Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Impact of MWW on Men and their Wives by Karen O'Hara Rubin

My husband and I moved to Asheville, NC four years ago after just one visit six weeks prior.  We were ready for a change of pace and a better quality of life.

One of our first ventures was to begin taking classes at OLLI UNC Asheville's College for Seniors to meet other like-minded people.  On our first day we checked out special interest group displays and found a few things of interest. But the most meaningful connection was made at the display table for Men's Wisdom Works.

At first my husband wasn't interested in it because he perceived it to be something akin to group therapy.  I understood it to be a men's group to address men's issues in retirement, and kept encouraging him to give it a try, which eventually he did.  I had lots of bonding opportunities through book clubs, a golf group, and AAUW; but as is typical, we had no idea there would be something like this for him.

As I sit here a few years later, I couldn't have conceived the support and true friendships made as a result of him joining this group.  He enjoyed several close connections unlike any he had made while working.  The men from this group and their families rallied around us in an unexpected time of great need, when he was diagnosed and lost his battle with cancer a year ago.  And most surprising to me, is how all the men in his group continue to be there to offer support to me.  He would be so pleased.

I'm grateful these much needed men's groups were available, especially in our time of great need. 

Below is the epitaph my husband chose for us to remember him.

When I die
Give what's left of me away
to children
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better 
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me in the people I've known
Or loved,
And if you can't give me away,
At least let me live on in your eyes
And not in your mind.

You can love me most
By letting
Hands touch hands,
And by letting go
Of children
That need to be free.

Love doesn't die,
People do.
So, when all that's left of me
Is love,
Give me away.


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