I'll let you read the article first.
Go ahead, read it. I'll be here when you finish.
When I read the story about a marriage as long as theirs, I think of my grandparents. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last June and then last December my grandfather died unexpectedly from a stroke. Anytime I read of a couple married for that long, my mind wanders to the same places: to my grandparents, to how much I miss my grandfather (sp then I think of the struggle my grandmother must endure every day without the love of her life), and finally I think about what I hope my marriage will be. It's a topic that often creeps into my mind with my own wedding just over 5 months away. And inevitably, I then let my mind wander into the conversation of "wedding" versus "marriage" though that is another post, for another day.
There are many places in the article where I found my eyes welling with tears, sometimes from sadness but mostly from joy.
It took two or three hours to get through the pages, because she'd underline each sentence in every story with a black pen. After a while he found comfort in reading between the lines, because it was something they shared.
"Most couples have the most intensity in the beginning. But I was always working. So we had the best and most romantic part of our marriage at the end. We literally held hands for the last 20 years."
So Cousy worked hard to create the perception that his once-independent wife was vital and healthy.
To love that purely and that deeply is a gift. It makes my heart sing and puts a lump in my throat in a way that aches and feels beautiful at the same time.
The article discusses the progression of the wife's dementia and her fierce denial of dementia. The husband carefully planned out their days in order to maintain the independence his wife cherished, from moving their car to another state to putting in fake flowers. When I read that, I thought about Adam Sandler's character is 50 First Dates. Remember how he could recreate any kind of "normal" for Lucy, no matter how painstaking and frustrating it could be, because he loved her and wanted her to always feel good? That was a movie, but this is real. Was real. The man in this article really did those things for his wife, and not because he had to but because in doing so, it made her happy and that filled his heart with love.
This is the marriage I want. No, hopefully not one that ends with dementia, but one that is filled with acts large and small that bring happiness to my mate and to me. I enjoy the material things in life but I have to remind myself that those things don't matter in the end. I want to look back and see kind, selfless acts from me and from my husband that speak louder than any words could to the depths of our love. I want caring for each other to be the language of our love over many, many years. The small but gentle wake up in the morning when my alarm goes off for what feels like the hundredth time. Turning on the coffee pot even though he doesn't drink coffee. Turning the TV to the big game so it's ready to go when he gets home from a long day. Taking care of the chore that the other one hates to do, without being asked or reminded.
I hope that 60 years from next March, I can look back on the life B and I have built together and find the similarities between us and this couple. Between us and my grandparents.