The big change in my life came on Sunday
morning in Saint Boniface. Our community was gathered for singing, studying
and praying. There was a guest present. She was the mother of a young girl
who had been coming with her auntie. Her name was Barbara. After the meeting
she asked to speak with me. Actually, she beckoned with her finger, saying
"I'd like to talk with you." She had heard my name in another context. A
nurse colleague spoke to her about a care provider in their home. Her
husband was in an advanced stage of Multiple Sclerosis. After some months
serving in the home, the care provider offered to live in. In this way being
able to provide care day and night. A great relief to the family. Barbara
wondered what motivated me in my practice of care?
I was of course curious about this person. So
I began exploring her thinking. Asked about her work. Heard that she was
director of Surgical Nursing at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Hospital. Learned
that the maintenance of boundaries in a major hospital setting is
challenging. I suggested that it must be lonely at the top. She wondered how
I might have come to that conclusion. Because it's lonely at the bottom too.
Almost immediately something deep in each
of us was bound to the other. Not conscious yet. A seed planted. Over the
weeks and months we began to see more and more of each other. Some evenings,
I would get on my bike and pedal several kilometres to knock on her door.
Invited in, I joined in the patterns of her home life. She had two young
children. A twelve year old boy and an eight year old girl. She was warm and
affectionate. He cooler, more rational and much concerned with appearance.
"Just so you know. I'm the one who lights the BBQ here", is one of the first
things he said to me.
years old and for the first time, I had a girl friend. All the things
fantasized about in youth and early adulthood were starting to happen. We
held hands walking through parks. We sat under the shade of tall trees. Ate
picnic lunches at Bird's Hill Park. Sat in theatres. Me perplexed at first.
She would take my hand. Nuzzle my neck. I thought we were there to watch a
movie. Physical intimacy did start happening. Lingering touches. Soft
kisses. Sitting snug together in front of the fireplace.
I began staying longer into the evenings.
Listening to romantic music while sipping red wine. Talking about all things
under the sun. Tucking the kids into their beds. Curling up in her bedroom.
Getting closer and closer to one another. The seed first planted beginning
to take root. Then the turning point. Stayed late into the night. Some very
passionate intimacy. From which I pulled back to make a small speech. If we
go any further along this way we will be married. We did and we were. As it
is written: "Two shall become one."
We decided that I would move in. This was a time of great learning. How to
be a good person in the company of a mother and her children. I was not
their father. They knew that. What I offered was a kind, creative and loving
male presence. As well as all my shortcomings and lack of understanding.
What I received was the caring concern of a person who loved me as I am.
Never loosing sight of who I could be. Giving her very best to stand by me
as I grew into my potential.