“Are you crazy? How could you leave the garage door opener in my unlocked truck
in the driveway?” This, after not hearing from him for five months and twenty-six days. She shook her head; suddenly realizing the depth of her mistake, trying desperately to wake up from this nightmare… oh, but he wasn’t finished… “Where’s the security system since Jack can’t hear much any more? Haven’t you even thought about getting another dog?” The unrelenting questions, tinged by the constant barrage of judgement; just as if he’d never left…. Where did he get off asking these questions and judging her actions after he’d basically abandoned her? Months gone without a word… She’d agonized over the loss of his physical presence, the depth of their conversations, his long standing guidance and counterpoint and the feel of his embrace so acutely… and now for him to finally reappear after so much time only to criticize and mock her; felt overly cruel and uncalled for. After all, he’d promised to always be there for her…
Once upon a time they’d been so happy. A dream come true for both Tina & Popeye. They met on Halloween under a star studded sky lit by a full moon; compelled by their infectious wit, they embraced the chance encounter by throwing caution to the wind to pursue a life together. Courting sparked a relationship founded on friendship, humor, trust and fun and a whole lot of hope… days of joyful play mingled with meaningful conversation, music and intimacy… a joining of two hearts
formed a union with deep love and respect for who they were and who they would become. They both had survived other relationships and used their experience to build and shape and infuse this new ‘thing’ they’d made. Encouraging each other’s moves to new careers, supporting each other through the loss of dear ones and evolving circumstances, ultimately, they would discover their true selves. Popeye was always urging Tina to fly her wings, take the leap and then, return to earth. Tina was Popeye’s infection, spurring him on to design and build a home, release the artist within and be his advocate when he needed back up to push forward. As one, they faced, traveled and edited their world. Hope their constant companion.
The years seemed to speed by until Popeye slowly felt a drag in his step. Intermittent episodes of unidentified symptoms began to shape his world and adjust his attitude. Something just wasn’t right. Many tests with adverse results and the verdict was heard as a new victim emerged… Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia had wreaked havoc on his body. Drastic measures were required to combat this dis-ease. Hospitals were their new domain and doctors, fellows, physician assistants and nurses, their new friends… if they were lucky and oh, how they counted on luck, these new friends would be his savior.
How to survive when faced with a devastating illness? Popeye learned the value of each and every day. Carpe diem their slogan; he seized the day. Tina, the sea and their faithful dog, Jack shaped his journey. They learned the depth of their courage in the fight for his life. Four years as prisoners of the disease, many episodes of victory and sheer horror later; Popeye lost the fight. Tina lost her center and her way for many months. Her whole purpose collapsed and hope vanished. Who was Tina now without Popeye? Her life was so different without her ‘rock’. Why hadn’t he visited in her dreams? Hmmmm she really wasn’t dreaming…. Grief had overtaken her existence. A nightly sleeping pill had allowed her to escape to peace and rest. Until finally, many months later, Tina was ready to surrender….minus the sleeping pills, the clouds began to disappear. The relentless waves of grief crested when Popeye spoke to her in her dreams. Armed with his practical advice and a push forward, she had found hope once again. Tina was going to live ….
Just finished and submitted... I can feel again....