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Photo by Tom The Photographer on Unsplash

I saw him first.

I always remind Victor of that fact. But he did save me from talking to his friend, Barak, who always reminds us of that fact.

Our kids — we have three — like to sing You’re Beautiful by James Blunt to us because I was “with another man” when their dad first saw me. Of course, any other similarities between us and the song end there.

A few things about the night we met:

1. It was a Monday night, already 10:30 pm, when we arrived separately to a house party.

2. I saw him when…


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Photo by Gabriel González on Unsplash

My husband and I learned on the fly, so you don’t have to.

Two years ago, my husband Victor experienced a massive stroke, causing complete destruction of the left hemisphere of his brain. He has since learned to walk but still struggles to speak. I have learned to say Hemiparesis, Aphasia, and Apraxia. My husband has learned to say Yellow Car and I Love You, Too. We are both learning to live with the deficits of stroke, but it certainly would have been easier had someone given us a list of hacks up front. As his full-time caregiver, I need…


…and how they have influenced our lives

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Photo by Donald Teel on Unsplash

Yesterday was the day to formally acknowledge fathers, to thank them and praise them for being dads. This essay is not meant to leave out single moms or people whose fathers have been absent, difficult, or caused lasting pain. It is simply an ode to dads everywhere and the roles they have played in our lives. Now and every day, all year, every year.

Father’s Day was first celebrated on June 10, 1910, in Spokane, Washington and became a permanent national holiday in 1972. Today it is the third Sunday in June. Some…


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Photo by Isolda Page

…will always have my heart

This is about the first dog I ever loved and will always hold in my heart. I am a confirmed cat — and horse — person, but today I can say that I am also a dog person.

For most of my life, I was terrified of dogs. All dogs.

Every dog I ever met growled or barked or raised their hackles or lunged at me.

I was knocked over by a Saint Bernard, attacked by a German Shepherd, and treed by a Great Dane. My fear extended to Chihuahuas and Yorkies, in spite of…


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Photo by D. E. Page

Illness is not easily seen by the naked eye and sometimes is not seen at all.

Yesterday, my husband Victor and I went for a ride on the bicycle path — me on my bike, he on his trike.

No one can see that his right hand is buckled to the right handle. No one notices the ankle-foot orthotic (AFO) on the right side beneath his jeans. Nor can anyone tell that walking more than twenty feet is difficult for him, even when he is pedaling slowly on the trike. …


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Photo by Stacey Doyle on Unsplash

…from me, before.

Actually, it’s more than one word. It’s several. Do not — I repeat, do not — place a bag of stir-fry veggies hot out of the microwave onto a glass (even tempered glass) cutting board and leave it unattended for even a minute. Unless, of course, you no longer want that cutting board. Or any of the food that happens to be within a ten-foot radius of said board. Or the respect of intelligent people everywhere who find out that you did just that.

And so it goes. Sunday evening. Victor is resting. Aiden is helping with…


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Photo by Wesley Balten on Unsplash

A caregiver gives care.

What exactly does that mean?

The moment I first saw Victor, he was wearing cargo shorts, a striped button-down shirt, and deck shoes. He still has the same bright smile and twinkly green eyes. I knew at that moment that he was the one. We fell in love. We began to care for one another. We used to joke that we shared a brain — he had half, I had half. Nothing — I mean, everything — has changed since then.

We have been together for 30 years. Today Victor cannot speak and is experiencing 10+…


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Photo by Izabelle Acheson on Unsplash

What is the language of love?

The first time Victor told me he loved me was when he took my car for an oil change while I was at work. He brought the car back before day’s end and left it for me in the parking lot — the single red rose tucked under the windshield wiper his only signature. We were dating at that time, thirty-some years ago.

The other day, Victor went to the bank with me — an ordeal on his behalf — and then let me know that he really wanted to go to Walmart. Once there, he rode the complementary Walmart…


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Photo by Daniel Kainz on Unsplash

…sometimes they just go together.

Roughly a dozen years ago, we bought a pick-up truck. Specifically, a work truck. Made for pulling horse trailers, hauling hay, moving stumps. A basic truck for basic work on our two-horse farmette.

My husband Victor became a self-proclaimed lackey.

He could — and did — load 56 bales of hay into the 8-foot bed and tie them down so nothing was lost on the way home.

He hitched up the horse trailer whenever asked — whether the Amish-made single to haul our pony to an event or the triple-stock trailer to haul several horses…


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Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash

“He was 17 when I Died”

What I thought I said was, “I was 17 when he died.”

The truth is, I’ve been keeping secrets. Is that akin to lying?

If I always do what I’ve always done… And just what have I got, anyway? What minutiae stick like burrs to my sleeve as I run through the weeds?

What do I retain with this focus on diminutive details, the periphery a blur? I can’t hear what people are saying because I am thinking about tucking in a stray curl of hair or touching the curve of an ear.

O…

Dawna Elaine Page

I thought my emotion was sadness but actually it’s grief. “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying” — said Dad. “Words are all I have” — goes the song.

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