Don’t worry, this post is barely rated PG.  A prior post was rated PG-45.  That was to make clear to our children that it might contain too much information about their parents love life.  Since I am a Pastor, we, of course, had our children by virgin birth.

Before talking about how touch has impacted Mary Ann and me in recent history, today was in some ways a continuation of yesterday.  Her blood pressure was 180/100 first thing this morning.  There is no way I would consider giving her medicine to raise her blood pressure given that reading.  Even with BP that high, there was a little fainting in the morning.

Volunteer Edie spent the morning with Mary Ann.  There were no problems with fainting.  After lunch the challenging intestinal activity resumed for a while, except for the fainting.  That task is more manageable when there is no fainting.  I am longing for the resumption of more normal regularity, demanding less assistance.

One of the unexpected benefits of Mary Ann’s illness is that it demands more touching.  I grew up in a non-touching family.   I was well into my thirties before I greeted Mom with a hug when visiting.  Before that it was hi to Mom and a handshake for Dad.  Gratefully, through a variety of circumstances that changed, especially with our children.

When a marriage has caregiving added to the relationship of husband and wife, there is an intimacy that grows of necessity.  I am holding Mary Ann many times a day.  My arms are around her to move her, lift her, shift her, dress her.  Prior to the addition of the caregiving, we were not very demonstrative and openly affectionate.  Now, I often linger with a hug when doing one of the tasks that requires putting my arms around her.

I have little doubt that there is an intimacy in our relationship now that we might never have experienced without the needs brought by the Parkinson’s and the complications that have come along with it.  Of course, neither of us would have chosen this way to add intimacy to our relationship.  It is sort of like finding a pearl in a pile of poop. (Am I not poetic!)

Last night and this morning were helpful times for me Spiritually.  With the complexities of Mary Ann’s personal needs, her napping, the vagaries of the blood pressure and dementia, we have not gotten to church very often.  Private devotional time does not substitute for corporate worship which provides community and an encounter with the core message coming from every direction.  Time alone with tools that help focus one’s heart and mind on the presence of God is an important mechanism for Spiritual growth.

Last night, the computer provided access to music that became a means through which the message of God’s unconditional love washed over me.  There was some Taizé music.  The there was a group named Anuna (sang in Riverdance).  Much of their music is ancient church liturgical music.  I played again the CD that includes “The Deer’s Cry,” which is an arrangement of the St. Patrick’s Breastplate prayer with which he began each day.  During the time I was listenting to the CD, I turned the lights in the house off, except for a votive candle on the mantle in front of a small iron Celtic Cross, casting a shadow on the wall.  Those are helpful times that allow my spirit to settle.  It was a help after the difficult day yesterday.

This morning at the lake, I listened to more of Anuna and some more Taizé music.  There was a passage from Jeremiah (29:11-14) and a couple of Psalms (100 and 101) that provided some grounding for the morning’s music and nature watching.  There were only a few birds, but the sounds of frogs and little critters of one sort or another filled the air as I walked along a marsh area (reminiscent of my childhood days playing at the swamp).

This afternoon, I had a little time during one of Mary Ann’s naps to sit out on the deck for the first time since the remodeling began a few weeks ago.  The signs of spring are slowly coming into view.  We do not have a secluded cabin in the woods, but as the leaves come out and the greenery flourishes, the little space at the back of our home will provide some of the nurturing environment I need to stay whole in a very fragmented and disjointed world in which I have very little say about what goes on.

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