Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Best Has Been

Grow old along with me
the best is yet to be.

—Robert Browning (1812-1889)

This poem often comes into my mind when I think of my grandparents. For 72 years they have loved each other and grown old side by side. However, today after growing old together my grandmother heard the hard news that this may be their last day together. Even in the nursing home they have shared a room.

Though I will miss my grandfather and cherish the wonderful memories we have shared, I can't imagine the pain my grandmother is going through. Much of her adult life shes has been lovingly "mothering" her husband. My grandfather was raised not by his family, but by a single woman. His own family had too many children to care for so Mrs. Bogart took him in. This was in an age when things were not as legally tracked as they are now. His birth certificate contains his birth name, but by the time he was 21 his marriage certificate states his last name as Bogart. When I questioned him many years ago about it I found that there was no legal paperwork that went through a court for this change. My grandmother never held a job outside the home and often scolded my grandfather when he ate too much sugar or didn't take as much care with his health. This meet a deep need in my grandfather to be mothered, but also my grandmother loved doing it. They have always called each other "mommy" and "daddy," something Rich and I also do.

My grandparents celebrated their 50th anniversary the year I got married. At that time I just couldn't imagine being married that long. Now after 22 years it isn't quite as hard to imagine. The only question in my mind is will we be old enough to be married that long.

3 comments:

Mrs.RGS said...

My heart aches at the thought of your grandmother saying an earthly goodbye to her life partner. How does someone learn to live after such a drastic change? I cannot imagine the pain of that separation.
Remember when we were 20 and the age 50 seemed OLD? Now I think 85 is old. 20 years from now I'll think 100 is old. It is relative.
Rita

Kim said...

My mom called and said that my grandfather has totally amazed his doctor. He expected that my grandfather wouldn't make it through the day and by the next morning he was half sitting up in bed and they are now talking about moving him to a nursing home. They have had to take him off his heart medicine due to his pneumonia, but he still seems to be growing a bit stronger.
We are a stubborn lot, at least I know where I get it from.

Mrs.RGS said...

Praise God. My grandmother gave us several "false starts" as well. How else would they have life this long in the first place!!!!
Rita