I’m Still In Silence Loving You
I Hang On By A Teardrop Loving You
I’ll Wait Just To Be Held By You
I’ll Wait For Our Destined Fate
Only For You
In The Midnight Sand Of Ecstasy
I Woke To The
Gloaming Of Your Desire
And It Felt Like No Other
In Rapture Of The Deepest Kind
In Anticipating You
“Embraced Tenderly” By You
A Tiny Part Of Me Sharing With You
Waiting For You
Prose Speaks The Heavenly Truth
A Piquant Glance
Now Infused Our We
Two Halves Making A Whole
Capturing Destiny’s Wind
I did it! I had finally arrived, adding a little dramatic flair to my milestone. I had achieved my independence and had no one to answer to. Most importantly, I had proved Nick and Janis wrong. When I had announced that I was going for a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Math, Nick smirked and said sarcastically, “Well, we’ll see about that.” And we certainly did see about that, I graduated with honors. Janis told me how Nick lectured my brother Miguel. After I graduated, my brother was working towards his degree in Mechanical Engineering and he succeeded. Janis said Nick would compare my grades to Miguel which I thought was ridiculous. My brother is extremely smart and he always thinks in terms of an equation and evolution. I love my brother and we get along very well.
Janis had the opportunity to brag to Aunt Amanda, her main rival in the family,
“Lorie has her B.S. Degree in Computer Science and Math.”
Most of Aunt Amanda’s eight children had teaching degrees which is one of the most important and rewarding jobs. Janis also bragged,
“Lorie is the first to purchase her own home in Santa Fe.”
Janis reminded Aunt Amanda that most of my eight cousins were living in mobile homes. One was building a home in Barranco on my grandparents’ property, making it into a lifetime hobby. His children were grown and gone but never lived there. Janis wanted to make it very clear that despite all the backstabbing and hurtful remarks, I had risen to the top when no one had any confidence in me, including Janis and Nick; except me.
The trend in Santa Fe ignited many new galleries and tourists to come from everywhere. They and everyone else are quite taken by the Land of Enchantment. A slower paced lifestyle among the beautiful New Mexico landscape is almost too good to resist. Many affluent people come from everywhere to buy a second home to visit in the summer and ski in the winter.
After proving myself at PSR (Proton Storage Ring), my supervisor wanted to promote me to a staff level position despite not having my PhD. I had prepared a forty-five-minute dissertation to present to the committee and they all voted ‘yes’. I was awarded a new job title and a hefty raise. Because I was so fashion conscious, I went back to wearing normal clothing. Now comfortable in my own home and feeling such peace there really wasn’t any more that I could have hoped for.
“Ask and you shall receive”.
A new physicist from Stanford came to work for the Proton Storage Ring. We had been introduced a year before through my supervisor. At that time, all we had said to each other was ‘hello’ and ‘nice meeting you’. Robert was his name but everyone called him Bob. I was still dating ‘dirt cheap’ Herman. The reason I had attributed this title to him was because if Aaron and I went to dinner with him we went ‘Dutch’. I paid for mine and Aaron’s portion. Herman was always showing signs of being very selfish and cheap. I was becoming less and less interested and intolerable of his miserly ways. I was always a very generous with my money and Janis was one of receivers on that end. Herman was so cheap he would have made a terrible step father.
I wasn’t about to put Aaron through the same history of my past with Nick. Where Nick didn’t feel responsible for me because I wasn’t his real daughter and of course Janis always supported his miserly ways, both offering me absolutely no opportunities especially regarding my education.
Janis, Aaron and I took a short vacation to Las Vegas, Nevada. Herman met us there. Janis, Aaron and I were eating breakfast in the Flamingo Restaurant when Herman arrived and the waitress handed him the check saying “Your’re just in time for the check.” Herman almost had a heart attack. I explained to the waitress that we were not married and that I would pay the check.
Later my mother said, “El Es terriblemente barato. ¿por qué estás saliendo con el?”
“Why are you dating him, he is terribly cheap?”
I agreed with her, she was right. I knew the relationship wouldn’t last; we were wasting each other’s time.
