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Having What It Takes

January 2, 2012

The Truth

One of the reasons I married my ex-husband is because I saw how he took care of his mother when she was sick. He not only quit his first major job out of college to move to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota with her for three months to take care of her (he was an only child, and she was a single mom) , but he visited her every single day in the hospital for nearly a year until the day she died. That’s when I decided he was a good man and had what it took to be a good husband. It was exactly what I would have done for one of my parents had they fallen ill. And it’s exactly what I did for my father 11 years later when he was diagnosed suddenly with stage 4 Pancreatic cancer. When I sat with my father for the 6 months of his courageous battle I realized it’s not what you had, but it’s who you had by your side.

I had been broken up with Colby (See: Yankees Vs. Red Sox)  for nearly two years when my father died. But he was by my side every step of the way. I knew that Colby loved me. Real, real, deep love. The kind that Nicholas Sparks books are made of. Colby rode in the car with me to my father’s grave after his funeral. He didn’t say a word but I knew he was there for me and I felt totally comfortable falling apart, as I knew he would be there to catch me. When the service was finished, there is a Jewish tradition, where each person has the opportunity to shovel dirt onto the grave. Helping fill the grave means you have left nothing undone and it is the ultimate final respect for the deceased. After everyone had their turn I looked over at the men who worked in the cemetery who would have the job of filling the grave when we left.
Then I looked at Colby.
“I want you to do it.” I said, through my tears.
“Do what?”
“Fill the grave. I don’t want strangers to do it.”
I knew Colby could handle it. All 6’4″ of him. Colby said nothing. He was standing there in 98 degree weather at the end of June in a dark suit and began to cover my fathers coffin. I looked on believing that Colby was a superhero. He could do anything. And would for me. I felt much better knowing that my dad would be covered with care.

Over Christmas I was sick. I had a virus to end all viruses. I had to go to the ER to get re-hydrated and I spent days in bed vomiting. And guess who showed up to help me? Leo. (See: Deal Breakers & Songs About Darcy ) Not surprising. We had always remained friends and as far as I am concerned, he was always the ultimate mensch (if you aren’t familiar with Yiddish it means “a person of integrity and honor” thank you Wikipedia). When he checked in for the holidays and heard I was sick he insisted he come right over and take care of me. I didn’t even have to ask.  I hadn’t dated Leo in 10 months, yet I could still count on him. He knew I was alone. Bear was on vacation with his dad, my mom had put in overtime and needed some sleep before she was to leave for her own trip, and I…was alone. Really sick, and alone. I couldn’t even get up to walk to the kitchen. By the fifth day, I had a fever. A high one. And I was scared. Leo wanted to help and wouldn’t take no for an answer. He came with flowers, two kinds of soup, and a ton of Gatorade. He sat with me and for the first time in two days I was able to eat. He even assembled a Chanukah present I got Bear and he walked my dog in the freezing cold. When he came back, seeing that I had eaten he asked if I wanted anything else.
“A brownie maybe?” I think it’s the first time in days I had asked for food.
Guess what he did? He went back out into the cold and got me a brownie. He even sat though two hours, two different states of the real housewives, a show he can barely stand. He left when I was falling asleep. My fever was breaking and I was ready for bed. Like a gentleman, he left and checked on me periodically through the evening and late into the next week, stopping by a few days later to bring me even more food, making sure I was getting enough.
“I can’t believe you would do all of this for me.”
“Of course I would. I care so much about you. I would never want you to be so sick alone.”

Last year in my New Years Entry (See: Auld Lang Syne) I asked the question: Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? I had an answer then, and I have the same answer today. No, old acquaintances should not be forgot. Without old acquaintances, without the lessons people have taught you along the way, you would not be who you are today. I have had men set the bar incredibly low, but today, I am measuring the standard to those who have set it incredibly high. Because that is what we all deserve.

I do not know what this New Year brings but this is what I do know: Surround yourself with people who have your back. With people like that in your life, you can do anything, because you know they are right behind you to catch you if you fall. And there may be times you fall. But feeling safe to take the risk is half the battle.

I don’t know who I will date in 2012, but I do know this: They better be by my bedside if I get sick or by my side if I need them there. I want someone I can rely on. Someone to take care of me when I need the help. And someone I can count on. The same way they would be able to count on me. I don’t want a guy. I want a man. Someone who will fight to the death in the gauntlet for me if the need should arise, just as I would for them.

When the going get tough, the weak get going. But the strong…they stay by your side.

Wishing you all love, light and all the best in 2012.

Darcy

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. peanut permalink
    January 2, 2012 11:45 am

    I loved this post
    It’s one of the best
    heartfelt and true
    Love it and love you for writing it

    • January 2, 2012 12:21 pm

      Thank you! So glad you loved it and so glad you think it’s heartfelt and one of the best, mainly because this post was important to me for many reasons. It was a time for me to reflect on how lucky I am to have such great people in my life and to remind myself that that is what is actually important. Thanks for reading and thank you for commenting!

  2. January 2, 2012 12:17 pm

    This post was amazing! Four years after my divorce, I’m realizing my ex husband is still the person I call when I need someone and always will be. I’m taking this fresh start to the year to get rid of the guys in my life that wouldn’t be there for me in time of crisis Thanks for reminding me of the importance of certain people in life and to remember to appreciate them every day.

    • January 2, 2012 12:27 pm

      I have been guilty of that myself, but I can also say I am blessed to have had relationships since with total and complete menschs who have been there for me unconditionally as I would have been for them. And like I mentioned in the post, I am also so lucky to have my awesome family and my incredibly friends. We have all been guilty of trying to mold someone into something they are not. It is not worth the time or the energy. People are there for you, or they are not. The ones that are, are gifts, that should be cherished. It’s not what you have in life, it’s who you have, and this post is a reminder of that. In 2012, don’t take s&$t from no one ya’ hear? You deserve the best, and you certainly deserve someone who will be there for you when you need it most.
      Happy New Year! May 2012 be your best yet!

  3. January 2, 2012 2:57 pm

    This should be required reading. Very well done. While I admit to falling short of the male ideal you describe in this post, it is my endeavor all the same. Got my wife to stick around in any case. Happy new year! (oh and this is @mccabeswinenyc)

    • January 2, 2012 3:03 pm

      Thank you very much. That is a huge compliment and it means so much. Thank you for being a loyal reader and I always appreciate feedback. It’s okay to fall short once in a while. We all do. After all, we are all human. As long as you are making the effort, that is all that matters. A little effort can go a very long way. Oh, and always have your wife’s back! Although I bet you do!

  4. January 2, 2012 6:53 pm

    Darcy, you are a lucky woman. To have two men who care for you as these men do and who are able to SHOW IT is something special. Thanks for talking about what is truly important. Showing up for people. Being there.

    I am lucky to have someone in my life like that as well. My first love.

    I really loved your piece. It had a lot of heart. Like you.

    Bear is a lucky guy to have such a smart and caring, mom.

    Nina (Gabdate)

    • January 3, 2012 1:40 pm

      Thank you Nina. I am very lucky to have known such good men and know what “good” is. Therefore, I have no excuses for putting up with any different. Though we all do, for our own crazy reasons. Thank you so much for your kind thoughts on me and Bear, and thank you for being a loyal supportive reader. I always appreciate feedback!

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