Hospice · My Thoughts

How Do You Stay Married 75 Years? What Happened?

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Something happened for a couple days to wordpress.com and my blog , so I am wondering if you saw this blog post. I couldn’t see any statistics and got error messages, so here it is again. Let me know what you think about staying married for 75 years–that sounds unbelievable to me, a person who has been married four times and the longest was eight years.

Here we go. . .

I had a delightful afternoon on Sunday, July 15, 2018 celebrating the 75th wedding anniversary of my new hospice client with her husband, her daughter, a daughter’s friend, the hospice coordinator and two other hospice volunteers who provided music for this fun-filled occasion.75th AnniversaryMy client is 96 and and her husband is 94 years old, so that’s the first part of being married 75 years–stay alive a long time!

My maternal grandmother and grandfather were married 65 years. Grandma was 16 when she married, and she told me on their anniversary celebration, “I feel like I’ve been married my whole life.”

Today I posed this question to my client, “How did you stay married for 75 years?”

She caught me by surprise with her answer, and the group belly-laughed at her response, “Well, first it was a dream.” After those precious words, I heard a collective sigh from the group, and I could see hands go to our hearts. How romantic and so fitting to say on their 75th anniversary day.

Then she added dryly, “It was a nightmare, and I just got used to it.” What a response! I gasped then laughed even harder–I heard others in the group do the same.

She’s in the throes of Alzheimer’s–today was a good day. Her responses entertained us and matched the lightness of the day.

Her husband held her hand, glanced her way often, gave a one long-stem red rose and a romantic anniversary card. I felt privileged to witness this relationship. He kept his eyes on her constantly and loved telling stories on her and how they met. What a precious love story he revealed with a sweet glimmer in his eye tinged with a deep sadness as he watched his bride today–sometimes coherent, sometimes not.

We found that we are both country girls–she grew up on a ranch near where our ranch is.

Her husband’s story of how his future father-in-law initiated him, a city slicker, was priceless. Her father invited her future husband to go out to the barn and witness the slaughter of a calf–a gruesome experience for that city boy, but it didn’t scare him away!

He loved the fact that his wife rode horses bareback as a young woman, but he labored over how to mount the horse without a saddle. She teased him about that.

I asked if they danced any. He brightened up and said, “Yes, we square danced,” so I knew we were kindred spirits for sure. He also identified a hall that my parents danced in often when they were dating, so it’s possible my parents danced with this couple on a Saturday night.

The rich stories blessed my soul, and I left there with a smile on my face and heart.

This was my first meeting with this client, her husband and her daughter–her daughter was so thankful for the respite my visits will provide. I know the heavy responsibility of being a care-giver for a parent, but this daughter has moved in with her father and makes sure he sees his wife daily at the care facility where she is now. What an overwhelming task to take care of two elderly parents.

Our connections of ranch life and knowing the same part of the state was no accident–I love to call these incidents “God Things.”

Yes, my client will change, but I have the opportunity of getting to know her in the time we will have together, and that will be the reward enough. I’m sure there will be more stories, so I look forward to that.

How do people stay married so long? Any ideas? Let me know.

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