Work suddenly became a lot more interesting and exciting. Whenever I went upstairs to serve myself coffee, Bob would enter saying, “Good morning Lorie.” I liked his voice, it sounded romantic to me and gave me goose bumps; horripilation was always evident on my skin just looking at him. I returned the greeting, but I wouldn’t face him because I was afraid I’d blush. It was my second crush since the drag racing days with Raymond.
I started wearing pretty dresses and spent a great deal of time primping myself in the morning to look beautiful for Bob. I ordered the first new color contacts changing my brown eyes to an iridescent Martian blue. I think I was trying for the Elizabeth Taylor look. I was becoming like ‘Fanny’ in ‘Funny Girl’, thinking of the song “He Touched Me” and I would sing that song commuting to my job 40 miles a day every morning.
“He touched me,
He put his hand
Near mine and
Then he touched me
A sparkle, a glow…..”
Bob seemed surprised when he saw my contacts for the first time. I was merely trying to bat my baby blues at him.
Suddenly, we couldn’t have enough staff meetings. I looked forward to each and every one of them. Before Bob started working at PSR I’d look at my watch and I was always with my mind on some technical or scientific problem I had to resolve. I had a new bounce to my step. With my beautiful blue colored contacts I sat next to Bob, my left leg crossed over my right and my foot moved gently up and down. I could have sworn he was looking at my ankles, that gave me a rush. Suddenly a new pair of high heels didn’t give me bad blisters and if they did, I wasn’t noticing or complaining like our trip to Disneyland a year back with my family. Here’s an excerpt of that experience.
Mom knowingly asked me, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing!” I said.
The next ride had a line to wait in. I rejoiced and every chance I had I would slip one foot out of the new shoe and rest it. Then it was obvious, my stupidity and vanity. Nadine was the first to notice and bring it up and make it into an issue.
She said, “You’re in pain in those new shoes.”
Not exactly with a concerned tone in her voice, but ‘Look at you’ and ‘we told you so.’ attitude. I looked at her flat sandals.
Then Nadine said, “I can’t lend you mine. Your feet are bigger than mine.”
I imagined myself as one of Cinderella’s stepsisters. Although size eight is a very common size I am only five feet five inches tall.
I said, “Nadine, I didn’t ask you for your shoes.”
Nadine response was, “Well, you were looking at them.”
Bob also lived in Santa Fe. ‘Dirt Cheap’ Herman and I were constantly running into Bob. Bob was always excited and came up to say hello. Herman became visibly angry. On one occasion when Herman and I were at Chelsea’s, a popular pub. Herman and I were seated at a table. Bob walked in with a friend and immediately he and I caught each other’s attention.
Herman noticed and said, “There’s that idiot; if he comes here I’m going to tell him to get lost.”
I told Herman “Oh no you won’t, I’m not married to you and Bob is a co-worker and I don’t want an embarrassing scene. You got that? I’m not kidding. Don’t make me mad!”
Bob did come over and we exchanged ‘hellos’ and ‘Merry Christmas’.
Needless to say I had finally had enough of Herman and broke up with him. I was happy and hopeful there was something there between Bob and I. In my mind I was asking for my Christmas present; Bob.
I met up with Bob during a walk from our main offices to the control center. Bob asked how I was. I said I was fine; happier. I announced I had broken up with Herman. I noticed Bob’s face was flushed; it looked like a tan in the middle of winter. He explained he had been skiing with friends and they had setup a blind date. I was so disappointed and my inflated crush lost all its air.
Two weeks went by and each of us had computers at home where we could login remotely to reboot computers and troubleshoot any problems that occurred at PSR. I remember that Bob called me on a Saturday. I was making pancakes for Aaron and I. I answered the phone assuming he was calling regarding work. I told him I was making pancakes just in general conversation. Later I found out he was waiting for an invitation to taste my pancakes (I’ll bet he was LOL). Then Bob asked me to go see a movie and maybe afterwards go see a friend playing at a local nightclub on the following Saturday. I was in shock and in my nervousness, I said, “Let me check my schedule”. Schedule? What schedule? I put my hand on the phone receiver and waited 5 seconds; and shook my head, stomping my feet and smiling; then I took a deep breath and proceeded to remain calm. I immediately responded and said yes. I guess I wanted to appear very busy and popular. During the week, I was excited looking forward to our date.
