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Who me? I have been accused of being stubborn — mostly by my significant other. We’ve been married for 44 years, so I guess he’s entitled to his opinion. Since he’s entitled to his opinion, I can say with some authority that the thinks he always “right”.

What’s odd is that generally I’m pretty flexible. Lots of the time, I don’t have strong preferences, and I’m willing to go along with what other people want. When I do have an opinion, I state it, so I’m not a pushover.

I prefer to call myself strong-willed. If I want something, I go after it. If my husband and I disagree about what need to be done or bought, I may disagree but not to the point of arguing, and later do what I think is best. Surprisingly, he usually agrees with me after the fact.

I really wanted to go to the University of St. Andrews in 1967 for my junior year abroad. There was not official program at Baldwin-Wallace College (Ohio) that arranged for that, so I proceeded to do everything on my own, and made it in! I loved it so much I stayed to complete my degree in Medieval History. My grandfather (who replaced my dad after the latter died when I was 14) wasn’t in favor of my decision and said so, but respected me and went along with my plans, even helping financially.

My father-in-law died at 95 nearly 4 years ago. The summer after his death, I urged my husband to add a week to our vacation in Britain to visit his three brothers in Cheshire, England for about a week. It was a hard sell, but I prevailed. I knew that their grief was even greater since they had been caring for him for the 7 years of his final illness and invested a lot of time, physically and emotionally, in keeping him alive.

I felt the four of them being together to talk, support each other, and bond, was important, even though my husband didn’t quite get it. Perhaps I have seen and lived more grief in action than he has. I think he was really touched by what came out of that week, and realized how deeply affected the two closest (in distance) sons were by their dad’s death. It’s not just the grief; but when someone is responsible for day-to-day health monitoring and arranging for care, suddenly there’s a hole in his or her life. A sense of, okay, what’s my purpose now?

For three years now, we’ve gone back to spend time with the remaining family (three generations) and it is very rewarding. It carries on the strong family bond that their parents, now deceased, had wanted for their children. And we have fun and laughter.

Sometimes, girding one’s loins, and facing the lions, is necessary.