My Caregiver is the Best
God blessed me with the best caregiver. She loved a stinky punk rock skateboard paratrooper. We have been together almost thirty years. She took care of me through broken bones, broken hearts and broken dreams. She loves me and prayed for me, I imagine since we met. She left her country, her family and risked it all with an insane young man.
We met. We like. I can talk her into and out of anything. It took several months for the Air Force to approve our marriage. They investigated her since it was the middle of the cold war. We had to get written permission from our parents to get hitched. That was a Pilipino law. I met her father, once. He asked if I would keep her safe. I had to get my supervisor and commander’s approval. I was released from work a few hours early. Still in my jungle fatigues my then pregnant wife hopped on my motorcycle to get married at the justice of the peace. That is one crazy woman.
It turned out that Judge Lansong knew her father personally. He yelled at her in their native tongue! Her father was a police officer in Manila. I was worried. I know why we have witnesses at weddings and trials. I was first arrested at seven years of age! Many years later when people meet your wife they will say “I can’t believe that woman would marry THAT man.” Anyway we got married and then we were able to get her glasses. Then she was worried.
A few weeks later she got her first airplane ride! When we left Clark Air Base in the Philippines it was undoubtedly very hot and humid. We landed in Anchorage Alaska several hours later. She was shocked at how cold it was, and frightened of the stuffed Kodiak bear in the airport. Welcome to America.
My parents are normal scary Americans. Soon we were on our way driving cross country in a 1967 Oldsmobile. We left California and she would not sleep because she did not believe I could drive a car. A motorcycle at breakneck speeds in and out of traffic in the Philippines but not that boat of a car in my hometown. I made sure we stopped at the Grand Canyon on the way. I was a low ranking airman so we slept in the car. She held me tight because she was worried about the bears. The next morning I showed her the GRAND CANYON…she said “I’m cold.”
We stopped in Louisiana to visit my grandmothers. I took her out to the cabin in the woods that my parents and I had built. She would not get out of the car because she was afraid of the “axe murders.” It did not reassure her when I told her that most of the killers in Louisiana use guns and stay in town. Next!
I made sure to get some good ol’ Georgia peaches as we approached the Carolinas. I fixed them up with sugar and cream. She tried it but looked like she would throw up. Next stop Fayetteville, North Carolina. Soon we had a house and our first child was born. My caregiver took care of me and our kids around the world and supported me throughout my military career. War, injuries, and all the pleasures of part-time single parenting. As a special operator I was deployed two-hundred to three-hundred days a year.
When I was broken so bad I could not get dressed she took care of me. She would yell at me if I got blood on my uniform, even if it was not mine. She fed me and encouraged me no matter what I wanted to do. I was able to complete three degrees and become a pilot. All this was before I was diagnosed with cancer.