Thursday, July 29, 2010

Let me call you Sweetheart . . .

I always seem to think that I've been married a long time until I am in the presence of my elders. I have a friend who has been married now for almost 6 decades. He tells me that he has been with his wife (who he always refers to as sweetheart) for longer than he's been away from her. I think I can say the same thing. . . but they've been married longer than I've been alive.

Anyway my friend was sick in the hospital, really sick. He has had several serious conditions any one of which would make me cry with despair. Any one of which could kill him. As he laid there he had to tell me what was really bothering him. "Do you want to know what is the worst thing about all this," he said. I expected to hear him tell me how bad the hospital food was. Instead he grabbed my hand and said "The worst thing about all of this is I can't be with my sweetheart. There were tears in his eyes.

His habit you see was to go to the nursing home where his wife lived and feed her, since she couldn't feed herself. Alzheimer's had taken her mind some time ago. As I stood there looking at my friend I felt an awe, a reverence. Something that is more reserved for things that are holy.

My mind raced. I thought what a perfect thing. At his time of life to be so lost in love for his sweetheart that his physical condition was only a mild distraction compared to the pain of being away from his sweetheart.

My dear friend, I want you to know how much you taught me that day. You have encouraged my resolve so that when I get to the bend in the road where you are now I too will care for naught but my sweetheart. Thank you for taking the time to shake my hand. It was an honor indeed.