wings and things

What’s more important – to love, or to be loved?


Yesterday, after doing hours of paperwork and three related appointments, I finally got to Anthony’s lodge at 5pm and something in his face lit up. “My beautiful girl!” he said (now that I am 54, being called a girl always works a charm on me). We gave each other the usual hugs and kisses and then I sat down to tell him the latest about my nieces and nephews, my Centrelink adventure and other things, and poured him a small whisky. I knew I couldn’t stay long as I had to get groceries before the shops shut, so he got a bit upset when I had to go. I managed to jolly him out of that somehow and left reluctantly.

At the doorway to his room, I paused, as always, and said to him, “I love you so much, Ants” and he said, “When you go I won’t have anyone to love.” So then of course I ran back to him for one more hug and he was okay, knowing he would see me tomorrow (which is now today).

After getting groceries, I headed for home with his words resonating and I realized, for the millionth time, what an amazing person he is to want to give love more than to receive love.

Ming, at 19, doesn’t really understand why I go into the nursing lodge, take Ants out for cake and coffee, and/or on my errands, or home on weekends.

Me: Because he is my husband!
Ming: But how can you stand it, with Dad like he is? It’s no fun for you and the psychologist said you’re supposed to be having a bit of fun in your life.
Me: Because I love him and I can make it fun now I’ve stopped succumbing to the sadness so much. Anyway, I like going to cafes and so does Ants.
Ming (bewildered): Okay, whatever.

One day, when Ming is married to someone (who I hope will be amazing!) he will understand something about love that I didn’t really ‘get’ until now: that the gift of love is found inside every moment that you give it and not in how much you receive it. I certainly didn’t see it this way when I was his age so why should he?

So to both my beautiful boys: I love you.


I found out today that Anthony and I are ‘illness separated’.

photo credit to Jane Terren

Ming and I were at Centrelink (Australia’s social security service) this morning to pursue job possibilities for him now that he is not supposed to do manual labour. He is still working for our neighbours as a dairyhand but only for three days a fortnight, and with no lifting allowed. As many of you know, this is because Ming tried to lift something really heavy in our shed a few months ago and actually fractured some of the titanium in his ‘new’ back. He will be scheduled for further surgery in the next couple of months, after which he will obviously have to quit milking the cows for good.

So we were at Centrelink with a the doctor’s certificates and other paperwork that might help Ming claim some sort of interim allowance before and after the next surgery, when (whilst waiting for her computer to reboot) the beautiful woman serving us chatted with me about this and that and she took an interest in my own circumstances. As I had previously received a carer’s allowance when Anthony still lived at home, I was on the system, but she could easily see that I have had no income of any sort for nearly 18 months and haven’t been able to claim any social security help due to living on a farm (asset). She asked me about Anthony and, when I told her he was now in a nursing home, she said, “Well that means you are separated.” I said, “No, no!” Then she said, “It’s okay, I just mean you fall into the Centrelink category of ‘illness separated’ and, as such, you could probably do with some financial assistance.”

She then said she would do anything she could to assist us in our Centrelink pursuits. I was so grateful I nearly got teary and then suddenly she realized that Ming (whose Scottish name is spelled Menzies) used to play football with her own son and, even though she and I had never known each other back then, I not-so-instantly recognized her!

I am feeling a bit uncomfortable about lodging a claim for financial assistance but, on the other hand, Anthony and I have, like so many, paid a fortune in taxes over the decades, so why not? It’s difficult for me to get another job at the moment because I spend a lot of hours with Anthony every week – either here or at the nursing lodge; and it’s difficult for Ming to commit to another job until he knows about surgery (next appointment with surgeon in two weeks).

One of the things I am so grateful for is the fact that my beautiful, now incapacitated, ‘illness-separated’ husband, has had enough savings to sustain us so far. And that we are living on his/our beautiful farm.