Friday, January 9, 2015

Caregivers have each other's backs — always

'Rollercoaster' author and wife turn caregiving and love into a permanent lifestyle choice

I, Woody Weingarten, always have my wife's back. 

And she, Nancy Fox, always has mine.

To whimsically stretch the metaphoric cliché, we always have each other's fronts and sides as well.

Much of that's been chronicled in my new VitalityPress book, "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer."

Its focus is caregiving.

For Nancy and me, that's a lot more than a word — it's a lifestyle choice, one we insist on making every day.

Sunrise view from hot tub in San Anselmo.
Ever since Nancy's diagnosis 20 years ago we've started every a.m. with a soft kiss, trading the phrase "Good morning, I love you."

We never add a "too."

Just an unadorned "Good morning, I love you" in each direction.

We met the first time almost 60 years ago.

The second time, the one that stuck, didn't happen until nearly 30 years later. 

Totally across the country.

We've now been married 27 years, and still make sure we spend a quiet 10 minutes each morning in non-sexual intimacy. 

Chatting. Touching. Smiling.

A lot of times the ritual takes place in the hot tub behind our San Anselmo home. Watching a sunrise.

Sometimes we sit in our deck chairs. Or on our living room couch. Or reclining in bed. The location doesn't matter; the good feelings do.

Sometimes we're silent. Sometimes we list the positive things in our lives. Sometimes we verbalize our love.

At night now and then, we climb into the hot tub and check out the twinkling stars or glowing yellow moon. Those occasions underscore the day's tendernesses.

We've never labeled exactly what we do. But I just thought of something that fits:

Each of us is a love whisperer.

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