Love doesn't have to last a lifetime, sometimes it just does.
You wonder what makes it work that way and some of the obvious answers that come to mind are: Commitment, loyalty, effort.
Those are correct answers, too; but after, say, 50 years, if your heart feels like it has no reason to beat if it is without the person you love, there has to be some deeper meaning attached to the relationship.
While that is a topic for some other day, here are stories that will make you believe that maybe when you love with your soul, your body somehow knows it. That is to say that maybe it is not just a mold made of flesh and bones that keeps you alive. It understands feelings.
1. I'll start with the story which has resonated with millions over last few days. Narrated by a woman for Humans of New York, it goes something like this.
The woman's father was in madly in love with his wife, her mother. 'Obsessed' is the word she chooses to use. So, in their early years as a couple, he'd sing to her and do everything to let her know that she is his world.
He never left her side, until her soul left her body. She had brain tumour. But as she was leaving the world, he told her, "You won’t be alone. I’m coming with you".
And something inside him just died with his wife passing away. He waited though, and did what needed to be done in order to be next to his love. He bought a land near her grave, and then, possibly knowing that they will always be together in some way, he passed away too.
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“He had five daughters. And whenever he came home from a work trip, we’d all line up to give him a kiss. But he always kissed my mom first, because she was his ‘first love.’ Then he went on to his ‘second love,’ and his ‘third love.’ On weekends we’d all pile into the car and take these long road trips. We’d drive for hours, and the whole way he’d be singing to my mother. It was a normal thing for us, because we were used to it. But that kind of affection wasn’t normal in our culture. We used to have these karaoke parties with our extended family, and everyone else would sing normal songs. But Papa would choose these old, romantic Bollywood songs. And he’d sing directly to Mama. She loved every second of it. She’d get dressed up for him. She’d put on her brightest red lipstick. And she’d do her hair just as he liked it—even after she got sick. The tumor was deep in her brain. After every surgery, more and more of her would slip away. When she couldn’t walk properly anymore, she grew embarrassed of her limp. So Papa held her hand wherever they went. He’d sit next to her bed, and stroke her cheek, and recite the Quran until his lips went dry. Some nights he’d fall asleep sitting up in his chair, but then he’d wake up, and begin praying again. In her final moments, when she was slipping away, he leaned close to her and whispered: ‘You won’t be alone. I’m coming with you.’ I heard him say it. And I got so angry. It seemed selfish to me—as if the rest of us weren’t worth living for. But all his children were grown. Most of us had our own families. And I guess he felt like there was nothing left for him. Every day he visited Mama’s grave, even though we told him not to. He applied for the plot next to her, and every few hours he’d ask if the cemetery had called. He was obsessed. When the paperwork finally arrived— I rolled my eyes. But he got very quiet. For the next two days he barely said a word. Then on the third morning, he walked in our front door and told me he wasn’t feeling well. I bent down to help him with his shoes, but he collapsed on the floor. There wasn’t time for him to suffer. Because by the time the ambulance arrived, he was already gone.”
2. Another beautiful story is that of a man grieving the demise of his wife. Looking back at his life with her, he says:
The definition of love is elusive, which is why we write about it endlessly. Even Shakespeare couldn’t touch it...Romeo and Juliet didn’t know if they liked the same books or movies. It was just physical. After 62 years, it becomes something different entirely.
Remembering how every aspect of their lives was linked, he then expresses the ache in his heart.
My wife used to say, "We are one". Now that she’s gone, I realize how right she was.
Maybe then, love is a routine you don't mind following.
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“My wife passed away last January. We’d been married for 62 years. You caught me at a time when I’ve been thinking a lot about love because I’m reading Shakespeare’s sonnets. The definition of love is elusive, which is why we write about it endlessly. Even Shakespeare couldn’t touch it. All the greatest love stories just seem to be about physical attraction. Romeo and Juliet didn’t know ifthey liked the same books or movies. It was just physical. After 62 years, it becomes something different entirely. My wife used to say: ‘We are one.’ And believe me, she was not the type of person to overstate something. Now that she’s gone, I realize how right she was. So much of our lives were linked. We were very physical and affectionate. But we also shared every ritual of our life. I miss her every time I leave a movie and can’t ask for her opinion. Or every time I go to a restaurant and can’t give her a taste of my chicken. I miss her most at night. We got in bed together at the same time every night.”
3. This one is straight of The Notebook where an old couple died within minutes of each other in their early 90s.
It was decades ago that Francis, an underprivileged boy, fell in love with Norma, the daughter of affluent parents.
But they loved each other, right? So it didn't matter. She'd write letters to him and he would just wait for the day they would get married.
It happened and they lived a very happy life. Years later, the family found out Norma was suffering from Alzheimer's disease and at one point, had to be hospitalised. Meanwhile Francis broke his hip, so the two were put together in the same room.
Eventually, they both passed away, within minutes of each other. But in their final moments, they were together, they were one. As their daughter puts it:
Dad was bed-bound, in pain and confused. Mum just watched him. If he refused to eat, she refused to eat. If he refused water, so did she. She was mimicking his behaviour. Some call it 'twinning', when two minds are perfectly in tune with each other.
4. Next is a heartbreaking account of a man who decided to live happily for the sake of his wife, after her passing. Because that is what she would have wanted.
A Twitter thread about an elderly couple, tells how both of them used to come and take medicines from a chemist shop.
They'd talk to people at the store and just ask how everyone was doing generally. It was all good until one day, only the man came to the shop.
He eventually shared that he did not need new drugs. In fact, he wanted to return those he had bought for his wife because she had died.
"..My wife..she passed yesterday night. I'm actually here to return the medications because she wasnt even able to use it."— James Morales (@isthisjames) September 12, 2017
He added that he will continue to look after himself because that is what she would have desired, and left the place with an advice every human on this planet should swear by:
Make sure to tell the ones you love how much they mean to you, before you dont have the chance to anymore.
Here is the thread:
Today I had one of, if not, THE saddest experience of my life. I know most of yall wont care but, I just HAVE to share it. Heres my thread.— James Morales (@isthisjames) September 12, 2017
5. Lastly, here is the real-life tale that will make you realise that in love, sometimes one doesn't even need to communicate with words. Mere presence is enough.
In what reminds me of The Notebook again, the couple met when they were really young and fell in love.
But their's was not the kind of relationship which was based on big gestures. From relationship to marriage, everything came organically.
And they lived a fulfilling life, until one day the wife started forgetting things. This is when the man of her life, stepped up and decided to do everything that he could, for her.
In a Humans of New York feature, the man said:
She likes to slip her hand under my shirt to feel my skin. And she still likes to kiss. Sometimes she starts ‘yakking.’ She doesn’t say actual words. And it doesn't make any sense. But I never tell her to be quiet, because it’s better than nothing at all.