We Never Lived in the Now

The Poem’s Inspiration

I wrote the below poem several years ago. I began working on it one morning after listening to my parents and their friends discussing their dreams, what they hoped to do “someday.”

All the men and women were in their late 70s to early 90s in age as they discussed their bucket lists and the future. They talked as if they had all eternity to reach their dreams.

A Composite of My Observations

The poem is a composite of my observations of the people. One point stands out. Most of the couples loved each other dearly but never reconciled their hopes leaving many of their life goals unfulfilled.

More recently with my wife’s passing away from Melanoma cancer, I have found myself being very reflective. No, I have not gone down the trail of regrets. That path is only destructive.

I have thought of some of her last words. When she awoke in the hospital ICU after two days of not knowing who or where she was and realized I had followed her wishes and told the surgeon, not to perform another brain surgery, she said, “I knew this cancer was going to kill me. I just didn’t know it would be today or in the next few days.” She added, “I’m so glad you made me take my bucket list vacation in 2016 when I was still healthy enjoy to enjoy you and the vacation.”

Don’t Delay

If you have dreams, go for them. Don’t delay. You never know when the time will run out. And maybe, like my late wife, you will have no regrets.

We Never Lived In the Now

Your face shows your age,
though your countenance is still glowing,
Your age says grown-up,
but you’ve never decided where you’re going.

You’ve grown older.
Yes, I’m older too.
The remainder of our lives is before us,
oh, what’ll we do?

What were the dreams
you had so long ago?
What was your vision?
Where did it go?

You traveled your way.
I went mine.
A history so different,
Lives intertwined.

The gray now shows in our locks,
showing how much we cared.
Your grin still lights my life,
my smile brightens yours when shared.

You lived for then.
I lived for when.
We never lived in the moment.
No, we never lived in the now.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Originally published in WORDS…RHYMES…POETRY & PROSE!

The poem is included in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Kindle from Amazon.

The Steel Wave by Jeff Shaara

Summary:

The Steel Wave by Jeff Shaara is the second novel in his Second World War historical fiction trilogy of the European and Mediterranean Theater. He has a fourth book dealing with the Pacific Thater of World War II.

The Steel Wave’s theme is the planning and execution of Operation Overlord. Operation Overlord is the name of the Allied invasion of Northern France.

Character-based Story:

Jeff Shaara uses his familiar character-based story technique of examining the time period from the perspective of the historical figures and adding some composite fictional characters. His method works splendidly.

The Steel Wave is an appealing read. The novel’s pacing is energetic.  I never lost interest.

The author did his research. His insights into the difficulties faced by General Eisenhower, the different leaders, and the soldiers are spot on. He gives the reader an appreciation of the hazards and difficulties that faced the planners and soldiers of Operation Overlord.

We are taken into the discord, hesitations, and ultimate perils with which the Allied generals had to contend. He spends about the first half of the book with these issues.

The Ordinary Soldier’s POV Shown:

A very good job of showing the invasion from the perspective of the ordinary soldiers is made.  He shows how courage along with the ability to improvise when plans broke down lead to success.

This is excellent historical fiction about a well-known subject. The story is well told through the characters. I strongly recommend the book.

And Life Goes On

Almost two months ago I penned my last new entry on jimmiekepler.com. Life got in my way. My bride of over forty-three years died on April 12, 2018.
 
She fought two types of cancer. Cancer one made its presence known in December 2013. Its name was neuroendocrine carcinoid. For those who haven’t heard of that flavor of disease, it is the same type of cancer that took the life of Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs. The second type of cancer entered her life making itself known in May 2015. It was an aggressive bully named Melanoma.
 
I will always think of cancer as a dumb disease. Why’s that? Cancer lives in a host. Cancer works to kill its host. When the host dies, cancer dies. How dumb is that? In my mind, it’s pretty foolish.
 
Cancer is evil. Cancer sucks. I hate cancer. Cancer destroys lives and changes people and families forever.
 
I am at the point of getting on with life. I have so many of the estate things that still need to be cared for. I’m amazed at how slow the process works for getting death certificates. They are the holy grail for handling a spouse’s passing.
 
