The Recovering Farmer

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

On Being Married

I ventured out this morning to buy a newspaper. Don’t often do that but occasionally I like to read the news from start to finish. Normally I check the internet for headlines and then move on with life. Today is different. Although I need to do some office work it has been awhile since things were quiet around here. First the grandkids were here for a week, and I could write a number of stories about that, then work took me away from the office every day. So here I am.

One of the first headlines I read was one regarding that tragic airline crash where the co-pilot allegedly crashed the plane intentionally. Since day one that story has intrigued me. The circumstances behind that boggle the mind. As much as I have some experience with anxiety and depression and various thoughts on how to end life I cannot imagine taking control of an airliner and running it into a mountainside. It defies logic.

The story that caught my eye this morning was from an event held by Turkish Airlines. Apparently the CEO of Turkish Airlines told their new pilots that it would be best if they were married. Okay? Nothing against marriage but why would he say that? He feels that people with spouses are more stable. Interesting, to say the least. So if this particular fellow had been married the tragedy would not have happened?

My first inclination was to laugh off such a weird conclusion to a tragic event. But it got me thinking. I thought back to an Alan Jackson song. Please don’t hold that against me. I don’t particularly care for his music or his style of music. I can nasal my way through a lot of songs but it does nothing for me. However, I do recall a song he produced many years ago. Don’t recall the title, don’t recall the music. I recall one sentence and it went like this. “She is all I’ve got between the devil and me”.

I often wondered about this whole relationship concept, who helps who, who really is strongest. Then this morning I read a post from my brother who, and I would suggest his wife would say, finally admitted to the fact that through the years his wife had been right about so many things. I sensed in his writing that he could have come to this conclusion a little sooner. But I really don’t want to go there. That is his issue to deal with.

I thought back to the many challenges I have had in life and realize that my wife, my partner has kept me sane. Has kept me from the metaphorical crashing the plane into the mountain. Sometimes I have fought against her ideas. Sometimes I have even been right. I remember in 1997 when we were talking about. . . . oh never mind. She has been an incredible encouragement in my journey.

So instead of running the risk of having a whole bunch of husbands jumping down my throat let me expound on what I just said. The news article got me thinking about this. When I look around at some of my friends I think it is true. When I look in the mirror I know it is true. However I must be very clear on something. Relationships help all of us. Whether we are a wife, a husband, a partner, a friend. Whether male or female. Relationships provide us with the energy to face challenges in life. Never forget that. Never under estimate that. Work on relationships. It will be worth it. Make it a good one.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

I Wanna Live

Been singing the song from our friend Mr. Young. Not going to recite the lyrics here but they are easily accessible.

As an aside I need to brag about one small point. For years, in my farm debt mediation work, I have been involved with Neil Young’s relative. Really. Then again, how many Youngs’ are there in Manitoba, never mind Cypress River.

This all has nothing to do with what I am about to say. In the past I have alluded to various challenges I have had particularly this last winter. It always seemed that my outlook on life was jaded by real life stories. And it felt like each time I got over one, or got some positive news, or more work, something bad would happen.

This week was no different. Monday night as I was just drifting off into what I was sure was going to be a minimum 3 hour sleep the phone rang. Fortunately the phone is on my wife’s side of the bed so I did the big fake sleep thing. Probably even faked a snore. When she hung up she was rather surprised that I asked who that was. She told me it was my oldest brother.

I left it at that and tried my best to have a decent night. Didn’t happen. You get a certain sense about things. He would not normally call me on my home number at that time of day. Him calling me that way left me with a chilling thought. Something was wrong. I thought back to our last conversations and recalled he had mentioned an issue he had that he needed to take painkillers for. I suspect if I had gone to my computer I could have written the script. Those thoughts haunted me all night.

I called him first thing in the morning, although I had to figure out the time difference between here and Saskatchewan and that in itself is a problem. Leaving that one till next time. As soon as he answered I knew my worst thoughts during the night had been right. He had gone through that infamous test that most of us try to joke about, but fail miserably, and the picture (no pun intended) was not good. The dreaded C word. The same issue that took our father many years ago. Not sure that matters. The C word brings about all kinds of thoughts, pictures we have seen, friends and family we have lost. To say it haunts me is an understatement.

It took a while before I had the emotional fortitude to call him again. I was amazed at his positive outlook on life. He felt he had been given a clear message. He realized life was not forever. That might mean a week, a year, 10 years, even a longer term where you wonder whether the first death might have been the best one. He said he had come to the realization that what he wanted, while his life allowed, was to, and I will quote him here; “I want to live, I want to love, and I want to write.”

I could relate more stories of how his own family is taken aback by his new approach. For me it has been interesting. When I spend my wakeful hours during the night thinking, I normally experience significant anxiety. Since my conversation with my brother I wake up and instantly say these words. “I want to live, I want to love and I want to write.” It has helped me. Looking forward to the challenges these words present. Looking forward to implementing those thoughts and words in my own life. Perhaps we can talk about this in the future. But most of all I send all positive energy to my brother. He will need it as he faces this challenge in his life. Make it a good one.