Monday, March 16, 2015
A Beautiful Love Story
With the exception of one slice, my writing since Thursday evening has been generated while in the hospital keeping vigil on my mother. The hospital is an interesting place, full of diverse people who have truly given my mother excellent quality care. People who are kind and compassionate, willing to share a bit of them selves to strike up a conversation with my mother.
In that respect I equate them much to my own profession of teaching. Sometimes hospitals get a bad rap, like teachers, because people don’t see behind the scenes. However, having practically lived here for the past five days, I have been privileged to see the other side.
Shouldering much responsibility and many patients, (like teachers) my mother’s nurse nevertheless managed to have many a cheerful word, and her touch always seemed gentle. She patiently answered our many questions, although I am sure she had a million other things to do.
Likewise, her OT was beyond patient. She sat down and helped feed my mom her Cream of Wheat, patiently coaxing her to eat every bite. While doing so she struck up a conversation with her about her name, and accent. (Many can hear my mom’s Norwegian accent – except me) This conversation led to an exchange of what I can only call true love stories.
She began by telling us about her dad. At 86 he was still working in NYC! Her parents, she said, had been married forever. The first part of their story takes place along the beaches of the Dominican Republic….
…Imagine a man around 35, no longer in the bloom of youth, but not old either. He is walking along the beach and looks across the street. He spies a young woman, standing in the door, visible from the waist up. (In the Caribbean, doors often open from just the top half. Something arrests his attention. Could it be her beauty? Some intangible quality that draws him to her?
She waves back. Then her grandmother pulls her out of sight and shuts the door – firmly.
The man walks over, knocks on her door. The young woman, blushing in the background, smiles. He asks if he can court her and is given an unequivocal NO.
The man goes home and gets his grandfather. Together, they return to her dwelling and knock on the door again. They request permission for him to court her – again and are told – no. Well then, could he marry her? The young woman is interested. Somehow, he finally receives permission to court her.
The couple is not allowed to be alone. When they are in the same room, many relatives – aunts and uncles – are present. They are never really allowed to touch or be alone until the wedding when he puts the ring on her finger.
She was fifteen years younger than him and yet, their marriage has endured the test of time and change. They moved here to America. They had a family. And they have been married 51 years.
Who is to say what will predict success in a marriage? Or even define it? Or how long one must know their partner before taking vows. Their’s is a story of love at first sight. I treasure it, as it made my mother happy today.
Oh, and just a little something else – my parents knew each other three days before deciding to marry. They have been blessed with 62 wonderful years. But that is a love story for another day.