Monday, April 22, 2013

Together We're Strong[er]

Passau, Germany

Not too many weeks ago I tripped over a footstool in our living room and went sprawling across the floor to Astrid, who all but fell down with me.  What can I say:  I’m my father’s daughter!  At age 78, pre-cancer, he was still bounding up and down the stairs.

“Rustig, Rustig!” she often says.  “Slow down, slow down!”

Apparently not to be outdone while on our recent river cruise, out-n-about, she tripped over a dip in the roadway (something I usually do) and went sprawling, almost taking me down with her.  Glasses and camera went flying.  Her camera, actually, even managed to take a picture of the street as witness to the fact.
Miraculously, nothing breaks in these antics, except pride, of course, but I can swear to this:  the older I get, the more my cage rattles!

And thus it is my modus operandi of late to lock my left arm into Astrid’s right, which then clamps me in close to her.  Nothing else makes me feel so strong, safe and secure when we’re walking together.  “Together we’re strong,” she says.

After the Boston tragedy last week, did you notice how we all locked arms together and rallied around Marcie, Elena, Eliza and whoever else was potentially affected.  This is as it should be, of course.  The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  

Please tell me the whole is also stronger than the sum of its parts.  To be honest, I don’t like the one where a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, even if it’s true.  I’m afraid that would be me!  So I picture being held up from falling by whatever strong arms lock me in tight on either side.

Just Saturday morning we attended the funeral of a fellow senior here at the complex where we live.  He had been the Chairman of our Residents Committee till the end of January.  Sadly, a faction amongst us had reared its head midst his last months, attempting to oust him and the committee for absurd reasons.  As sunbeams danced across the orchids on his casket and “Spanish Eyes” played in the background, the 10 of us present from our complex (there should have been at least 40!) locked figurative arms together around his widow, to hold her up in her grief.  Together we’re strong.

We need each other.  There will always be those lovely times we celebrate together.  The weddings, childbirths, anniversaries, trips, milestones, graduations, dances.  Sadly, there will also be the divorces, deaths, diseases, depressions, losses, tragedies.

Times like this ain't nothing new
There's one thing we gotta do
All unite and stand together
Together we're stronger
Bring us down don't even try
No use trying I'll tell you why
Cause we will always stand together
Together we're stronger
--59 Times the Pain

Our cages may rattle when we stand together like this, but have you noticed how there’s a brighter, lighter, kinder, stronger side to us midst the perils of everyday life when we do.  How about this to prove it.
And a fine skip to the Lou, my darlin'.  “Rustig,” she says.  “Rustig.”

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