Tag Archives: friends

The ROMEO’s …

RomeosThe last three years of my sisters life were spent in a nursing home.  Her husband was very attentive and, unless he was sick, he was by her side every day.  It was there that he met three other men who were experiencing the same thing.

When I visited Peg my brother-in-law introduced me to his friends and told me that they were the ROMEOs.  I thought it was a cute name for a bunch of elderly men but I learned that it was much more than that.  This was his support group …Retired Old Men Eating Out ! They had been meeting once a week for a long time and had developed a trusting and convivial rapport with each other.  They could compare notes, share stories for managing all sorts of difficulties and, best of all, they never had to feel alone.

Nowadays you can find a support group for just about everything but, as in the case of my brother-in-law, many men are reluctant to join them.  I think this is especially true of senior men.  They don’t feel comfortable talking in groups and often have the stoical attitude of, “I’m doing fine.  I don’t need support”.

Then, of course, you have the men who claim they have no time for a support group since they are so busy caring for their loved ones.  This was the original attitude of the men who formed the ROMEOs.  Their days were full of care giving but they figured that a good meal out once a week might be OK.   Little did they think of this as a “support group” but that’s exactly what it was.

I knew that Peg was being cared for in a loving way by her husband of almost 60 years but it was a relief to know that he was being cared for too …thanks to a little group knows as the ROMEOs.

The Gift of a Doll

For me, living with a disability is all I have ever known. Therefore, I never thought of my life as particularly hard or challenging. The daily struggles I face today are the same, or similar, to the struggles that I have been facing for the last 31 years. Things that able bodied people might consider a struggle are as commonplace to me as brushing my teeth.

That being said, I do have days when I hate the hand I was dealt. Sometimes, I just don’t want to deal with it anymore. It’s usually something small, one too many falls, or a particularly long wrestling match with my shoe, which sets me off. Suddenly, I just want to scream, to punch something, to kick something or break something. My victim during these outbursts is usually my pillow, but a surprise gift from a friend could change that.

See that? Don’t worry, at first I couldn’t figure out what it was either. I thought briefly that the gift had been sent by mistake; or worse, that my friend had lost her mind. I mean, this thing is the kind of ugly that people write songs about. U-G-L-Y. What would I possibly want with it? I started to think it was a gift meant for my dog, (who, as you can see from the photo, also thought it should be for her) until I finally saw the tag stitched to one side.

This ugly little darling is a Dammit Doll. What is a Dammit Doll you ask? The tag declares: “Whenever things don’t go so well and you want to hit the wall and yell, here’s a little Dammit Doll that you can’t do without. Just grab it firmly by the leg and find a place to slam it. And as you whack the stuffing out yell dammit, dammit, dammit.”

Life is funny; I happened to receive this gift right after a fight with my husband. I don’t remember what the fight was about, but I do remember that I did not have to use the doll that day. The absurdity of the gift made me laugh so hard that I forgot about my bad mood.

I still have not slammed my Dammit Doll in to any walls. It’s silly, but a part of me feels bad for her. Most dolls are meant to be loved and cared for. This doll, on top of being ugly, was designed for abuse. It’s a little tragic in my opinion; then again my husband says I am just too sensitive. I don’t know if I will ever use my Dammit Dall the way she was intended; but her presence in my life is now a constant reminder that I am loved, and it is the people who love me that get me through the bad days. They pick me up when I fall, they wrangle unruly shoes and they encourage me to keep challenging myself. They are the real reason I live an Unlimited life. Objects make certain things easier, but their support makes things possible.

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