wine to ease the pain
a cup of water
How do you feel when your wife is dying, is a legitimate question.
How did I feel, when I was lying with my wife in bed, and what was she feeling.
What was Jesus feeling when he was dying, remembering that he was a man like us, like me.
When the man Jesus hung on the cross, he was thirsty. He made his need at that time known by asking for water, which was given to him and he drank.
Life goes on, even when you're dying.
I was feeling what every healthy man feels who lives and lay next to a woman, he feels passionate, which is (look it up in a good thesaurus) the same as being horny.
And how did Anne feel, I can say this without hesitation, she felt the same.
We gave up sex when Anne asked me to stop, because it interfered with her well-being, she told me, so we stopped, which was about a half year before before she passed away, and I have had no sex relationship with a woman since.
How I feel about that?
Right now I hear the Celtic Women singing in the background and I am crying, they are so beautiful, but I don't see their beauty, I only hear their voices, singing as only angels sing.
Let me rephrase that, like only Celtic women sing, hauntingly beautiful, touching my innermost. I have never heard angels sing, therefore its not fair to compare.
I was thinking about Anne, would she be singing like that in heaven.
One time one of our ministers came over for a visit, toward the end of her life, and knowing what an ordeal it was for Anne to sit the whole day in a chair he said
“Anne, it will be so much better for you to be in heaven than to sit in this chair,” and Anne asked “Why?”
“Because you will be singing twenty-four hours every day,” Anne answered
“I was afraid of that,” and seeing a surprised question mark on the man's face, she said
“I don't like singing.” That was the last visit by him. Too bad, for he was a good man and meant well, I am sure, but Anne was powerfully honest, specially at the end.
Both Anne and I felt as we did feel before we were aware of Anne having ALS, we had our good days and our bad days, only difference was that there were now more good days than bad ones, simply because I tried harder and had learned to listen to my wife.
How Anne felt about it?
She felt good about our decision since it was her request. I used this example because we never think that older people may have a need about sex, and we are too squeamish to talk about what is, after all, a great part of adult life.
Anne was the only one to answer how she did really feel of course but since she never mentioned it I don't know, but she must have struggled with as much as as I did.
I got my strength of sacrificing my normal sexual activity by thinking that my wife would benefit by it and that she would appreciate my effort and I think she did.
To know that Anne gave up the same pleasure made me strong enough to carry it through.
We definitely did miss fun and merriment but humor made up for it as did a show of tenderness, and we did realize a lot of misery because of Anne's failing and had to adapt ourselves many times to new situations, but always found a solution, and never gave up our sense of contentment. Not ever? Not ever. The misery never won of the contentment.
A neighbor and his wife asked if they could come over for a short visit, if that was alright with Anne, who told me let them come.
I wanted Anne's approval because another situation had come up.
We received a special designed wheelchair with an opening on the seat corresponding to the opening of a toilet, from the ALS society, for which we were very thankful.
When Anne had to use the bathroom I would drive the toilet-wheelchair over the toilet which fit perfectly, she was sitting only a little higher than normal.
The problem was that I had a hard time to get her her underwear off, while she was sitting on the lounging-chair as well as on the wheelchair, so Anne decided from thereon to go without.
“Women don't wear underwear in hospitals,” she knew from her times of having a baby.
However that decision created another one, which had to do with the coffee call of the neighbors and Anne was still a little anxious.
“What if my skirt lifts.”
“There is no wind in the living room Anne.”
“But I feel that he looks at me, you know.”
“So do I.”
We had fun about that the entire evening but it showed us clearly the unrelenting progression of the killer illness ALS and the misery keeping up with it.
One time visitors from The USA showed up, the wife of Anne's cousin Ben, who was living straight across the border from us in Sumas Wash., where they had a dairy farm.
We had so many great memories visiting them when the whole Maarhuis family came together to celebrate new year or any other event.
She came together with her daughter, who was then a professor and is now a doctor on a university. This daughter was the one who helped me on the way of writing stories.
Well, this time she taught me again though it had nothing to do with writing, she taught me a system to move Anne from the lounge-chair onto the new toilet-wheelchair.
“You are lucky that you're not any taller than you are.” She said looking me over like a farmer does a cow he wants to purchase.
“I guess you will do.”
“Now here is what we will do. I am sitting on the chesterfield and you are picking me up and put me on the wheelchair. How are you going to do that?”
“I pick you up and put you on the wheelchair “
Three women were intently following the proceeding, two of whom I wished far away – the mother of the professor and my wife, still the next step was up to me and everyone knows there are only certain ways to pick up a woman from a chesterfield but which one?
I started to sweat, how should I?… pull her by the arms?... I was sweating. Yes Durk, she is a beauty, and I am only a man. (Durk is one of my brothers, who knows more about women than I do)
My professor teacher, bless her, bless her, bless her, took the initiative.
“OK, you sit down and I pull you up. Put your arms around my neck.” I did what I was told.
“Now I put my arms around your middle, like this, see that I have my knees bend?” I sure did.
“Now I straighten my legs, see, hold tight you're going for a ride.” She lifted me straight up, held me up for a few seconds before she put me down again on the chesterfield. Amazing.
“If you would've been much taller you likely would damage your back,” she said.
I tried it on Anne and it worked splendidly and that was for the rest of Anne's life our exercise and - our pleasure.
“We should have done this maneuver a long time ago,” said Anne. We did this action, which we named 'the Maarhuis maneuver' approximately eighteen times a day which took us as close together as was physiccally possible, very pleasantly, right up to Anne's death.
Thank you doctor.