One of my sweet wife’s comments to me during her last weeks was, “This isn’t the retirement you had planned.”

She’s right. I had retired the end of last summer. My retirement plan was to write full time. I’ve been freelancing since 1980 with a solid history of sales. Instead, I spent most of the last six months being a near 24/7 caregiver.
 
I remember the morning of March 21 distinctly. I had taken my wife to the emergency room the night before. I had never seen a person as confused, lost to the world, or sick. The morning of March 21 I learned that terminal no longer meant “down the road” or “at a later time.” It now meant maybe today at the soonest and in a few days at the longest.
 
After moving her from ICU to in-house hospice for a week, she was able to come home for hospice care as she desired. The total time from going to the ER to dying was twenty-three days. From her first Melanoma surgery until death was 1001 days.
 
She and I were blessed with her two sisters that helped with her care. Without them, no matter how good the hospice care, it would have been nearly impossible to survive the last days.
 
So I move on to my search for the new normal. I’m still searching. Someday I’ll find it. As I write and search, you may see me writing about it from time to time on jimmiekepler.com.
 
Oh, life didn’t get in the way. I experienced real life in its rawest form. I felt the hurt a man can only suffer from loving a wife and being loved by a wife for over four decades while living out the “until death do we part” words of our marriage vows.
 
I also saw the love of family as sisters loved and cared for their dying sister. I saw my grown children go through the emotions of losing their mother. I experienced the loving care of neighbors, lifelong friends, and our church family. Precious memories, like the posted photo. It was the last time she was out of the house where she wasn’t going to the doctor or hospital.

Going Out to Eat

Couple Eating Lunch
Couple Eating Lunch

Going Out to Eat

Sweetheart, do you have a preference on where we go out to eat?
No. Anywhere you want is okay with me dear.
Great, there is a McDonald’s Restaurant; they have a senior discount …
Oh, but look, there is a Subway Restaurant; I think that would be better.
Okay, Subway it is. I’ll let you off at the door and then park the car.

Do you see anything on the menu you prefer?
No. Anything you want is okay with me dear. We can share a foot-long sub.
Great, how about a foot-long Italian Meatball submarine sandwich?
Oh, but the Black Forest Ham sub; I think that would be better.
Okay, make it a foot-long Black Forest Ham on wheat bread, please.

Oh, get whatever you want dear, but white bread …
Ma’am, can you change that to white bread, please
I’d like American cheese …
Dear, Pepper Jack; I think that would be better.
Okay, make it Pepper Jack cheese.

We’d like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeños ……
Anything you want is okay with me dear, but maybe not the tomatoes and pickles …
Ma’am, hold the tomatoes and pickles, please.
What if we skipped the green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeños and just got black olives?
Okay, make it black olives and mayonnaise instead of green peppers, banana peppers, jalapeño.

Oh, maybe you should go with the light mayo; remember your waistline …
Yes, dear. Ma’am, we’ll take light mayo instead, please.
Sir, do you want to make that a combo with chips and drink?
Dear, we’ve got water and apple slices in the car. No need to splurge, but …
Okay, just the sub, not the combo.

That was a very good lunch. Thank you for taking me out to eat
Aren’t glad I let you have whatever you wanted dear?
And he was glad he remembered,
“Love is patient, and is kind;”

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written in Estes Park, Colorado
May 2013

“Going Out to Eat” was originally published in vox poetic. Kepler, Jimmie A. “Going Out to Eat,” vox poetica, January 27, 2014, Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://voxpoetica.com/eat/.

Photo Credit: By Bill Branson (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


When I read the first draft of this poem to my late wife, I was shocked at how visibly upset it made her.

“You’re making fun of me and telling the whole world!” she said.

I was taken aback by her comment.

“I don’t understand,” I said with honesty.

“That’s what I did at the Subway Resturant at Amarillo,” she said. She didn’t smile. She only lowered her head.

It was apparent the memory was fresh on her mind.

“It’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted,” I said.

Again, she did not smile. She rolled her eyes.

“It’s not about you,” I said attempting to reassure her.

“It’s about me. Everyone will know it’s about me.”