Finally, when Saturday arrived I was a bit nervous. I took Aaron to stay with Nick and Janis. I cleaned the house. I changed my clothes at least seven times. Then I poured myself a glass of wine to calm my nerves. Finally, the hour arrived. The doorbell rang and I opened the door and there was Bob smiling at me, he was wearing a nice tweed blazer. The alcohol in the wine quite suddenly hit me and I started to feel overwhelmed. We went to see movie ‘The Last Emperor’. During the movie Bob held her hand, I thought of the song Barbara Streisand sang in ‘Funny Girl’; ‘He touched me’. No one had ever held my hand like Bob did. It was a strong grip but also sensual. I never remembered anything about the movie, but I remembered everything that happened with Bob. After the movie ended and people started leaving the theater, Bob and I sat there comfortably waiting for our turn to stand up. I turned to my left to look at the crowd leaving and I couldn’t believe it. Herman was walking down the aisle and he pointed his hand like a gun toward Bob and I. I was so stunned. He was obviously stalking me. I said to Bob let’s wait here a minute. “Maybe we should have the theater call the police before we walk out. He’s obviously very unstable and I really don’t know what he is capable of.” Bob remained calm and we sat there for another 10 minutes. Then Bob said, “I think we’ll be OK, let’s get up and start walking, we’re parked right in front of the theater.” So we did, Bob and I looked through all the glass windows and doors towards Bob’s car. Thankfully, Herman wasn’t there and we got into the car and went over to the nightclub to listen and dance to music. Then Bob would put his arm around my waist and I had a tiny waist. I felt his hand go up and down my curves…
When the date was over I invited Bob to come in. Bob sat on a bench and Corgy, Aaron’s dog jumped into Bob’s arms. We laughed. I sat next to Bob and we talked, and then he kissed me. I was caught off guard and I didn’t reciprocate. I was nervous and maybe just a bit shy. I blushed for the first time in my life. Because I really liked Bob. He was a real man. He worked out and I could tell by his muscles on his arms. Big strong legs, and a nice butt. I certainly got a good look at him and I suppose he was doing the same with me. The sexual attraction is just so wonderful when you meet someone who brings out your sensual attributes. Well it’s only natural. We are all heavenly sensual beings.
Bob immediately asked me for another date the following Saturday. Of course I would say yes. I was thinking and planning on something different. I had Bon Appétit magazines which contained a variety of delicious recipes. I suggested to Bob that week at work that we pick an entree and dessert and cook together for our next date. He liked the idea. That Saturday was even better than the first date. We went grocery shopping together and returned home with the groceries and all the ingredients for the special meal. We cooked together and made an extravagant meal together at my house. We made baked monk fish with a delicious tasting tomato coulis sauce with steamed vegetables and rice. Then we made an apple pecan upside down pie for dessert. That was delicious.
After the meal we sat in the living room sipping from our wine glasses and I wanted to impress Bob. So he proceeded to kiss me and I responded with all the womanly sensual capacity and he was so taken by me. He grabbed me around my waist with his strong arms and started devouring me…
From then on we became a couple and I was falling in love. I eventually introduced Bob to Aaron, Janis and Nick. Nick immediately liked Bob. Janis took more time warming up to Bob. Aaron liked him but I was never quite sure how he felt about me dating Bob. But it certainly was an improvement from Herman. If Aaron had any reservations, he was keeping them to himself. Aaron was nine at the time.
We went to New York to meet and visit with Bob’s parents. I loved New York City; the hustle and bustle. For the first time Aaron saw a homeless person laying on the street. It was sad, but very real. I hoped to go back to New York City and walk in Central Park, catch a Broadway show, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others.
“And as I write this words in the present, I never returned to New York City to walk in Central Park, catch a Broadway show ‘Hamilton’ currently playing and people are raving about it, and visit the Metropolitan Museum. These things still remain on my bucket list. My hope is that I do get the opportunity to do this. Little did I know that that would be one of the things that bothered me most about my life with Bob.”
One On Hard Times
One Innocent and Willing To Give
One Hurrying To Get Passed
The One On Hard Times
Later Bob told me that one of the control system’s operators had been intent on asking me out. Bob said, “I immediately felt I had to beat him to the punch and ask you out first.” That he did; we were falling in love.
