A Happy, Hard Birthday

April 3, 2014 | My Jottings

My dear husband Michael turned 65 yesterday. He told me how loved he felt when his children called to sing to him, bring cards over, and sent love notes about what kind of a dad he has been.

It was a full day and we’ll long remember it. Our friends Danny and Su dropped by with a peanut butter pie for Michael, along with a camouflage shirt and the love and ease that comes from years of friendship. Later on, Lorna and Steve came over with homemade brownies, a guitar and some music, and while Michael rested in our bedroom, they sang hymns to him. It was truly beautiful. Michael’s voice is almost gone, but during the choruses in “How Great Thou Art” and “Nothing But the Blood” he was singing his loudest and keeping time with his hands.

We were planning to go out to dinner at Michael’s favorite restaurant but had to cancel at the last minute when Sara and I couldn’t get him to the car. There are some mornings when Michael can still walk (very slowly, with tiny steps and much assistance) from the bed, down the hall, into the dining room for breakfast. But usually by early afternoon his ability to walk is almost gone. As we were trying to help him yesterday, step by step through the kitchen to the back door, he just couldn’t go any farther and was in a lot of pain, so we texted/called everyone and told them we couldn’t make it. πŸ™

It is very difficult to see these changes in my once active, vibrant, funny, strong husband. How much more difficult is it for him to live it? I know the grace of God is carrying him, but there are days when I know Michael fights hopeless thoughts.


One of the cards he received yesterday made him laugh. I have never understood why Michael (and many men) enjoy bathroom humor. I love a good laugh and have been known to have a warped sense of humor, but in my opinion flatulence is just not all that entertaining. One of his cards read on the outside, “Farting is an art.” And on the inside it said, “Happy Birthday Rembrandt.” Michael loved it.

You can see on our mantel a picture that Li’l Gleegirl drew of Grandpa, and that made me smile.

I might as well call this The Snow Blog, because yet again I report to you that a winter storm warning has been posted for our part of the country, and heavy snow is supposed to begin this afternoon. The storm will last 24 hours and we’ll again have mounds and piles of it everywhere. I’ve lived in Minnesota for 33 years and cannot remember a winter like this.

Yesterday was also Millie the schnauzer’s birthday — she turned eight. She got some extra pats and crooning, but that’s about it.

I saw this recently and thought it was pretty accurate:


Have a good weekend, friends!



  1. Roberta says:

    Through all his suffering and loss, Michael knows and values the love-filled Grace of his close-knit family. How amazing that he remains so open to the blessings of love he has been given. He is so present to everyone around
    him. I think he is exceptional. Praying, for Michael and for all your family.

  2. Just Julie says:

    Your words are always a balm, Roberta. Thank you so much, my friend. xoxo

  3. Patty says:

    I have never met Michael; I can only imagine him through your words. I agree that he must be exceptional! I hope that his physical failings are minimal and he continues to participate in life as fully as he is able. Maybe next year on his birthday you can all go out to breakfast!!! Look forward to that!!

    Lots of love and prayers!!!

  4. Just Julie says:

    Thank you Patty. Michael is exceptional, yes. πŸ™‚ A breakfast out for birthday number 66 would be a blessing indeed. Love to you too… xoxo

  5. Shari C. says:

    Happy Birthday to Michael! And love to you my dear friend!xoxo

  6. Just Julie says:

    Thank you, dear Shari… xoxo

  7. Helen in Switzerland says:

    I’m so glad to see that you are back Julie! And also that Michael had a good birthday – such a shame he couldn’t make it to dinner, but I guess that was beyond everyone’s control. The most important thing was that he was able to enjoy love, fun and friendship and felt truly cherished. Take care my friend!

  8. Just Julie says:

    Your perspective was good for me to read, Helen. Thank you! You have a perfect combination of compassion and common sense. xoxo

  9. sue raimo says:

    Welcome back! I’ve missed your anecdotes, reflections, and ponderings.

  10. Just Julie says:

    Thank you dear friend. xoxo

  11. Sara says:

    You’re a wonderful wife.

  12. Just Julie says:

    I think you’re a bit biased, dear dotter. xo

  13. Ganeida says:

    Happy Birthday, Michael! πŸ™‚

    More snow? πŸ™ Oh dear. Warm hugs from Down Under. It is so lovely to have you back! πŸ˜€

  14. Just Julie says:

    The snow is melting today, thank God. We think winter might truly be over and spring on its way. The mountains of snow are slowly going down. Hugs to you too, dear Ganeida. xoxo

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