Updated to add: My dear and lovely wife Rita is gone. She passed at seven p.m. here in Germany the last day of September, after battling a series of cancers and tumors that eventually consumed her. She passed at home, in as peaceful and loving an environment as any of us could wish for ourselves or any of the loved ones we hold dear. She was truly a very special princess. Details of memorials and services to follow. This blogpost was being proofed for release as I watched over her in her final hours.
Fast Food and Timeless Love
Those who follow my life’s travails on Facebook will have a better grip on the decidedly gloomy situation imposed upon our family by the continued degradations from my wife’s terminal illness. There’s enough pain, sorrow and heartache to drive many a formerly sober man to whisky, without delving into the hoarier details involved in cohabiting in the apartment above my 85 year old Nazi-era mother-in-law! Before proceeding, be advised that these missives have been prepared and released under the most dire of circumstances and incredible stresses.
On the matter of the extraneous errata of my sick mind, it’s probably as a result of the mind blowing decisions my wife and I discussed being up against, of which a brief glimpse is offerered in the love story I’m sharing with you today.
Whatever else bubbles out of my brain, today’s offering is just a ‘simple’ tale of a man and his dying wife going out on their last dinner date together in a romantic German location, on a rare balmy night in late Autumn somewhere close enough to Paris to fear guillotines pulled by donkeys headed north.
For some odd reason, the French really have issues with the past when it comes to dealing with the Germans, but there were no wagon wheels or donkey hooves pounding north on the cobblestone streets the night of our last dinner together. It was just another of the minor blessings that have fallen our direction.
We grab blessings these days with all the vigor we can manage, because time and the degree of significance of their appearance is amplified by the deepening shadows and gathering storms we’ve ignored in order to remain in our amorous stupor for as long as is humanly possible. You count your blessings where you find them. That’s the philosophy Rita and I have maintained for a quarter century together and I’m not messing with success.
The Gathering Storms
If you’ve an aversion to fear, death, Nazi storm troopers, video game screen caps or humor bred of morbid fear and impending doom, stop now. Everyone else…..
Why I Must Flee
Artist rendition of the photo off my mother-in-law’s iPhone camera at the moment of my wife’s demise. Rita is pictured lying dead on the floor while I am being forcibly removed to a ‘relocation center’ by some of my Nazi era mother-in-law’s ‘dear old friends”
But I digress. It was just the other day that I tweeted a picture of Rita’s smiling face on the morning of the joyous occasion of what looks like it may ultimately be her last happy and sentient day before passing, lest she recover once again from the fog of eternal funk which yanked her back away as swiftly and unexpectedly the following day.
We had planned a rather more elaborate escapade for the evening of the day of her renewed mirth than her residual physical capacity could muster by early evening, but I’m overjoyed to report that we did make it out for what I expect is going to be the last ‘dinner date’ my wife and I ever get to share. (edit to add. confirmed. sadly)
The Whole Enchilada
Delicious Food. Oxymoronic Advertising
After 25 years of happy togetherness, what was
likely our final dinner date found us “mobility restricted” to a Dutch fast food restaurant on the edge of the city center in Enschede Holland, a favorite border town for aging ex-patriots and Hippie German youth to mix with the Dutch locals.
Rita had no real appetite for food that evening, but a huge appetite for independent living, getting out for a run in the wild (while the getting was good), and loving me as long as she was able. Above at Taco Mundo on our last dinner date together, the 27th of September.
Though Rita’s mind (and mood) stayed sharp for the whole of the day, my wife’s physical stamina and limited mobility was too far gone by the early evening hours to allow for even a two block meander to a nicer restaurant at the heart of Enschede. so we decided to (happily) settle on Taco Mundo, which, other the the menu items actually being quite delicious (and priced accordingly higher), seemed to be going out of their way to mimic Taco Bell in decor and advertising.
Taco Mundo also had the serendipitous juxtaposition of curbside automobile parking access, something the heavily car-restricted urban Dutch environments are not particularly interested in supporting, given their heavy use and subsidization of mass transit and bicycle locomotion. It was a wonderful night but the struggle my wife endured to realize it was clearly on the edge of her physical limits.
Upon entry to Taco Mundo, the owner and staff werewas informed that my wife (wobbling and looking fabulous but close to death) was indeed close to death and that we had chosen this fast food restaurant as the location of our
potential last night out together. I also inquired as to the best way to negotiate the car back around the block from where we parked in order to negotiate quickly around the block and save Rita those 50 odd paces. He showed me the map and pointed out the route while assuring me he would look after her on the curb while I negotiated the pickup after dinner. The staff, and I presume the owner/manager on duty that evening are to be commended for the fantastic degree of service, support and humanity provided us that evening.
Appended to note: It’s hard to believe Rita is gone. The story of her last day is as poetic as it is tragic. I will do my best to reflect it to you when time permits. My Nazi mother-in-law is engaged in making my life a living hell as my wife was most worried about on the event of her demise. I have studied Ann Frank from here in our loft apartment, which is an eerie analogue to hers, all within site of the border of the country where she sought refuge. I know when it’s time to go. I am not looking to be a dead martyr but a living example.
The Team Is Missing A Member
Maybe a few of you will follow me along as I bounce back to wherever it is I’m going to land shortly? My wife died still fully engaged in metaphorically driving our hippie van and I have had to grab the wheel to keep from running into the ditch, There’s gobs of room in this cavernous VW microbus for as many social media travel companions as can squeeze in. Let’s set some records!. You bring the weed. I gotta smoke all ours up before I hit the tarmac and creep back under the New Iron Curtain, USA. Freedom, Hell Ya!! I’m pretty and I have a passport. How hard could it be to get back in? See you soon.
My thoughts are with you in this time of sorrow. My condolences to you and yours.
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