Before Bob and I started dating he had intended to purchase the house he was renting. Since I owned my home, Bob moved in with Aaron and I. Nick’s reaction was memorable. He and Janis came down very enthusiastically in Nick’s truck. They couldn’t have been any happier to help Bob move in with Aaron and I. Nick really liked Bob. Later Nick filled shots of whiskey and he and Bob toasted. Nick said, “To you Bob. We are very happy you are in Lorie and Aaron’s life and good luck with Lorie.” What he meant by that was that I was fiercely independent and no one was going to tell me what to do.
I knew I would marry Bob. It took two years before I was completely ready to ‘tie the knot’. I wanted to use that time to really get to know each other and we did.
I loved the song by Whitney Houston titled, ‘I Want to Run to You’, and that is how I felt, I wanted to run into Bob’s loving arms.
Our wedding day was gorgeous. Plenty of excitement and happy hearts. I bought a beautiful wedding dress that was tight fitted passed by hips then it extended out and I made my own wedding hat. It was a carbon copy of one of the hats with the veil I had tried on.
We were married at the Loretto Chapel with the famous winding staircase made of rich wood. There were five bridesmaids wearing silk princess dresses, each in a different color of the rainbow. Aaron walked his mother down to the altar. He looked very handsome and was visibly changing, soon to be a teenager. He loved skateboarding and he had a couple of close friends, Silas and his brother, with whom he spent a great deal of time. They were nice boys from a good family.
As I walked down that aisle, there was Bob with a smile waiting for me at the altar and his expression was unforgettable. He clearly wanted me to be his wife and I felt so proud. I was proud of Bob. He looked very handsome in his tuxedo with tails. He was a very very smart man and I loved that part of him the most. I was a happy bride with no second feelings of ‘What am I doing?’ My maid of honor and Bob’s best man were my first cousin Nadine with her husband Elijah. Two hundred people attended the wedding.
All of my aunt’s participated in making the food. It was a self-catered wedding. Janis, Nick and my aunts made the traditional Spanish food. But Nick and Janis’s red chili was the most delicious. The reception took place in Onate Hall, part of the College of Santa Fe. It cost us one hundred and eighty dollars for the day. Prior to that everybody had pitched in and we decorated it beautifully, balloons filled the ceiling. White table cloths with a centerpiece, flowers, ribbons, anything to make it look like the wedding it was. We hired a local band to play at the reception. My Aunt Olivia and Uncle George led “La Marcha” dance where the bride and groom follow and everyone else joins in making a long train, dancing to a particular song. It is a Spanish customary dance where the bride and groom are to be introduced to everyone at the reception. Everyone danced and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Another Spanish tradition was buying a dance with the Bride and Groom. The men line up to dance with the Bride; they pay a dollar, five dollars, ten dollars, and even twenty dollars which they pinned on my wedding dress. The same was done for the Groom where the ladies line up to dance with him. The food was great. It was evident that everybody was having a great time. Now remembering all my aunts. I was pretty close to all of them and they loved me. I felt that right in my heart. I conversed with each of them so easy and carefree and I usually tried to make them laugh. I still remember Aunt Amanda’s laugh and she would say “Oh Lorie” like I was the one and only, and I was. I had the rare and wonderful opportunity to talk to my aunts and see all the virtues they possessed. They loved to laugh and I’ll never forget each of their laughs.
The wedding took place without a hitch, except for the under wire girdle I was wearing. While we sat at the bride and groom’s table I said to Bob, “I can’t breathe.”
He immediately asked what was wrong.
“It’s this thing, this strapless girdle. It’s too tight.”
Bob took me by the hand and we went outside where he undid the girdle. I let out a big breath. Bob should have known it was going to be an exciting life with me and my vanity; shoes, girdles, hair, makeup, primping and styling, dancing and acting, just generally loving life. Since I was little I had learned to love life immensely.
