Category Archives: FIRST PERSON

COMFORT

My greatest comfort is my God-given sense of humor. God made me a happy-go-lucky fellow who loves to work. Always cheerful, always joking. Some of the ladies at the packing plant get ticked, I will admit, because of my humor. But like I told the boss, I only tease the ones who show up five minutes late. The ones on time, I just welcome to work. But the stragglers have to take a hit. It’s my way of helping the boss remind the workers that five minutes early is a lot better than five minutes late, haha!

Yesterday a newlywed gal came rushing in five minutes late and I called across the packing plant, “What’s the matter, hon? Did you have trouble this morning because the bedsheets were stuck to you?” Well, they all know me, so she just waved me off and kept on running to her station. I am 82 years old so they take me with a grain of salt. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I told them.

My greatest pleasure in life is working. It has been the light of my life, the best thing I have known. The worst thing about this cancer is that they tell me I can’t work any more, that I won’t be able to go back. Work is all I’ve known. It’s what I was born for, and it’s what I enjoy. It’s like if you told my wife she was not allowed to spend any time with her grandkids. She would go crazy. Now she’s saying just take it easy. Stay home. Visit with your family. Yes, I love them. Of course I do. But I’m used to the pace and the flow of the packing plant. I’ve been there for 40 years, since I hurt my leg in a fall off a ladder and came in from the fields, you know what I mean? I was born to work. And I want to work.

Now the doctors are showing me these images and studies and saying the cancer is pretty much all over. Cannot be operated. No use with chemo. Nodules and lesions and what have you, all over the lungs and kidneys and wherever else. They talk about comfort measures. I told them, my only comfort is work. Just send me back to work. I don’t care how much I get paid. I can work for free. If I can’t work, I can’t relax. But they said no go. My working days are over. Well, I might have to get some chickens then just so I have something to do. Because I’ve gotta stay out of the wife’s hair somehow. She isn’t gonna want to see me moping around the house day and night. I mostly worked with women so I’m used to the hens, haha.

I wish some of my pals from work would come over and cheer me up, but the hours are long and they go home tired. I wouldn’t care if they teased me. I wouldn’t care if they joked around until I laughed so hard I almost cried. I wouldn’t care if they teased me kinda rough, you know, like you do when you really care about somebody. When you trust each other like siblings. The people at the packing plant, you know, they’ve gotten to be like family. I’m gonna miss them a lot. I wonder who they’ll have to roll their eyeballs at now. Probably nobody. I wonder if they’ll miss me. Because I’m sure gonna miss them, even the grumpy ones. To my dying day.

HOLE IN THE HEART

See, I have a hole in my heart, and God put it there for a reason. I don’t know the reason, but I was born with it. The doctors say it happens sometimes. And if you live way out in a remote area, like I did, no one finds out. You are just puny and weak and that’s just how you are, and nobody thinks about why or about trying to change it.

The doctor for my pregnancy told me that a whole bunch of women, especially from other countries but even from here, first find out they have a hole in their heart while they are pregnant. Because you have to make so much more blood and you are pumping blood into the baby and your heart suddenly gets too tired to do it, and then they do these studies and they see the hole.

So before I knew I was pregnant, I found out my husband was seeing a woman who works with us in the fields. My friends told me, and I confronted him. At first, he denied it, and then he got very angry and defensive. He started yelling at me, instead of taking any responsibility for what he had done. He even blamed ME for HIS cheating! He told me that I was unlovable and that it was my fault he cheated. He really did that.

At the moment of hearing those words, and seeing the disdain in his face, my eyes were opened, and I saw that there was something wrong with his heart. He was not loving. He was not true. He was sick somehow and not able to love like a real grownup. So I told him to move out. And he did. I was sad for a few weeks, thinking how unfair it was. Then I noticed I hadn’t had – you know – since he left. And I found out I was pregnant. So he left me something good.

They are going to monitor me very closely during the pregnancy to make sure my heart is handling the extra work, and they plan to repair the heart once the baby is born. Isn’t life strange? I found out about both of us having a hole in our hearts during this pregnancy. God put the hole in my heart, and God is making it possible to fix it. My husband told me I am unlovable, but I know that is not true, because God loves me.

I believe that the hole in my husband’s heart was placed there by the devil, not by God, and it is the devil who’s keeping it open, because my husband chooses sin over purity. I think his heart leaks and that is why his love runs out. And I don’t know who can fix it, unless he turns to God, which I don’t think he will. I wish he would, because he is still my child’s natural father. And it would be nice if we could respect him.

Some of my friends told me I should try to get him back, for the baby’s sake, but I told them no. No room in my heart for a cheater and a liar. Compassion, yes, forgiveness, yes, but love and respect – no. God can love him. I cannot. And maybe once my heart is fixed, God will put someone on my path who is more worthy of my love. This is my hope and my prayer.

DISDAIN

When love turns to disdain, there is truly nothing left.  Some men don’t seem to understand this.  Mine thought he could hide things from me, but even if I didn’t see his phone or his mail, I saw his heart.  I saw his expressions.  I saw his shame.   And I could see he was hiding things, and the more he hid, the more he got mad at me.  So transparent!  Like a child surprised when Mommy sees what he is up to.  Thinking he is so clever and sneaky.

He thought when I confronted him about his odd behavior, if he just yelled at me that I was crazy, jealous, making things up, that I would fall for it.  But I know him.  And I trust my judgment.  And he isn’t going to convince me that I am crazy.  A woman knows.  A woman knows.  I am not crazy.

So finally this woman shows up at the ranch, looking for him.  And before she can say much at all, he is yelling in her face, calling her all kinds of things, terrible things.  Kicking her off the ranch, not letting her stay and wait for the evening bus, making her walk for miles to get to the next town, while he is on his knees trying to hug me around the waist, and begging me to forgive him.   No.  No.

Like seeing him treat someone else bad will make me feel better about his betrayal.  Doesn’t he know me?  Didn’t he ever?   Like saying he is sorry is going to change one thing.  Or seeing that poor woman with her little plastic bag of her belongings, walking away on that dirt road.  Thinking she could trust him, like I did.  No.  No.

It is seven years later, and our kids are grown.  We are grandparents now.  And still he calls me, wants to come over.  Even now, when I am here in the US with my daughter.  Let’s try again, he says.  I made a mistake, he tells me.  But no.  When love turns to disdain, there is nothing left.  Truly.  I could not go back to him to save my life.  And I told him so.   Apple cider can turn to vinegar, I told him, but it will never turn back.  It will never turn back.