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Monday, February 16, 2009

The Kind of Love I Want

     It was approximately 8.30 a.m. on a busy morning at the doctor's office when an elderly gentleman in his 80's arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated he was in a hurry to make an appointment by 9.00 a.m.
     I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it might be an hour before he would be seen. Seeing him look at his watch, I decided, since I was not busy with another patient I would evaluate his wound. On examination, I saw it was well healed so I talked to the doctor and got the supplies to remove his sutures.
     While redressing his wound, we engaged in conversation. I asked him if he was in a hurry to meet another doctor’s appointment. He said no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health. He said that she was a long-time victim of Alzheimer's Disease.
     I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was; in fact, she had not recognized him in five years. I was surprised and asked, “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn't know who you are?” He smiled, patted my head, and said, “She doesn't know who I am, but I still know who she is.”
     I had to hold back tears as he left. Goose bumps covered my arm as I thought, "That's is the kind of love I want in my life!"
     True love is neither physical nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be and will not be.

- Author Unknown

As I read this article, I could not hold back the tears either for as I read it I thought about my dad, and how he had done the same for my mother. Dad and Mum were married for 62 and a half years before mum passed away in 1996. For as long as he could possibly do so, dad took care of mum at home even though it was very difficult for him. Even then she did not know him much of the time and would often physically hit out at him and it was extremely difficult for him to do the things for her that needed to be done. Very reluctantly, after he had been ill, and the doctor told him he had to put mum in a home, he relented. After mum went to the home dad would go every day and sit with her, even though she did not recognize him. I remember one year, before my annual mission trip to England, I had arranged with my brother and sister and their families to meet at the home in the afternoon. Dad didn't even know I was coming. I arrived first. He looked up and saw me enter the lounge and started to say, "Hello" when he realized who it was. The others continued to come after that and we spent the rest of the day with them until it was time to leave and we took dad out for an evening meal.

Dad continued his ritual for a number of years until mum finally passed away on February 11, 1996. He only missed when he was too ill to leave the house. He would not have had it any other way. Even though they were not Christians and would not profess to have been such, they exemplified the love that husbands and wives should have for each other. I know mum would have done the same for dad had the situation been reversed. When mum died, we all thought that dad would not survive long without his “sweetheart” but he continued to live an active life for another nine years passing away on February 12, 2005 some nine years later. One of his last acts was to go to the grave site that he had so lovingly tendered for nine years on the anniversary of her passing. He passed away the next morning soon after rising and getting the mail as he was preparing to get a cup of tea before beginning his day.

Yes, dad and mum left a great example of love to their children and grandchildren. The love that dad showed for mum in those final years truly exemplifies what love should be.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it(Ephesians 5:25).

- via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org or e-mail: church@belvederechurchofchrist.org

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