A Past and future through NatsWritingsMind
©Natalie Keshing, Editor-in-Chief of natswritings.com nataliekeshing.com
This Is All A Dream
We Only Have
Amount Of Time
So Breathe Deeply
And Live This Day Incredibly
At The Very Core
Something Comes Alive
In Each of Us
Just For Today
That Is All We Really Have
But It’s Everything
It’s A Night For The Stars
Watch Out For The Nettles
Babbles Of Delicious Laughter
Oh How Sweet They Are
A Tip Toe’s Life
Is Whimsical & Light
Dancing Thru Space
Filling Our Minds
Effortlessly They Make It So
At Full Moon
Her Spirit Rises
Her Trade Mark Tresses
Thru Space Of Eternity
She’s Quite Lovely To See
Our Worlds Are Not That Far Apart
Being Human Makes It So
An Artist Captures
The Very Soul
Of The Eyes Through His
Yes, My Dear
My Old Feeble Ways
Are All I Have
But When I Dream,
I’m 18 Again,
Where I Met Him
On The Seine River In Paris
As a staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory, I was given the opportunity to travel. This was something I looked forward to. Suddenly I felt more important in my job without missing a beat, again excitement and full speed ahead. I packed less rather than more; one big suitcase. While boarding the plane to a faraway place I was reminded of a time when, back in Barranco at the age of five, when I looked up at the sky as an airplane was passing overhead. I had lifted my arm and measured the size of the plane between my index finger and thumb. The plane looked small but it impressed me, it was another mode of transportation. It was my first sight and knowledge of airplanes.
There were five of us who traveled to Vancouver, Canada. Our mission was to meet with the scientists at the TRIUMF accelerator controls system and compare knowledge and identify any of the technical differences or issues.
Because the flight was longer we were given lunch on the plane which proved to be quite tasty. From my window seat I looked out at the sky feeling my wings taking flight. This was something I’d always dreamed of doing; traveling to faraway places.
It was the first trip to set me apart from the rest in terms of desiring more excitement. I had already proven my technical abilities and knowledge. I could mingle with the best of them; walk the walk and talk the talk. I realized that Bob and I had a great deal in common and respect for each other. Bob had a great deal of respect for me, we were very compatible technically and intellectually; he had his PhD in Physics.
The real Lorie was going to surface along with my expectations and nuances. I was, at that point, suppressing a big part of me that naturally gravitated to my interests in movies, plays, acting, and singing. I wanted to learn to play the piano and other things that weren’t part of the technical world I had immersed myself in. In fact I was really the opposite of what I had chosen as a career. This was really the beginning of a long career that would later expand into the future of computer technology and I would take full advantage of that expanding my career even further.
At TRIUMF there was a bed and breakfast with single rooms on the second floor where we were more than welcomed to stay. I carried my suitcase upstairs and found my room to the left side. I was immediately transported back in time to the 1930’s as if in a time machine. The air smelled old and musty. I felt stifled and disinterested. The twin beds looked lonely making me feel lonelier. The box springs were rusty. Suddenly the thought of a tetanus shot was stoking my fears. The mattresses were exposed with a couple of old blankets and a pillow case. My time travel brought on a panic attack. Fortunately there was a telephone in the room you know the kind black and boxy. Unfortunately there were no cell phones in those days. I set down my suitcase and purse. I turned the light on the night stand and opened the top drawer ‘Thank the universe’ there was a phone book. I quickly thumbed through the pages to the hotel section for Vancouver, Canada. There it was, a Doubletree Hotel in the heart of Vancouver, I called now saved by the voice on the other end and made reservations immediately. Then I called for a cab to pick me up. I hadn’t worked so hard all these years for my education to let my first travel experience ruin what I had in mind. Besides we would be reimbursed for it.
I called collect waiting for Bob to pick up the line on the other end.
Whispering into the phone, I felt like a spy in Germany, sometime in the 1930s, “Bob it’s me.”
“Hi Hon, you got there safe. I’m glad.”
“Never mind that. You should see this place. It’s like walking into a time machine and going back to the 1930s. I can’t stay here; I’ll go stir crazy. It feels like a convent and I’m no nun.”
“Well, what are you going to do?” Bob asked.
“I already took care of it. I called a cab and I am going to stay at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown Vancouver.”
There was a pause for a moment … and another pause.
Although I had never stayed at a convent before as my memory serves me well, my aunt, ‘The Nun’, always talked about those experiences that sounded dreadfully boring and blah.
Bob knew there was no other way for me once I made up my mind. He wouldn’t dare try to discourage me. He would have stayed. But he’s him and certainly not me. The thought of cooking a meal in this very old and musty bed and breakfast took away all the excitement I wanted to experience. I was determined to have my first traveling experience go as planned, exactly the way I had anticipated it would be, with no exceptions.
