Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bon Voyage Mon Amour

I buried my Irish Redhead last week.  This is a weak attempt to talk about it.

The second year we were married she got sick.  Really sick.  They all agreed she wouldn't last a month.  She managed to overcome the onset and through grit, love, faith and sheer will she made it through that month.  And another three hundred thirty six months as well.  Enduring annual hospitalizations.  Surgeries. Infusions of iron.  An implanted feeding line.  And all the rest. Hospitals in New Orleans, Birmingham, Atlanta and Miami as well as at home. Then eventually kidney failure and more surgery and dialysis.

She met many angels along the path and she was an angel to many as well.  And to me and her son, the Future Rock Star.  Every day.

But there comes a time when the line assigned to each of us just comes to an end.  After three decades of victory after victory an infection came along and she had nothing left to give.  She didn't last twenty hours.  Her lifetime record against disease was about 958-1.

I guess it is no surprise that I wrote her eulogy.  I would like to share it, and a little bit of her, with you...

My Wife, Debbie.

The first time I met her I felt like I had known her all my life.  I bought an engagement ring three months later.  A fascinating, loving and faith-filled thirty years passed in the blink of an eye. Leading us all to this room today.

Debbie had world class skill at catching a runaway chicken in her parents' back yard.  If you have ever tried to catch a runaway chicken you will know how athletic she was.  She was the most intelligent person I ever knew.  We always used to say that at least we would never be a couple with nothing to talk about and that was true.  From international politics to reality television, Debbie was up to speed on it all despite the demands of running a successful court reporting business in the early years and despite the demands of motherhood later on.  She had the ability to train her mind like a laser on any issue or new intellectual challenge and then to apply her tremendous work ethic to master any situation I saw her come across. She understood her medical conditions and dozens of daily medications so well more than one doctor asked her if she had been to medical school.  She was the finest natural cross-examiner of a person I have ever seen and this occasionally made it rather uncomfortable for me, for our son or for her father Bill.

Debbie had wide ranging interests running from ancient and modern history, antiques, fashion, design, politics, automobiles and travel.  She could engage in a conversation with anyone about any topic. She had an amazing eye for fashion and for interior design. 

She was fiercely passionate about her faith, her family, her friends, her pets, her medical conditions and the people she didn't care for.  She loved her son with the same intensity and he is the Glory of her life.  This passion and intensity and strength came from her soul.  Debbie's soul did not just shine out of her, it blazed out or her with a radiance I have never seen in any other person. 

In our second year of marriage Debbie became very ill from a rare congenital blood disorder.  She was very ill that year but survived.  For the following twenty eight years she was hospitalized at least once or twice annually, walking a medical high wire and fending off one life threatening condition after another all related to consequences of her condition.  I often told people that she was like Harry Potter.  She was "the girl that lived".  

Through all of this she never once complained, blamed God, or lost even a portion of her faith which was stronger than I have ever found in any person. If anyone ever needed proof that God exists, that God loves us, and that God blesses us with miracles, Debbie was absolute proof of all those things. From the time she survived the onset of her illness by her body "re-plumbing" itself by creation of new blood vessels, some of which ran the opposite direction of the originals which had been destroyed, through all the years up to last week, I saw Debbie receive one miraculous good turn after another. No one could have survived everything I saw her survive over three decades of life by merely being lucky.  God reached down his hand and made her great.  He kept her feet solidly on that high wire she was destined to walk.  Her experiences and her steadfast belief were a crucible that tempered my own faith and made it stronger than I could have ever imagined. I would often tell people that if an atheist had started following along Debbie's path with her twenty eight years ago they would have been a true believer by January 25, 2017. 

I have used the words "unlike anyone I have ever seen" many times in this note because Debbie was a truly unique woman.  It was my honor and privilege to spend more of my life with her than I have lived without her.  I cannot wait for the day when I see her again.

Her headstone epitaph only requires two words: "Indomitable Spirit".  

Our son, her father Bill and I would like to thank everyone for coming today and in sharing our celebration of this truly extraordinary life.  God's blessings to each of you.

