know how much this touched me, so...
post #3 of 7
When someone decides to express themselves through words, borders are magically transcended and people no longer feel so isolated and contained. Congrats on taking down the barrier that so many of us put up and sharing it here with us.

It makes the soul that much lighter, doesn't it?

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Jan! And Kass, you are so so right!!! You have such a great way with words!!!!! I miss you!

The war is bringing up so emotion for Gary. He fought a war in the Middle East. He has such a unique perspective on what is happening - as a U.S. Citizen and someone who fought as an Israeli in Lebanon. He is so passionate, and feels things so deeply. I think it comes with being so terribly intelligent. That must be why so many geniuses (spelling) seem to have such tragic lives, as alcoholics or drug addicts... Knowing and understanding so much must be a terrible, terrible burden. I am so thankful for being someone of basically average intelligence. My memory is blissfully foggy.

Last night we had to go give a talk about how to prepare for and survive a terrorist attack. Well - I went along. Gary did the talking. Most of our customers know Gary was in the Israeli Army, so after 9/11, many of our accounts called and asked for his insights as to the world of terrorism in addition to his regular advice on stocks and the market. We put several of the really large firms in touch with an agency that finds personnel and develops plans for security back-ups, etc. One of our customers went so far as to purchase gas masks for their entire staff, they've hired two full time doctors and nurses on staff (even though they have nothing to do most of the time). They've installed sensors and alerts. They've hired armed guards, and purchased enough Hum-Vs to get top management out of the building and to the river, where they have a boat docked to get them off the island.

We helped make arrangements for many people to purchase the same chem/bio/nuclear protection suits and masks that the congressmen have. But as Gary likes to let everyone know, the issue isn't having them - it's knowing when to use them, being able to decontaminate, knowing when you can take them off - and if you're going to that extent to stay alive, then in a place like Manhattan, you'll need to think about how to prevent people from trying to steal them off your very body while trying to evacuate the island.

Sometimes I feel so safe with Gary. He has so much experience, and he has prepared us. We are mobile. We live in an RV, and we are completely packed out and supplied. But other times I feel such an overwhelming sense of Why?

One of the execs wives last night, during the discussion of defense, said to me (after Gary graphically described what can sometimes be involved) - and this is the man you have as your soulmate? (She doesn't want guns in the house, which is a position I do understand). And though I didn't say anything there, my mind screamed YES! I went to a Quaker college, and I was an extreme pacifist in my teens and 20s. But you know what? I think that's because I felt passionately about some "abstract" love for humanity. Now that I have a personal intense love in marriage, I would fight tooth and nail to stay alive with Gary. If I had kids, I would fight tooth and nail to keep them alive. I would kill rather than watch them get killed. Absolutely. You bet. No question about it. So there's my answer. That's why.

But it is also just so overwhelming sometimes. It's kind of like life is speeding up.

I turned 40. And life is just whipping by. It's April already! I remember when months seemed like years. Of course it makes sense - the older I get, the faster things go. Each year, relatively, on a percentage basis, IS getting smaller and smaller as a part of my lifetime!!!!

And that's happening to the Earth as a planet, too. The world is getting smaller and smaller, the more we increase our ability to travel and communicate. There are approximately 12 billion people on Earth now. It is projected to double by 2020. Or 2025. In what I hope is my lifetime (meaning I hope I'm still alive in 2025).

Time is compressing. For us as individuals, for us as a society, and for us as humans. 25 billion people is not supportable. That is scary. Very scary. Thinking about this "compression of time" makes me feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. Only it's real, and it's happening.

But if I take a step back.... it isn't scary. It all depends upon the time frame I try to wrap my mind around. In the scale of the universe, not to sound dumb, we're even less than "dust in the wind." In the scale of my lifetime, my life speeding up the older I get is something I simply have to accept.

... But this compression of time issue is daunting on the scale of humanity. So... I guess it's where the two intersect that I have the problem.

....to be continued....
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
blah blah blah, wa wa wa wa.

Gary's dad is off his stabilizing meds (he's a diagnosed bipolar, paranoid psychotic, manic depressive). He calls constantly, and we feel guilty about being annoyed. Sometimes he's totally lucid, other times he's nuts. He calls at all hours of the day and night, and it is wearing us down and wearing on our nerves.

We're tired.

We've been working a lot. A lot a lot.

Our car broke down. It was its final death. That chewed up ALL of last Friday. Waiting for a tow, waiting for a loaner (which the dealership needs back, so now we have to rent a car. Ugh). We need a new car. I hope they don't require good credit or much of a downpayment... We'll miss you, Saabi. We had 265,000 great miles....

We both went to the Dentist Tuesday. I'm having a crown replaced and Gary is getting his 14 gum-line cavities (!!!!) repaired over four visits. Neither of us likes dentists, but Gary is insanely afraid. He babbles incessantly, making it so difficult for the dentist.

We've had to head into the city a lot this past week. We're schmoozing customers, and our lunch yesterday lasted over three hours! Who has time for that?

Thanksgiving's adoption didn't happen, and she's starting to lick herself incessently. She's developing a bald spot on her neck (from rubbing there), and she thinks Susan (the boarding facility owner) is her mommy. She's so sweet (well - both Susan and Thanksgiving). Gary and I are so depressed about this.

We're tired, we're worn down, our nerves are frayed, we need a new car, our customers are sucking the life out of us... our teeth hurt... we can't find Thanksgiving a home...

...and on top of it all, the cats have decided that they like playing "chase," and their favorite time to play it is in the wee hours of the night or morning. If it isn't Gary's dad waking us up with insane phone calls, it's the cats FLYING into the bedroom landing on our head or stomachs or something. IT HURTS. If we shut the bedroom door, we get a cat opera going, and we're simply too tired to deal with THAT. If we didn't have such a problem with ticks, round worms and mud in this area, I'd consider putting a cat door into the front door of the RV....

This is nothing compared to what many in the world suffer. I just have to focus on that in times like this.

Wa wa wa wa wa, blah blah blah blah blah
post #6 of 7
Wow Laurie, I have just read what you have written.
I am so sorry about the trials you have to go through, but in the end, they do make you a stronger person. I dont mean to sound mean, but I have been though a lot myself over the past 2 1/2 years and they have made me stronger.
Kudos to you for having the guts to put everything here, I know I dont!
Bless you and Gary!

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Kellye, you're so cute! You don't sound mean at all. I totally believe everything happens for a reason. Sometimes I just need to moan.

But ALL those cat problems have been solved! Thanksgiving went to her new home, Tuxedo came home with us, and we got cat trees, so now they play out there (mostly).

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