I celebrated Memorial Day twice: over the 3 day week-end and on May 30 since that is the traditional Memorial Day. May 30, 1868 was the first time Americans observed Memorial Day commemorating lives lost during the Civil War. General John Logan, the Commander in Chief of the Union Army veterans’, chose the date because it didn’t mark the anniversary of any particular battle. It didn’t get to be a 3 day holiday until the late 60’s.
In our family we also celebrated our Dad’s birthday on May 30. Our dad was in his 40’s before he had children. I never saw the young David except in pictures; he was balding and had grey in his hair by the time I came along. He was an athlete in his youth, a natural.
When I was showing my 6 year old grand-daughter how to swing a bat, I could hear Daddy’s voice. (Keep your hips loose. Eyes on the ball. Elbows out. Eyes on the BALL, Margaret!) I can thank him because I know how to swim, swing a baseball bat and a golf club, punt and throw a ball. Not that I’m good at any of those things. Except swimming. I love swimming.
Bob and I spent the 3 day week-end as nutty buddies. He went to the doctor’s office on Friday because he had bronchitis bad enough that sleep was impossible. He couldn’t breathe unless he was sitting up. On Saturday, the doctor’s office called to say that the chest x-ray showed some “anomalies.” (Like what?) (Oh, just some shadows. We want to do some blood work and a CT scan.)
Nobody said lung cancer. They didn’t have to. I lost my husband to lung cancer; Bob lost his dad. We needed no pulleys or ropes to fly to that diagnosis. Bob and I cried, terrified that a medical slalom loomed in our lives. Bob didn’t want to say anything to his mom, siblings, or kids. We really didn’t know anything. The imagined anything was scaring us; no need to share that bit of un-knowledge.
Bob’s grand-daughter spent Friday night with us. Her snuffly breathing woke me so I went for the bulb syringe that Bob had left on the coffee table. It was in 43 blue rubber shreds on the floor where Halo Hound had left it after checking its chew toy performance. Bob wasn’t sleeping anyway and he made a 3 a.m. run to Walmart so the g-baby could breathe again.
In the early morning while I held the baby and listened to Bob’s breathing, I came to the realization that all is well. All is well. I’d harangued God enough and recognized that my prayers were well defined requisitions and more about what I want and I need, MY comfort and MY desires.
I do not believe that prayer changes anything except my attitude. Prayer brings me relief by way of the acceptance and the assurance that God’s got things covered.
Sometime around 5:00 a.m., I had a change in my gloomy perspective which made all the difference in the rest of our holiday weekend. We fished for a bit which, in itself, is the best response to “What do you want to do now?” Didn’t catch any keepers but enjoyed the water and the sunshine.
When Bob had the CT scan on Wednesday, the “all clear” phone call from the doctor’s office a few hours later was almost anti-climactic. I felt like we’d followed Daddy’s batting advice: stay loose, eye on the ball, be ready for a change up, elbows up, put your shoulder into the swing, and swing hard. We were ready for anything and able to make a double off a bunt.