My Deer, My Friends
Very rarely in life do you get to witness another person’s every action, every thought, every desire and come away feeling lucky to have been around them.
I have had the privilege of witnessing my wife, BettyJane, up close for the last thirty-plus years.
Under every scenario.
The good, the bad.
For richer, for poorer.
In sickness and in health.
She is truly a good person.
A great person.
The best person I have ever known on this earth.
I can truly say that.
She has handled every aspect of life with grace.
But at this point in our life, I’m worried about her though.
It pains me to see her suffer so.
BettyJane’s every thought, her every action, her every prayer is to get the health of our daughter, Jessica, to improve.
She has been so engrossed for so long, with so little growth.
It has been a very long plateau.
Jessica has stabilized, which has required great effort, but she has not improved to the degree and within the timeframe of our hopes.
BettyJane is mentally and physically exhausted, nearing the end of her rope.
She needs something.
Something to keep her going.
Temporary happiness, a diversion to allow her to recharge and start again, instead of to give up.
At this moment, if I were given one wish in life, other than my daughter recovering, it would be for my wife to find happiness in her daily life, outside of my daughter’s health.
BettyJane is most worthy and deserves to be happy.
On this morning I pray that BettyJane finds happiness in something other than Jessie’s recovery.
I wish my eyes were camera’s and my heart was a DVR, so what I am currently witnessing could be forever saved to my soul.
It is one of those moments when life un-expectantly fills you with joy.
A moment, while it is happening, you know is the nectar of life.
Sometimes, dots are connected over time, and you know what made them connect, but rarely, if ever have I ever experienced dots connected simultaneously so soon after they are asked for in prayer.
As I walked past the sliding door which leads to my back porch, I see BettyJane with two deer.
There is a mother deer and a baby deer.
They are eating right out of BettyJane’s hand.
It has taken BettyJane weeks to build up their trust, putting watermelon skins out each night for them.
Each day she would put them closer and closer to the house, hoping they would one day become trusting enough to eat from her hand.
For the last few weeks, the deer have been in the first stage, alert but proceeding with caution.
Each day the deer would eat from the watermelon skins, but then they would get spooked at the slightest sound and dart off back into the woods as their trust was in BettyJane and not in the rest of the world.
Today, the deer broke free from the first stage and entered the second phase, Total Trust.
Today, there are no worldly sounds, and the deer made it all the way to BettyJane.
The mother deer is looking BettyJane right in the eye as her young is eating from BettyJane’s hand.
She trusts BettyJane.
BettyJane and the mother deer share a symbiotic relationship.
They understand each other.
Two mothers trying to keep her young alive.
BettyJane has finally trained the deer to trust the woods behind our house.
They trust our property is a safe place where they can roam, and be themselves, unguarded.
They trust they will always be cared for and be fed.
The deer know BettyJane is trying to help keep them alive.
Trust, love, survival.
Nature at its best.
It is an awesome sight to see.
BettyJane and the deer each helping the other in a way only nature and the Universe purely understands.
The sight is just awe-inspiring.
After her interaction with the deer, BettyJane came back inside and said with a beaming smile,
“Did you see my deer, my friends?”
Rarely, have I ever seen BettyJane happier than she is at this moment.
I silently say, “Thank you,” to the Universe.
My Dear, I’m Sorry
Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I’ll forgive Thy great big one on me.
Have you ever had the heartwrenching experience of a loved one being a little later in arriving at their destination than you expected?
At first, it is no big deal, their reason for not being where they should be could be a host of a million reasons why.
But with each passing minute, the tides change from a rational reason why they aren’t where they should be to a fearful sense that something is wrong, to a foreboding that you have lost them.
Irrationally, I was near the foreboding point when BettyJane recently took way too much time returning from walking the dog.
As BettyJane crashed through the front door, I initially felt so silly for allowing my emotions to escalate out of control so quickly,
Until she frantically screamed,
“I killed them.”
“I killed them.”
I couldn’t quite understand what she was saying between the gulps in her hysterical crying.
I feverishly tried to comprehend the meaning of her confession.
“What do you mean, you killed them?” I question.
“They are dead. They are dead because of me.”
“Who’s dead?” I asked. I am starting to get really worried.
“Somebody shot them.
I was walking the dog, and I saw hunters carrying my deer out of the woods on their shoulders.
They even killed the baby.”
“They are dead because of me.
I got them killed.
I taught them to trust.
I made them put their guards down.
I attempted to comfort BettyJane in this cruel course of events,
“You taught them to love. To trust. To be happy.
Nothing bad can be blamed on you for that.
You never stop loving regardless of consequence.
Pain is the way the Universe says that you are getting close.
Something is trying to derail us, to get us to quit.
Don’t let it.”
Later on when I am alone, I not so silently curse the Universe on how it can be so cruel at times.
Oh, Dear, No
That evening I am watching an episode of Chicago Med.
In the scene, a doctor is attempting to apologize to the parents of a newborn baby who recently died.
A few hours before that doctor had talked the parents out of a do not resuscitate order for their newborn child, ultimately creating a small window of time where the parents were able to hold their sick child before he passed away.
The doctor remorsefully says to the parents,
“I’m sorry I did what I did. I’m sorry I gave you hope.”
The doctor braced for the parent’s response. He was shocked when they said to him,
“I just want to thank you. We got to hold our child and hopefully he got to feel our love, even if it was only for a few seconds.”
When the parents exit the room, another doctor who witnessed the heartwrenching scene and who was against talking the parents out of pulling their do not resuscitate order says to the doctor who was for doing so and asks,
“What are you going to do next time?”
And the doctor who created the window of time so the parents could hold their dying child responds, “I’d do the same thing.”
My Dear, My Love
I know BettyJane will survive this winter.
I know spring will come again.
And new deer will arrive in our backwoods, mother, and baby looking for food, love, and trust.
And I know My Dear, My Love will do the same thing.
Love, Trust, Survival.
Regardless of consequence.
To always love, no matter the pain, that is to live life at its ultimate.
Chapter Excerpt from soon to be released “Strange Angels”