Saturday, March 11, 2006

a legacy of love

I visited my grandfather this week. Grandpa still lives in his own home, at age almost 92, and is still as sharp as a tack. Two days before I visited, he had overbalanced and fallen, bruising his hip and shoulder. Thankfully there were no other injuries, besides his wounded dignity. We ate some fruit loaf together, and talked.

Visiting Grandpa is always tinged with a little sadness, because my Grandma is no longer alive. Grandpa and Grandma were a real team, and my grandfather still misses her keenly, although it has been 11 years since she died. Grandma and Grandpa had such a profound love for each other - I suppose that kind of love doesn't just die when one partner dies.

As a teenager, hoping to one day find a long-lasting relationship myself, it was my grandparents' marriage that I held up as an ideal. This was partly because my parents' marriage was clearly not something I wanted for myself. This was also because, although they occasionally quarrelled, Grandpa and Grandma never disrespected each other, and in daily life they were loving, affectionate and playful together. They thanked each other for chores one did for the other. They kissed hello and goodbye, even if my grandfather was merely going out into the paddocks for a few hours. They laughed at each others' jokes. Anyone who spent time with my grandparents could see the happiness they brought to each other - it glowed all around them like a double aura.

My grandparents were married for over 50 years. They worked hard to establish themselves; Grandpa built their house himself, and Grandma made it a comfortable home. They raised 2 children, and saw their children have children. They travelled together, to Europe and to North America. They shared many joys, and few sadnesses, in their life.

My Grandma was ill for many months before she died, but she was lucid up until her last few hours. Grandpa cared for her at home, and Grandma died in her own bed, with her beloved soul mate beside her.

Just a few days before Grandma died -when she was painfully thin, and weak, and barely able to whisper - Grandpa came into their bedroom to check on my grandmother. Finding Grandma on his side of the bed, Grandpa teased his girl, saying, "What are doing over here, pet?". Grandma smiled, and touched a hand to his cheek. "Looking for you, Romeo!", she replied.

I wasn't present in the room during that brief exchange. My grandfather told me the story. It's a story I'll treasure and remember always.


John Cowart said...

Oh, this is a treasure indeed!
Ginny and I want to be like your grandparents.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Jelly...thank you for sharing such a wonderful story with us. Your grandpa means so much to you, and the memories that you have of your grandma & grandpa are so endearing. It touched my heart to hear you speak so proudly of their marriage together & to hold it up in such high esteem.
I'm sure that your grandma was proudly smiling down, from heaven at you, as you wrote this wonderful tribute about her and grandpa. And she is also thankful that grandpa is being looked after by such a loving & kind granddaughter as yourself.

Kerri said...

Lovely! It's wonderful to hear about such a loving relationship. I have to admit to a few tears in my eyes reading the last part. What a dear couple.
You and your grandpa have a real treasure in each other. I'm sure he loves your visits.
I enjoy sharing your writings with my husband. He gets a chuckle too :)

Motherkitty said...

I wish my grandparents, and my parents, were still alive so I could share sweet moments such as you describe. I would give all that I own to spend time with all of them again.

Thank you for sharing such a warm relationship with all of us. I'm sure your grandpa appreciates your love and affection. I'm happy for him that he did not suffer a fracture or other debilitating injuries with his recent fall.

Isn't he lucky to be able to know his great-grandchildren?

manababies said...

Such a nice story. You put a smile on my face today :).

donna y said...

What a remarkable love story! You made me cry with that one. I think all of us hope for something that spectacular in life.

Anonymous said...

I've only know one couple who lasted over 50 years. My great aunt and uncle. They were simular to your grandparents.

My relationship to my husband has never been that way!

So sad!

Gopher said...

A wonderful story for sure.

susan said...

Get him to tell his stories and write them down, or get a video camera and tape him telling them, as Nike says - Just Do It!

Glad you can still visit with him, thanks for sharing.

TUFFENUF said...

How lucky you are to have had your grandparents to pattern your life and marriage after. Their relationship is reflected in the way you live your life. We can tell that by other stories that you have told us. Thanks again for sharing your innermost thoughts. You are a real gem, Jellyhead!

Alice said...

What a treasured memory. As Susan says, it would be wonderful to have more of Grandpa's stories, but if not, then at least we have you writing them down in your own inimitable style - with humour, passion, tenderness, respect and deep love. Thank you so much for every story you write. They are always a blessing in our day.

Flossy said...

What a beautiful love story. It's always so uplifting to hear of couples that last the distance with love and affection. It seems so rare these days.

Your grandpa sounds like a treasure :)

Hugs xx

jellyhead said...

Aw, gee, everyone, *thank you* for telling me you enjoyed this story. I'm so glad. It encourages me to keep writing.


The Four Bears in the Woods said...

What a touching story. That is so sweet the way your grandparents were with each other. It brought tears to my eyes. I really enjoyed it as I do all of your stories.

Mama Bear

Sweetie said...

I came by way of Heather's blog *blushes*, actually I've lurked before but this is my first comment.

This post brought a tear to my eye. What a lovely post about your Grandparents. So nice that you got to spend some quality time with your Grandfather as well.