What I Learn From Marty


Waco, Texas,
March 30
I am the chief caregiver for Marty, my wife of 30+ years. In our previous lives Marty was an Educational Psychologist, I was a call center manager. Marty has had two strokes since 2005 which have caused critical physical and cognitive deficits. We are both in our mid-50's and have two adult children. I would never confuse myself with a professional writer, I do this to document our journey and as an act of self discovery. This is what I have learned over the last years, this is our life.


AUGUST 5, 2012 5:38PM

Spilled Anger

The Gator Aid bottle hit the left wheel of her wheel chair, spun around, hit the floor and rolled, depositing tiny drops of Gator Aid from the almost empty bottle on our wood floor.  I was irritated.

About an hour later she dropped the almost empty Diet Coke bottle she… Read full post »

JULY 28, 2012 6:04PM

Trite and True

It’s trite, it feels kind of trite.  I find I am often attracted to trite because trite makes the world a cleaner place.  “Stop and smell the roses”, “Live like you are dying”, “Be present in the moment”, all point to what I want to say, they all da… Read full post »

JULY 5, 2012 12:36PM

Emotions Come Up

I haven’t seen Marty shed a tear in seven years and brother; she has had many reasons to cry.  I haven’t seen Marty purse her lips, rub her chin and narrow her gaze with anger since the strokes.  Her emotions are tamped down, the fire that once burned is subdued.… Read full post »

JUNE 29, 2012 3:12PM

The Mother of Marty

Marty’s mother is 500 miles away and physically deteriorating.  She is 86 years old and spent Marty’s stroke years in a nursing home in her home town of Dalhart, a long way from anywhere, a long drive from everywhere.  We need to go because I think she is coming to the… Read full post »

JUNE 15, 2012 3:29PM

A Prayer for Marty

Before the strokes Marty had an active prayer life.  We talked about it, she talked about it, she wondered about it out loud, we talked about why she prayed, what it did for her.  She always felt that somehow prayer helped center her and helped her understand the life she experienced. Read full post »

JUNE 4, 2012 6:12PM

An Immoral Dilemma

It crosses my mind.  Occasionally I think about it, maybe too much, maybe too often.  Then I feel guilty.

It hasn’t happened, in the years since the strokes, it hasn’t even been close, it’s just there, too much, too often.

It’s not like I am a paragon of… Read full post »

MAY 23, 2012 6:26PM

We Are Weird

We are a walking, talking, living anomaly when compared to the walking, talking, living outside world.  Inside our home, inside our family, the way we live, the things we do, our routine and rhythm are normal.  From the perspective of the outside world, from my own perspective circa 2004, n… Read full post »

MAY 18, 2012 6:26PM

Breasts of Vegas

Las Vegas…..Thursday night a couple of weeks ago….blackjack….I’m ahead…it’s a miracle.

I’m sitting on the right hand of the table watching the dealer.  She’s a lovely twenty something brunette with long smooth hair and dark eyes.  Her shi… Read full post »

MAY 8, 2012 9:19PM

The Fountains of Bellagio

She stood in front of me leaning against the smooth, finally finished concrete rail.  Her left elbow rested on the curved rail, a cigarette in her right hand held between her middle and index fingers, the smoke drifting and billowing up in the wind.

The music drifted through the Las… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
APRIL 26, 2012 5:53PM

Fading Memories

Memories erode and fade with time.  Like water and wind over the earth, time shapes memories and removes pieces of what once was.  Memories change and fade with time and become nothing but blurry pictures of what was. 