I was just being “Me” which by now never surprised Bob. Perhaps some of the time I did and I continued throughout our marriage. There would be moments where I would astonish him. On one of our first disagreements, argument, tiff whatever you want to call it. While we were getting ready for bed, I stood up to turn off the light and said to Bob, “Well, what did you think? That we would live in bliss forever?” It seemed I was responding to the reality of life and not the fantasy we experienced when falling in love.
I needed to escape ‘the convent’ and eat a delicious meal ordered through room service in a real hotel room. I gathered my purse and suitcase and said “Adios Amigos” as I closed the door of that old musty relic of a room. When I went down the stairs I felt like Miss America looking at all my colleagues who looked very surprised.
I explained that I had made other arrangements for my accommodation and I would see them in the morning for our first meeting. Whilst they were all astonished. Ray, my supervisor, said,
“Of course, it was your prerogative to stay in a hotel.”
My only regret was not staying a few extra days to take in the sights; it was a missed opportunity.
My second destination was to visit the Berkeley Cyclotron. Again, there were a number of us who would have shared one rental car. I said to Ray, “This was a wonderful opportunity to drive down to San Francisco and have dinner by the shore ordering Oysters Rockefeller.” I knew Ray would understand since he was a connoisseur himself traveling to various countries and eating at the best places. My palate might not have been as savvy as his but I was considerably younger and I had that much more to look forward to. I wanted the experience and excitement to whisk me away to those faraway destinations and sumptuous meals.
Of course, I had an ulterior motive and I had intentions of shopping and driving around. I heard of Saks 5th Avenue and Neiman Marcus but had never set a Cinderella golden shoe on either of their red carpets. As I explained to Ray ‘To take in the sights’. “Oh, of course.” He responded.
When we arrived at the airport they went off to the Claremont. I started my own rental car took a quick view of the map and I was off to downtown San Francisco and Union Square. I opened two accounts one at Saks and the other at Neimans. I bought a beautiful coffee brown suit made of linen for three hundred and fifty dollars. I had never paid that kind of money for a suit and I often sewed, which I still do now. Afterwards, I ate a Shrimp Louie salad at a nearby restaurant; I was as happy as a clam in the San Francisco bay. But that was just the beginning of the real excitement to come.
After dinner and walking with my shopping bags in tow I got into the rental car and took out the trusty map. How could I leave San Francisco without taking a scenic drive up and down the beautiful streets of San Francisco? To this day, San Francisco is still one of the most beautiful cities in America. The city with its Victorian-Edwardian and Spanish Colonial pastel colored homes with blossoming flower beds and plenty of sunshine to Fisherman’s Wharf so near and dear to all it’s residents. I loved the architecture of the homes and the ambiance of the whole city. So I took a scenic drive and I was happy. Getting lost was the furthest thing from my mind until I found myself at the highest peak in suburban San Francisco. I pulled to the side and looked at the map. Then I threw the map to the back seat and I decided to trust my instincts. I finally managed to get myself from San Francisco to Oakland and there it was; the Claremont in all its beauty. It looked like a white castle within a green valley. Somewhere in the French Riviera or a British colony by the the ocean.
I was tickled pink in curls. The hotel was just as lovely inside. Suddenly, I felt like I was in England and my English accent took over from my days of conversations with Mr. Aaron Bond. My room was so quaint and lovely. I twirled and fell unto the bed with happiness. Then the phone rang, it was way past eleven pm. It was Bob, “Where have you been? I have been calling you. I’ve been really worried”. I explained to him my whole adventure and reminded him I can take care of myself. I felt bad that I had made him worry. If I had had a cell phone we could have talked the entire time I was at Saks and Neimans. I wore that coffee brown suit till the color was fading and it finally looked shabby. I landed up sorting that suit to the Salvation Army. I made the biggest mistake, I should have kept it taken it apart and have made a pattern to sew more of the exact same suit. One of the many things I had learned from my Mother; Janis. Whilst reflecting a dicho came to mind:
“Una mujer que se viste elegante es la mentalidad de sofisticacion.”
“A woman who dresses elegant is the mindset of sophistication.”
My career wasn’t going to last forever at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Two major things happened. First, I chose a new career path. Second, Nick was going to face the biggest challenge of his life. Now thinking of him reminding me of the song “And I Did It My Way” sung by Frank Sinatra. “Nick, certainly did do it his way.”
