Monday, March 3, 2014
Today my grandparents celebrated 63 years of marriage. It's hard for me to fathom 63 years of life on this earth, much less what 63 years married to one person must look like. For Grandma in these last few years, it's looked like a whole lot of work. A life altering sacrifice. My sweet Grandpa has been enduring the ugly, ravenous monster that is Alzheimer's, the disease that doesn't seem to stop until it's stripped a person of everything. Still, Grandma's courageous love for him has been unshakeable. Never stopping, never giving up.
Not too long ago, my Grandma told me over the phone that it had been a particularly rough day with Grandpa. I listened while she recounted his unsurprising stubbornness - one of his best qualities pre-Alzheimer's and the most difficult quality now - when it came to just about every part of his daily tasks.
But then she paused. And I'll never forget what she said: "I still remember watching him walk up the drive to pick me up for our first date. I was 16. It's still him. I love him, and I'll love him 'til the day I die."
Five years into our marriage, I can only hope for 58 more years of marriage to Shawn. I can only hope that when I look back over our lives, I'll look at him and say, It's still him. I love him, and I'll love him 'til the day I die. I can only hope that I'll be able to remember this afternoon. The day Shawn brought home Liam's first soccer ball from the store and unwrapped it excitedly, hoping for a reaction. I hope I'll remember the open field behind our first house. The hazy, glowing sun and warm wind that brought a welcome reprieve from a brutal winter. The way the light hit his hair. The way he picked up Liam so gently, loved him so deeply, smiled so big his eyes disappeared. The hopes we shared for our future as a family. It will still be him, and I will love him.
To my grandparents who have forged such a beautiful path ahead, thank you for the gift of your legacy. I know your love for each other isn't without flaws, but it sure is strong. And to your granddaughter who's been watching closely for the past 28 years, it's as beautiful as ever.