What is love?

“Until death us do part”
I well remember saying this twenty three years ago.
As I placed a wedding ring on my husbands finger, I said those words with feeling.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/grobleto/2048742143/">robleto</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
Looking at him that day, I had no doubt that nothing or no one would come between us.
We were for keeps. I loved him and he loved me.
Only the finality of death could part us.

There was no room for doubt.
Isn’t youth just wonderful?
If only life was that simple.

I look at celebrity life all around us.
Those involved in cinema, reality TV, music etc.
They fall in love today, marry quickly,
and within weeks, months or occasionally a few years, fall in love elsewhere.
It would appear that in everyday life the word “love” has lost it’s meaning.

“Love you” my kids say, flippantly without a thought, to their friends.
Often when speaking about each other they exclaim loudly,
“OMG I love her!”.

Surely they don’t mean they really love her.
Have they any idea what love really is?

Thankfully my husband and I have made it thus far,
but I would think more by luck than love!
I was very young when I married, and have changed so much.
So too has my husband. And the arrival of four children certainly changed our marriage.
It was just lucky that we both liked the people we evolved into.
As a result I still love him, and it would appear he still loves me,
(or maybe he just can’t afford a separation!).

I heard a story the other day, which really got me thinking about this topic of marriage, and lifetime love.

A friend of mine was out and she parked her car in a car park.
It was dark and the car park was relatively empty.
As she got out of her car she thought she heard a faint high pitched voice in the distance.
“Help me, help me”.

Initially she thought it might be a child.
She made her way in it’s direction and came to a car.
Inside the car was an elderly lady and an equally elderly gentleman.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/3275748024/">Ed Yourdon</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">cc</a>
It was the lady who was shouting, in a frail tired voice, for help.

My friend eventually understood that the ladies husband had Alzheimers.
They had arrived earlier and all was well, but on return to their car he had become confused.
He forgot he could no longer drive and was insisting he could.
His wife had the car keys and refused to hand them over to him.
He had a tight hold of her arm and would not let go.
She was trapped, with an increasingly aggressive husband.

Eventually, with help, my friend managed to get them both out of the car.
The elderly lady was very shook and frightened.
She was unable to move the arm he had been holding.
It would appear they had arrived in daylight and as it was now dark,
it was probable she had been “a prisoner” for quite a while.

It is at this point that I thought the story got so very sad.
This frail old lady began to beg my friend not to let him come home with her.
She became quite upset.

For whatever reason this caused her husband to change.
Unaware of what he had done, he began to call her name and kiss her hand,
beseeching her to calm down.
He became the man who obviously loved her deeply,
the one she was married to before Alzeimers.

It was decided to have the ladies arm checked out,
and my friend left them in the care of an ambulance crew.
However it’s a story which has not left me.

We all marry wearing our rose tinted glasses.
Ours is going to be a great life.
We were made for each other.
Yet for all marriages there are tests.

My own Dad got Motor Neurone Disease in his late forties.
My mom who had already looked after her own parents in our home,
now became her relatively young husbands full time carer.
She stuck with him, through the darkest of days, “until death they did part”.

A friend of mine also told me of an elderly gentleman she knows.
For the past fifteen years he has gone to visit his wife in a nursing home.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/3275748024/">Ed Yourdon</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">cc</a>
For many years now she has no idea who he is, yet he has lunch with her every day.

Some people say “til death do us part” but never last that long.
For others it really is the only thing that will ever separate them.

That, to my mind is truly what love is.

photo credit: robleto via photopin cc
photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc
photo credit: Ed Yourdon via photopin cc

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33 thoughts on “What is love?

  1. This is so true. People use the word ‘love’ too openly and without much meaning. Love is to me like a mirror. Whatever you give out, will be a complete image of yourself. If you truly love someone, it will show. You’ll be happy, your smiles will radiate and become contagious. But if you aren’t, and you’re just saying it to strictly say it or you don’t know what it truly means, you might be happy, but you won’t be truly happy.

    Love isn’t easy either, it isn’t a fairytale. It takes hard work, patience and a shot of whiskey every once in a while. But if you truly love someone, you’d do it all just because you want to.

    1. You are spot on. Relationships are not easy and I find a glass of wine helpful! If you do find love it can be a magical thing though, just as you described.
      Here’s hopefully to a lifetime of loving.