What happened to Nick was terrible and completely out of the blue. None of us could have seen this coming. I was at home when I listened to the message Janis had left telling me that Nick had collapsed at his office. They called an ambulance and he was on his way to the hospital. I showered quickly with a deep-seated feeling that this was going to be bad. I called Bob to let him know what had happened, instinctively knowing I would need him to be at my side. One thing to be learned from life is that sooner or later, with age one’s health is not a guarantee. Janis, Aaron, and I had recently faced the loss of close friends. One died of Cirrhosis of the liver, another to suicide, the other to cancer. Those three major deaths deeply affected our lives.
Nick had had a brain hemorrhage due to an aneurysm. Janis and Miguel were at the hospital when Bob and I arrived. The doctors had taken a CT scan and there was blood everywhere in his brain. They didn’t understand how he was continuing to live. But that didn’t surprise any of us; the family.
One of Bob’s first experiences with Nick and my brother Miguel was on a trip to go for wood. Nick invited Bob and Aaron to come along. Bob and Aaron took the Toyota King Cab and followed behind Nick and Miguel as they climbed a huge mountain. Suddenly, Nick and Miguel disappeared. At the top of the mountain, Bob put the Toyota into park and he and Aaron got out of the truck only to look down a huge drop off. Bob and Aaron knew it was bad and were worried. They looked at each other and convinced themselves that if Nick and Miguel had made it, they would too. After getting back into the Toyota Bob shifted down into first gear. The truck bounced up and down terribly, but they made it. It was a great relief to them all except for Nick, this didn’t faze him.
On a different occasion when Nick and Miguel had gone for wood, Nick had been drinking and rolled his Ford truck. They had landed right side up but all the wood was scattered everywhere. Nick said to Miguel,
“Well, let’s load up the wood so we can go home.”
The Ford’s roof had caved in on one side so Nick used the jack to push the truck’s roof back into place. Then he used Duct tape for a quick fix; for everything to stay in its place for as long as it would.
Janis, Miguel, Bob and I were looking at Nick in a hospital room. He didn’t appear to be any different apart from being a little disoriented. He seemed to be still strong and very coherent. The brain surgeon met with the four of us to discuss the circumstances. Dr. Feldmon explained that Nick was not out of the woods by any means. The aneurysm could burst again and that would be the end. Nick would die. They would need to drill a hole in his head to alleviate the pressure from the blood. Then they would have to stabilize him by putting him in an induced coma. Once he was stabilized Dr. Feldman proposed brain surgery where they would clip the aneurysm. He could possibly live or die during the operation.
Janis said “Of course, whatever you feel has to be done.” This time Janis was fighting for Nick’s life and I was supporting her in any way I could. My brother was in shock. I could always tell by his eyes. Aaron was probably sixteen and half and he didn’t understand the seriousness of Nick’s circumstances. He came twice to the hospital.
They drilled a hole and gave him phenobarbital to put him in a coma with tubes and vital sign devices connected to him everywhere.
The ICU was a very different environment. It was the worst cases for patients in the hospital. All the patients were connected through tubes and monitoring devices; giving them breath and time. Loved ones were always by their side. It wasn’t easy to face that every day and we would never forget this experience. We were stunned and shocked, while Nick was dangling with the hope of being resurrected.
I had never seen Nick so helpless. There was the imminent danger that he could die at any moment. I reacted in a way that shocked not only myself but also Janis, Miguel and Bob. Unexpectedly, the thought of losing him opened the gates of deep emotions and feelings I never realized I had for him. I was bursting like a tsunami. I began crying and that remained constant for days. It was unbelievable that my subconscious was carrying all those feelings for Nick. I couldn’t stop crying for him. Janis was worried. Miguel appeared to be scared.
After three long weeks Nick was stabilized and they were ready to perform the operation. Dr. Feldman and his team went in and they clipped the aneurysm and once again kept him in the coma for a period of time. Nick had passed the third hurdle to stay alive. Janis and I started doing a surprising thing. We laid our hands over his entire body, started meditating, praying for his healing. It was magical, he started improving very quickly and Nick came back. He had use of all his limbs and was talking normally.