“But it isn’t about you. Even if it were, who do you know that reads poetry?”

“So you admit you wrote it about me.”

“Sweetie, it’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants,” I said trying to reassure her.

“And you’re going to submit it for publication?”

“Only with your permission. I don’t want it to upset you.”

“So it’s my fault if you don’t submit the poem?”

This time I rolled my eyes.

She glared at me for a minute and then sat silent for another five minutes. Finally, she started laughing and said, “I guess if I’m honest wives do that to their husbands. Go ahead and submit your silly poem.”

I submitted it. It was accepted for publication. And no, it wasn’t about Miss Benita. It really is a composite of so many of the older couples I’ve seen at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted and then hands him a coupon to use.

Six Keys to Know God’s Will For Your Life

Six Keys to Know God’s Will For Your Life

1. God Wants You to be Saved.

1 Timothy 2:3-4 King James Version (KJV), “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV), “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

My personal testimony on why and how I became a Christian is HERE.

2. God Wants You to be Spirit Filled

Ephesians 5:18 (KJV), “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit;”

3. God Wants You to be Sexually Pure

1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 (KJV), “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;”

4. God Wants You to Submit Yourself to God

James 4:7-10 (KJV), “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

See also Ephesians 6

5. God Wants You to be Willing to Suffer for the Cause of Christ

1 Peter 3:17 (KJV), “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing.”

6. God Wants You to Have a Spirit of Thanksgiving

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV), “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

My source for the above outline is Neal Jeffrey, Associate Pastor of Pastoral and Preaching Ministries at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. I made the outline from notes taken during the Friday Morning Men’s Bible Study lesson on April 20, 2018.

You Have an Inheritance

Inheritance

Learning to deal with a chronic illness includes apprehending you have an inheritance.

When faced with a chronic disease you realize your normal has changed. You have the new normal of the daily medicines, therapy, and sometimes chemo. A once envisioned future evaporates. You wonder what the tomorrow holds.

The good news is that as Believers in Christ Jesus, you do have an inheritance. Cancer, heart disease, a stroke, high blood pressure, glaucoma, COPD or any disease/illness cannot take that future bequest away from you.

Today’s Bible Verse:

1 Peter 1:3-4 (KJV), “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,”

What the Verse Means:

As a Christian, you have an inheritance through Jesus Christ.

Personalized Prayer Using Today’s Scripture:

  • I bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • I thank our Heavenly Father for his abundant mercies that through the resurrection of Jesus Christ I have a Living Hope, even as I battle a chronic disease.
  • I praise you for the inheritance I have in Jesus Christ. The bequest in Jesus Christ is incorruptible, undefiled and does not fade away. It does not disappear when I get a chronic illness.

Photo Source: Pixaby

April 3, 2018

“Today is Tuesday, April 3, 2018. It is 7:00 am. It is 70 degrees outside. You have a big day scheduled. The visiting hospice RN is due at 8:30 am and the hospice social worker at 1:30 pm,” I said to my wife of 43 plus years.

In the background, my sister-in-law said, “It’s time for your first morning meds. These are the ones with the thyroid medicine and two others. You take them before breakfast.”

My wife squinted, the ceiling light temporarily blinding her and then hurting her eyes. “So I don’t get breakfast now.”

“No, you don’t eat with the thyroid meds. The others RXs are to protect your stomach and get you ready for breakfast, and the 9 am medications,” said my wife’s younger sister.

“So I have to wait an hour to eat?”

“Yes. I am going to cook you pancakes for breakfast,” I said.

She gave me an evil eye.

“I know, you didn’t like them in the hospital or the in-patient hospice, but these have the secret ingredient, my love,” I said.

As she rolled her eyes, she said, “Okay, why not? I’ll try them.”

And so began day five on the in-home under the supervision of hospice care of my terminally ill wife. She has had Melanoma for three years. It spread to the brain. A tumor was removed. I recurred again. And here we are.

I’ll write a few thoughts from time to time on what is happening. From what I’m told, if I use an American football metaphor, it is the fourth quarter, the two-minute warning has been given, and we are out of timeouts.