People have been wonderful.  They ask how we are doing.  We are OK, thanks to her example and what she taught us over the years.  My biggest problem is not knowing what to do with myself.  And seeing little things around the house that unexpectedly make me feel like I am being stabbed with a dull blade.  Things like that. It is fair to say that Valentine's Day will be pretty substandard.

Billy Strayhorn said in Lush Life that "a week in Paris would ease the bite of it".  This time, I don't think it would.  At this point my hope is just that life's kaleidoscope will somehow eventually make a turn that jostles the shards of my broken heart into a pretty picture again.

Thanks for coming along for the ride, wherever it takes us from here.


Anonymous said...

Dear and Kind Sir, thank you for entrusting these words to your vast readership so that I, a nobody who has read your blog for years, could catch them, feel your broken heart, and hold you as close as I possibly can across the internet. You have written so often of your Irish Redhead, now we know her name is Debbie....Deborah was it?

How lucky she was to have YOU all the years that she did, how lucky she was that it is YOU penning/keying her legacy exactly as you have, sending it out as you have across the miles. If it had been anyone other than YOU, I would not have these tears, I would not have this heart full of sorrow for you and for The Rock Star. You are a gifted writer, you have been a husband and father without peer, and we are here with you.

In great sorrow and with much love,

No One In Particular

Cultured Global said...

Dear M. Lane,
I am so sorry your dear Redhead Debbie has passed away.
Your extraordinary eulogy bursts with love for her and who you were together.
The Future Rock Star and his dad will turn to each other for comfort.
Please accept my sincere sympathy upon the loss of your beloved wife.

M.Lane said...

THH thanks so much for the kind words. I did the best I could. Oh, and her given name was Debbie. And you aren't "no one in particular" you are someone who made one of these exceedingly difficult days nicer and consequently you are an angel to me too.


Streak said...

I had the pleasure of knowing the Debbie, AKA The Irish Redhead. She was an awesome person and she and MLane made a great couple! I'm always there for you..

M.Lane said...

Hi Streak...thank you so much my friend.


Terry said...

We're thinking of you on Valentine's Day, and always.
T.J. and John

Q said...

So very sorry for this great loss; but, also so inspired by this great life...all lives have endings, it is wonderful to celebrate one which ends with courage and faith. My prayers to you and your son today and in the days ahead...hope those dull blades turn into sun beams that warm you a little bit every time you think of her.

M.Lane said...

Q, thanks so very much. What a nice note.


Amy said...

Dear Epic,

I am heartbroken. I know I would have loved her!

I wish you and your son solace and peace.

Much love,
Cashmere Librarian

M.Lane said...

Hello Amy. I know you would have and she you. Thank you for taking the time to make my evening nice.


PS and you still have the best name in the blogosphere....

Nate Mundy said...

I have been away from your blog for some years. I just came back to it now to find you lost the Irish Redhead. My condolences, sir.

M.Lane said...

Thank you Nate. I appreciate it. I hope you stay around!!


Ben said...

Oh my dear friend, I don't know how I missed this post until now.

Please accept my most heartfelt condolences and prayers for her rest and your peace. I know you and the Future Rockstar keep many memories, grand or tiny, of her with you. Take care, my Brother.

For my part and in her honor, I plan to visit some of your old posts where you spoke with such love and so eloquently of her.


Sandra said...

I haven't been part of the blog (used to blog as Preppy 101) world for several years now, but somehow tonight I once again came upon yours. I have been where you are. I am so sad for you during this time. I can tell you I know how you feel. Words are so empty, so I will leave you with the simple fact that I truly know how you feel. Prayers for your wonderful memories to sustain you, as I promise you they will.

M.Lane said...

Hi Sandra...thanks so much for stopping by and thanks even more for your thoughts. They are very special to me and I will carry them along in my heart.


M.Lane said...

Ben thanks as always for the visit and kind thoughts. This is so surreal I can't begin to describe it. But Epic life demands that even in the midst of this emotional turmoil the gems that are still there must be recognized and taken hold of. Great pals are certainly one of those. Thanks for being one. I will one day get that Mai Tai.


The Daily Connoisseur said...

Oh M, I'm so so sorry to hear this news. You have my deepest condolences. I can't imagine how hard this has been for you. Much love to you and your son. Jennifer xx