Marty’s first stroke was seven years ago and slowly, but no… Read full post »

APRIL 11, 2012 5:39PM

Cheating Death

Just north of Waco a woman from Iowa was killed.  She was driving down I-35, a crowded, fast, bone-crushing interstate connecting all of North America.  She was driving north when a tire flew out of the bed of a south bound pick-up flew and through the windshield of her car and… Read full post »

APRIL 6, 2012 5:34PM

Singing a Song

The living room was empty, quiet.  I walked through and heard a soft song, barely audible coming from behind a closed bedroom door just off the living room.  I stood at the door and listened quietly, I heard this gentle, sweet singing, “I’ve been working on the railroad….… Read full post »

APRIL 2, 2012 2:09PM

Choosing Paths

I’m not a “road less travelled” kind of guy; in fact I kind of steer clear of that road, too many weeds, cracks in the pavement and just general sweat.  I’ve always been prone to find the path of least resistance.

I learned early on the power of saying, “I… Read full post »

MARCH 24, 2012 5:10PM

"You Got Me?"

I’m on her right, my right arm under her right arm, my left holding the back of her pants; she looks at me and says, “You got me?”  I nod.  She turns her head to her left, looks at Erica, her caregiver who has one arm under Marty’s and one arm… Read full post »

MARCH 21, 2012 5:30PM

If Your Happy and You Know It

Snoopy, the oracle Beagle of Peanuts fame, dancing, feet pulsating, moving rapidly, nose stretched to the heavens shows it.  Brandy Chastain, running, arms held high, hands gripping her jersey she just ripped off, unabashedly celebrating victory in a way where everyone recognizes the sheer joy o… Read full post »

MARCH 9, 2012 6:53PM

Around the Barriers

Curtains, doors, fences, thoughts, fears, ideas, there is always some kind of barricade, some barrier keeping us from accepting, keeping us from embracing, keeping us from understanding what we don’t understand.  Marty’s life, our life, has slowly become about conquering barriers, ph… Read full post »

MARCH 5, 2012 5:55PM

Pieces of Marty

It is real, it is fact, death comes, slowly, quickly, whole or by piece, death is a part of us.  Some of us go quickly, unexpectedly, without notice or care.  Some leave, some die a little piece at a time as we watch what once was become so very different.… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 28, 2012 4:55PM

Routinely Broken

It says something about your life’s circumstances when you consider a hospital stay routine.  Two years ago Marty went to the hospital for what was, to us, a fairly routine visit to get a dose of IV antibiotics for a urinary tract infection.  Routine, maybe not so much.

We checked… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 24, 2012 5:48PM

It Works Better with Two

“There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain”

John Lennon

I went to church the other day, alone.   I don’t like going alone; there are places where alone doesn’t work very well for me,/… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 16, 2012 11:43PM


I started writing this blog about three years ago.  The premise was simple, I wanted to keep Marty’s friends and family apprised of her life and our journey.  But, being something of a political junkie, radical moderate and uber-user of the medical community I wanted to inflict my pol… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 14, 2012 6:14PM

Is the Turtle Dead?

Marty and I are miles from where we started.  Her progress, her improvement from the early days of the strokes is really amazing given our starting point. 

When is enough, enough?  When have things progressed as far as they can go, when do you arrive at “as good as… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 31, 2012 5:26PM

Marriage and Evolution

I met her in October of 1973 at Susie’s birthday party.  It was a college birthday party with good, like-minded friends, you get the picture.  She was going out with a friend of mine who was studying architecture, I was a free agent and we eventually found each other.

MarGinGrad76 … Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 19, 2012 8:23PM

Locked Up

There is a very rare phenomenon known as anesthesia awareness, where under general anesthesia, during surgery, some patients wake up during the surgery and are aware of what is happening but because of the anesthesia can’t say anything to alert the medical staff that they are awake and aware.&nRead full post »

I remember sitting in the waiting area of our new temporary home, St. Catherine Center, a sub-acute care center in Waco.  It was adjacent to the hospital we had just left and was king of a way station for people too sick to go home, but not acute enough to be… Read full post »

JANUARY 6, 2012 5:53PM

A Revelation -- My Unbelief

I play at golf.  I have no faith in my game.  I hit the ball all over the place and when I address the ball I never know if the good Larry or the evil Larry is going to hit the ball.  Lately, my golf game is kind of a metaphor… Read full post »