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Sunday Lifestyle

Rediscovering life

SECOND WIND - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura - The Philippine Star
Rediscovering life

 “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt

 

I want to thank everyone — more than 100 people — who sent congratulations to us in response to last week’s long column. Thank you very much for your wonderful wishes. We are truly grateful.

What has changed about life since? Everything and nothing. Once I used to live alone knitting in front of the TV set, laughing along with the comedy shows I liked to watch. Now I no longer do that. I have a friend to watch TV with. The same goes for Loy, the man I am about to marry. He also used to sit in front of his TV set alone watching boxing matches or Shirley Bassey sing. Now he has me to watch anything with and we have a lot of fun. We are comfortable with each other so nothing feels strange and we watch together either at his place or mine.

Of course my knitting stuff now sits untouched beside my rocking chair where I have not sat for more than a month, but one day I will be knitting again I am sure. I just don’t know or care when. And Loy is thinking about having his two super comfortable chairs reupholstered but we don’t know where or when either. One day everything will settle down.

My friends at Sunshine Place have been missing me, I am told. I, who used to exercise there four days a week, teach there once a week, play mahjongg once a week too, appear to have disappeared from view, erased by a puff of smoke. “I’m sorry,” I have said, “but I am romantically occupied.” Soon when the pieces that are right now floating in the air fall to the ground, I will probably return to my original schedules, but I don’t know when that will be. We are having wonderful times just being together, going to the grocery, shopping for food, then cooking and eating whatever crazy thing we think of.

The holidays came and went, carrying us in its tides. We always had a wonderful time with his children and grandchildren, and mine as well. They are a big group — our children. He has eight kids — five girls and three boys. Six of them are married with children. I have four — three girls and one boy, all of them married with children. That makes a total of four sons and eight daughters. In my mind, when I try to envision people walking down the aisle, I think of the four boys, starting with my son who is the oldest of the boys, flanked by two girls — one his, another mine.  That would be dramatic. We have a total of 16 grandchildren between us.  That would make for a bridal path coated with rose petals if we turned them all into flower girls.

Of course there are my friends who have volunteered to be flower girls, two of them in their 80s and using walkers. A niece of mine who is almost in her 40s also volunteered to be a flower girl. And one of my writing students volunteered to be a flowerpot at the wedding. There are all these jokes and all sorts of laughter. After all, we are 73 and 79 but we both feel like we’re 33 (that’s me when I was at my sexiest) and 39 (that’s Loy verging on his mid-life crisis and wanting to be terribly young again). It’s really wonderful to be in love at this age.

“Why do you think we met now?” we ask each other. Maybe it’s to give other people hope, to let them know that love can sweep you up regardless of your age. That it can change the way you look, add a sparkle to your eyes, paint a blush on your cheek. You can swear on a million Bibles that you will never marry again; then one day you meet the right man/woman and all the “no”s slide down a cliff and tumble into the sea.  You are wrapped up in clouds of happiness and laughter.

Maybe it’s to let other people know that life does not end when you want it to. It will end when God wants you finally. I was alone and quite often prayed that He would take me already because life was so tedious, so boring. My bags were packed and I was all ready to go. Loy was the same. We would both individually pray for death, seeing death as relief, an end to the boring life we had both been living. God did answer our prayers. Instead of sending us death, He opened our eyes to each other. He made us find each other and then we rediscovered life.

Now we know the pleasure of looking into one another’s eyes and finding yourself there. Now we know what it means to be alive again, to rejoice in the rising of the sun even the waning of the moon. It’s wonderful to be so alive again!

 

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