Sunday, April 19, 2009

Even in Death, Love Prevails

im a sucker for a really good romantic story. i dont sit and pine away for my Prince Charming, but i do enjoy true love in its rawest, most exposed form. think The Notebook...
i want to share my fave love story with you. its about two people, Joe and Liz, who fell in love in the 1940's. Joe was the product of a gorgeous but meek wife and an abusive alcoholic father, while Liz's parents were hardworking store owners and farmers. Liz caught Joe's eye in a high school English class, (she was helping kids in his class with their reading skills) and they quickly fell in love. Unfortunately, Liz's parents weren't too fond of the ultra handsome, ultra suave playboy, and forbid them from seeing each other much. Like any good love story, they did anyway. Liz had three children with Joe, two boys and a girl, and they planned to marry despite what their parents said, but in the end, respect for their parents won out over their love. Despite a few tries at eloping, it never happened...Liz left and went to New York for a while to get away from things, and when she got back, Joe had met someone else. She went on to marry a salesman, and Joe married as well. Both had several children in their marriages, and remained in touch, up until Liz passed at the age of 78.
now, if u read my blog regularly, u might remember me mentioning my grandmother, Lizzie. she is the object of female attraction in this story, and her childrens father, Joseph, is my mothers father. My mom is that daughter they had while they were together. there is so much more to this story though, there was so much between them that we as a family didnt notice, but its worth talking about.
I always knew my grandpa and grandma remained close friends. i always thought that it was a friendly "baby mama/baby daddy" type of relationship, and they lived two miles away from each other, but it was so much deeper than that. over the years, grandpa visited with my grandma several times a week, they would sit and talk for hours. My grandpa's wife learned early in their marriage that he would be friends with my grandmother, and there was pretty much nothing she could do about it. harsh, i know, but she never mistrusted him because he put that out in the open and gave her the choice to stay or not. they went thru a lot together, including burying one of their two sons who passed at the age of 19. when grandma first got sick, he continued to visit with her to support her in any way he could. when she passed, he didnt come to the didnt make sense why until a few weeks later on.
my sister went to talk to grandpa after grandma passed, and without asking, he proceeded to tell us what kind of woman she was: an honest, caring, individual, who, despite her undying and unwavering love for my grandpa, didnt step out of her marriage vows and remained faithful to her husband. he also said that she was the only woman he ever truly loved, and he loved her until the day she died. for this to mean something, u have to understand that my grandpa is a big, strapping, old school man, who is in that way of thinking where men dont discuss feelings, they dont say i love you, they dont cry, they are MEN. my sister said he teared up a bit talking about grandma, and then it made sense why he didnt come to the funeral: there was no way he would have made it thru the service. he loved her too much, and watching the love of his life being eulogized wouldnt have been easy on him at all, especially with your wife sitting next to you. it would have been hard to explain! but one thing he did do for her, was to help us with the bills for her service, and he told us whatever it was we wanted for her, to get it and he would pay for it.
a few weeks ago, grandpa called and said he hadnt been feeling well, we thought he'd had a stroke, and after being threatened by my mom and her siblings, he finally went to the hospital. my mom, as well as her step mom, thought he might just be moody and sad because of grandmas death, but as it turns out, he had a brain tumor. surgery removed 80% of it, but it was cancerous, so once again, we are faced with the realization that he, too, is dying. not even a year after grandma, her one true love is about to join her, and maybe then they can be together the way it was meant to be.
i dont tell this story to be sad, i tell it to make us take advantage of what love we have in our lives, to find friendship in lost loves, to make the most of the past and use it to preserve the future. their love spanned over 60 years and was 110% the entire fighting, no bickering, some regrets, but no bitterness: the way i hope to look back on my lifetime and view things...
i hope that you've found your one true love, and if you haven't, keep your head up.