      1. Here, Here! My hubby and I have made it 4 years and we are looking to spend 50 more together. I hope you and yours do the same.

        Even though my hubby is a brat(I’m STILL irate over yesterday’s little submission stunt xD) I love him with all my heart.

  2. I hope you don’t mind but I will re blog this post. I completely agree that the words ‘love you’ are too flippantly used nowadays. And the land of celebrity also seem to make a mockery of marriage. Great post!!! 🙂

    1. I don’t mind at all. I’m glad you enjoyed it. That couples story still haunts me. None of us know what is ahead, but I still hope “til death us do part”

      1. Fab!

        Same here! My hubby and I have been through a lot over the years and we still love each other, probably even more now than when we said ‘I do’. We have found that our experiences have made us a stronger partnership 🙂 So definitely ’til death us do part’ x

    1. Thanks. I think a lifetime of love is a great aspiration, but this poor lady must have been having such a hard time, one minute seeing her love, the next losing him.

  3. What a sad, yet beautiful post. The story of the elderly couple was very touching. Till death do us part – that’s how it should be. I believe that if people would be patient in finding the right one and wait, instead of jumping into a relationship, then there would be many more of those stories. Unfortunately, people aren’t patient. They also don’t take the time to look through those rose colored glasses, to see the real person who’s standing in front of them. People are blinded by love (aka lust).

    1. Yes, whilst I was with my husband for a few years before we married, the fact remains we married young. I really think it was luck that we became people we both liked, because we grow up so much in our twenties and change. However I think we’re doing good and I really hope we get to the finishing line together.

  4. Amazing, isn’t it, that some people stay in love for decades? My next door neighbor, now a widow, went to visit her husband, who was in a nursing home some distance away, nearly every day FOR YEARS! That is the kind of love that leaves me awestruck.

  5. What an incredible post. I loved reading every word. My grandparents were that way. They were married a little over 70 years when my grandmother passed away. My grandfather was bedridden for a couple years and she loved him, cared for him, honored him until that day. When I got married 26 years ago, the same year my grandparents celebrated their 50th, I told my husband I wanted a marriage like that.

    1. I think it’s hugely helpful to a marriage to see others like your grandparents staying together so very long. Looks like you’re getting there yourself!

  6. Without trying to be flippant, I have purposely increased my usage of the words “love you”over the last year or so. I was reminded that sometimes the people closest to us need the most reminders of our affection and that endless stories of love will be useless after my loved one is gone.
    Still, I agree with you that few seem to know what love is these days. Fewer still have the required commitment to nurture and grow that love for decades of life together.
    Personally, I am coming up on 10 years with my wife this summer, and I am still amazed at her ability to love and stay with me. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 will bring.

    1. I understand fully your using the word “love” more freely. That is not necessarily using it flippantly. My husband is not an “I Love You” kind of fella, but he has learned to be!
      Congrats on your ten years, I hope you get to the end together.

  7. What a thoughtful post. Even when love is true and devoted it can sometimes be so heartbreaking to watch. I’ve seen these things lived out in front of me because of my job. Thank you for sharing this Tric. It reminds me to not be casual about my love to my husband.

  8. Wise words. My neighbor was very emotional the other day – he had met man in the village whose wife had just died, who had cried and said: “People say that they are sorry she died, but they don’t realize that she wasn’t just someone. She was my wife for sixty years”. Marriage is all about being a team through thick and thin. So is love. Most o the time, they go together (as the song says).

    1. Yes, but I hope it wont be like this elderly couple. We all like to imagine we will live long and healthy lives which is my dream anyway. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  9. What a lovely post, and what a sad story about the elderly couple but ultimately happy too in that it demonstrates real “love”. I use “love you” a lot – but it’s with my children (and even my husband when he’s lucky!) so it’s also true love 🙂

  10. Wonderful if sad story. Thank you. I worked on a Memory Disorder Unit in the Hospital which basically was for patient’s with so type of Memory Disorder and Medical problem which meant they needed to be on a locked unit with staff trained in both areas.

    I think your marriage lasted through working at it, people forget or don’t know that is required.

    1. Thank you I agree, both a wonderful story and very sad. As a nurse I too saw my fair share of those with Alzheimers.
      Yes my husband and I have worked at marriage but we have also grown into people we still like, and that I think is lucky.

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