Tuesday, April 1, 2014

30 Day Photo Challenge, Day 24 ~ Love

About six weeks ago my 95 year old father in law had a stroke.  It was not life threatening, but it was life altering, rendering him incapable of swallowing or speaking.  He has had dementia for the past several years, and his two remaining pleasures in life were eating and the ability to joke around with people.  It just seemed plain cruel that these two pleasures were taken from him.

Last week he and my mother in law celebrated 58 years of marriage.  We set up a little "party" (without cake and ice cream!) in a room at the nursing home where my f-i-l now lives.  All available local relatives came.  We wore party hats and played kazoos and sang to them.

Like relationships can be, theirs has been a mixture of good and bad.  Honestly I have not always found a lot in their marriage that I wanted to emulate.  But you have to be doing something right to make it 58 years.  My m-i-l is watching the deterioration of her beloved happen before her very eyes, and she is doing it with incredible courage.  For all the things that have looked, from the outside, to be "less than", what it boils down to is love.

She loves him.

He loves her.

He cannot speak to her, comfort her, laugh with her, or advise her.  She gets nothing from him in this current state except the pleasure of being in his company, him whom she has loved for nearly 60 years.  She comes to the nursing home every day and sits with him for several hours.  Talks with him.  Does crossword puzzles out loud.  Watches TV and talks about it.  Chats up all the nurses and nurse aides.  She is working out her marriage vows.  She is loving him "in sickness" and "for worse."

In this very difficult, final stage of their marriage, I am finding quite a lot that I want to emulate.

No comments: