Love. Part 1. Hank and Ruth

Valentine’s day.  UGH.  Unicorn searching.  DOUBLE UGH.  My cynical side want’s nothing to do with it.  But the heart, well, that’s another story entirely.

In studying several different models of human needs and development, one need was seen consistently across the board.  LOVE.  Each school of thought was a variation on the same theme.

All you need is love.

 (yes, I stole this from the Beatles, and they stole it from Jesus.)

My mother died almost exactly one year ago.  And she and Hank have been on my heart and mind.  I have fucked up many a relationship.  Many.  When recently discussing my divorce, and my part in it, I had a potential suitor respond, “well, I (meaning HE) just wasn’t raised that way.”

Well, I wasn’t raised that way either.

I was raised by two imperfect people.  In an imperfect union.  And when I remember them, a few thoughts and rememberings stand out.

  • I remember the swift and harsh reprisal at the hand of Hank if any of the six of us mouthed off, disobeyed, or otherwise messed with Ruth.  (no really, if you wanted to piss Hank off, just be mean to Ruth, it was NOT pretty)
  • I remember consistant Friday night dates.  No matter how short, or how difficult it was to find sitters, or the situation, I remember my parent’s Friday night date tradition.
  • I remember Hank pinching Ruth’s behind, while tunelessly  singing, “I’m in the mood for love”.
  • I remember the two of them squished together on a tiny organ bench during the dedication services of the Portland, Oregon temple.  Mom was the organist, and dad wanted to be near her, so he was her “designated page-turner.” I sang in the dedicatory choir (I was a senior in HS) and the picture of the two of them across the room is imprinted in my sometimes chaotic memory.
  • I remember walking into their bedroom, to find them kneeling together in prayer, or studying the scriptures.
  • I remember every day bickering and quarrels, typically over Ruth’s chronic tardiness and Hank’s perpetual punctuality.
  • I remember the grace, compassion, understanding, and consistency the Ruth showed Hank as he struggled with deep depression.  I remember the same grace, compassion, understanding, and consistency that Hank showed Ruth during her battle with Parkinson’s, Dystonia, and dementia.
  • I remember so much about this couple of 56 years.  But mostly I remember loyalty and love.

This is “the way I was raised”.  This is the legacy I was given.  These are my models.  This is what I know.  And I am blessed.

Light and LOVE,

Big Laura

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