What had to be the least dangerous procedure caused the biggest problem and that was an angiogram to confirm the clip was in place on the aneurysm. When Janis and I entered the recovery room, I noticed immediately that something was different. He couldn’t use his right arm and his short term memory seemed different. I knew then something was wrong, but when the doctors were told they brushed it aside. Eventually, they confirmed that Nick had stroked. He was almost there but never quite made it back to being the person he once was.
Six months of intense physical and cognitive therapy followed. His mind, his limbs, his walking, his short-term memory, everything that had been affected by the aneurysm and the stroke needed therapy. It was almost too much for Janis to bear the responsibility and she started losing weight. She was very scared because she realized that when it was Nick’s time to return home, she would be his primary care giver. He couldn’t drive and all his mathematical skills were affected, as well as his short term memory. Nick couldn’t relate or remember what he did within half of an hour. But his long term memory stayed intact, he recognized everyone from the past.
For a short while, after his release from the hospital, Janis and Nick stayed with Bob and I. But Janis knew she had to return home with Nick.
Everything changed. There was no more drinking, no more smoking, no more fishing, no more gardening, no more hunting, no more driving, no more cooking, no more fires. The upside was that his neurological capacity was rewired, therefore affecting his internal feelings. There was no sadness, depression or anger. There was no crying and no regrets; it was a blessing for him. Yet he was very childlike to some degree. It was a brand new Nick; the old Nick was gone.
Over the years his health declined, deteriorating to the extreme where he became bed ridden and he is now in hospice needing a lot of care. He was in ICU numerous times for a number of health reasons. Janis worked tirelessly with him twenty-four, seven with a few breaks in between but no rest and relaxation for her. It became her life’s mission to keep him alive. It was sad and difficult because she couldn’t have a conversation with Nick due to his short term memory loss. It was similar to dealing with someone who has dementia. But he was still able to read although not as fast and he could still draw. Neither the aneurysm nor the stroke killed his craving for beer, liquor and nicotine. He was taking several medications to keep him stabilized and to help him sleep. Janis would never buy him alcohol and cigarettes. The drinking had finally stopped and not by his own volition.
Before Nick’s aneurysm and stroke I had started recalling some of the abuse. The realization was that I didn’t have a mother or a father I could depend on for support. If I had said anything to them, they would have judged me harshly and then ignored me.
I had difficulty sleeping. I had insomnia for days. I couldn’t relax, shut down; my mind was running with a thousand thoughts per minute. It turned into a chronic problem. There were days where I didn’t sleep at all. Needless to say without sleep, I couldn’t function. I began shutting down in every aspect of my life.
At one time, it got so bad that Bob said, “Let’s get away to a different environment”. He’s hope that maybe a different place could induce the relaxation and sleep that I so desperately needed. We decided to take a drive to Colorado. I came out with the ironing board for Bob to pack in the car and he managed to find room for it. We checked into a Marriott in Denver and I was finally able to sleep. Bob carried the ironing board on the elevator. What man would do that for his wife?
We started to have problems in our marriage because I was finally recalling almost all the abuse. I was spiraling down into depression. It wouldn’t last long but it was there, a black veil of tumultuous confusion, an identity crisis. I started questioning myself and began to feel deeply alone. Nothing brought me joy. I started writing about all of this, my circumstances and it pained me to know that I wasn’t coping well at all.
I began to resent everything. I became especially difficult, even with Bob. Bob had a temper that would scare the daylights out of anybody, but not me. His temper only fueled mine and then we began to lose respect for each other and not trust each other. I didn’t like some of the things Bob had done. I was comparing him to Nick and Bob’s father. This only drove my independence more to push him away from me. I felt detached. Life is so precious and there is only a finite amount of time each person has to live. And that was the problem, I felt I was just existing and not living. I couldn’t love myself and therefore I failed Bob and Aaron in a big way. I became immersed in all the past coming forward and was unable to understand that there were options to help myself. I muddled along until finally, little by little, I started to feel more like myself again.
At that difficult time Bob and I failed to understand the preciousness, compatibility, and the gift that we had in each other. That would come much later in our lives. I buried my feelings again to continue with the next chapters of our lives. Bob, Aaron, and I.
New things would take place in our lives and we would all find a way to get back our stability, strength, and continue with life. I was now going to take a greater step into my career and life.
Continue the story with What remains to be said
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