These are my parents, Herman and Clara. I am reading a book called The Unveiled Wife with a group of people on Facebook. We are only on chapter 2 but it has gotten me thinking about this wonderful couple.
One of the questions to reflect on for that chapter is "In what ways has your parents' relationship shaped your character?" The other one that got me thinking about them was, "What behaviors-both good and bad- do you have that you recognize as by-products of your childhood?"
First of all, my parents had the best marriage I could ever have the honor of looking up to. As I reflect on this they had the best examples as well, no wonder they had it so together.
Mom and Dad were married July 30, 1966 and their marriage was inspirational from day one. They were ALWAYS together. They went to so many church dinners etc up until Dad couldn't transfer Mom as easy anymore. I don't ever remember them going to functions separately. I even remember Dad telling Mom, "I really want to go to (some function) but you aren't going with me so I don't really want to go." Dad often didn't go somewhere because he wanted mom to go along and she couldn't or wasn't invited. I'm that way now too. I don't like to go somewhere without Tom. Although I do enjoy being alone from time to time. LOL
They worked side-by-side on the farm. If we were working on the farm together all day (often baling hay) dad would take us out to eat that night. "Mom worked hard for/with me all day she deserves the time off." He didn't always give a gift for special occasions, but he gave her little gifts and showed his appreciation often.
I always enjoyed watching them dance together. They moved as one unit. Dad was much taller than Mom and I don't ever remember them stepping on each other's toes. What I wouldn't do to watch them glide across the floor just one more time.
I remember in November of 2014 Dad had to go to the hospital for his heart. (His pacemaker had shocked him in July and he didn't do anything about it. Didn't tell anyone but my one brother, who thought it was no big deal.) We stopped at the nursing home to tell mom what was going on. She was in tears. I left the room to give them some time. When dad got out of the hospital he didn't go directly to her at the home, but she knew he was home and ok. I took him to the home a few days later. When we walked in she was napping. When she opened her eyes it was like young lovers looking at each other. I felt like a third wheel. LOL
That look happened a lot between them.
When we were all called to the Nursing Home because the end was near for mom he didn't want to leave the room. We had a hard time convincing him that she would be ok. I sat with the two of them one day during that time. Dad sat by her bed, head in his hands, and prayed. He kept touching her and whispering to her. I took a photo of this but it doesn't even begin to show the emotion that I could feel in that room. (I have only shared that photo with one person because I feel it is so personal.) Mom left us on Febr. 6, 2015. Dad would never be quite the same.
I almost forgot to include Dad's last act of love for Mom. As we were planning the funeral with the director Dad looked at him with tears in his eyes and asked if he could push mom in and out of church one last time. He had been pushing her in the wheelchair for a few years and felt the need to push her one more time. He also asked if he could put something in the casket with her. The mortician agreed to both requests. Right before they closed the casket dad put a small Snicker bar in mom's hands. With all the strength he could bring to the surface during the time of his greatest sorrow he pushed the casket up the aisle of the church (which mind you is no small church) before the Mass and back out of church for his one last act of love. The sight alone brought many people to tears.
Shortly after Mom died Dad was in the hospital. He kept telling us something wasn't right. The doctors couldn't find anything wrong with him. They even told my brother, "there is such a thing as a broken heart." He insisted he was good enough to be at home, but we were worried. We tried to convince him to go to Assisted Living, but he just couldn't do it. In July of 2015 he fell and fractured his pelvis. Then he had no choice. In September we celebrated his 79th birthday. It was a beautiful day with his brother and sisters there. On December 4 he joined mom in heaven. I truly believe that he couldn't/wouldn't celebrate Christmas without mom.
As for the by products of their love, I hope I'm living with even half the dedication and love of my husband that they had for each other. Dad did have a bad habit of clamming up or suddenly being quiet when he felt he wasn't being heard or getting his way. I've now been told I do the same thing. So I guess that's something I need to work on.
All I know is that I hope when I'm gone people will be saying the beautiful things about my marriage that people have been saying about my parents. When a person who only knew them for a couple months says, "I can only dream and hope that my marriage is as strong as theirs after 49 years."
They weren't here on earth to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary about a week ago, but we gathered anyway and celebrated for them. Yes...their love continues.