Today is Valentine's Day, and Rich Fabend has written a very timely guest post about lasting love (not just chocolates and flowers!) For those who think the title of this post sounds familiar, they're from a song by Foreiger. Enjoy!
Since Valentine’s Day is Monday I will give you an example of what love is because I can’t show you. My wife Marge and I have been married 45 years. At my son’s wedding I was asked to give a brief talk. The following quote was part of what I said: “The last 29 years have been the best of my life. Marge and I have shared laughter and tears, good times and bad, joys and sorrows; but more then that, we have shared our dreams, our inner most thoughts, our strengths, our frailties, and we have shared our love. Marge has always been there when I have needed support. Things that happen to me when we are apart are not complete until I share them with her. Only with Marge can I truly be myself and completely relax.”
Less then 5 years later I had my accident. The accident did not just happen to me, it happened to my family but since we had an “empty nest” it was really Marge who had to shoulder the majority of the responsibilities. The readjustment was greater than we ever anticipated. It took a long time. I like to tell people that our dog realized in a few weeks what it took me years to figure out and that was that Marge was now the alpha member of the family. Many couples, unfortunately, do not survive the consequences of a readjustment of this magnitude. We were very fortunate to head into it with a strong relationship built up over 35 years. More often than not people tend to focus on me and the challenges that I have had to deal with. I think many give little thought to the tremendous responsibilities placed on the spouse. My wife epitomizes the wedding vows and lives up to Tammy Wynette’s call to “Stand By Your Man”. Marge, not only cooks and manages our home, she also oversees all my care issues, chauffeurs me everywhere I have to go and puts me to bed every night. I owe my good health and lack of complications to Marge’s supervising my care.
The hardest part of my adjustment is having to watch Marge deal with the physical tasks that have been thrust on her. Yesterday and today February 10 and 11 we received several feet of snow (check the roof of the dog house in the picture). We have a wonderful neighbor who keeps our driveway plowed and open. But there is still a lot of physical work she must do like shoveling the front walk and bringing in firewood. There are also activities she chooses to do like feeding the birds. After my accident we decided that the birds would be a wonderful source of entertainment for both of us. I have built some bird feeders and we have feeding stations all around our house. The snow from the storm is waist deep so movement off paths is extremely difficult. Both yesterday and today I had to watch Marge shovel her way across the lawn, pulling a sled full of birdfeed behind her. She had to shovel in several different places to reach all the feeders. She returned to the house tired from her struggles. Why does she do it? After all it is not necessary; the birds would survive anyway. Marge struggles to feed the birds because she loves them and because she loves me. So Foreigner that’s only one small example of what love is!
P.S. If you know Marge please don’t mention this blog to her because she doesn’t want me to write about her.