Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vows: Until Death Do Us Part

Vows:  Eternal Companionship

Sixty-eight years ago, my parents exchanged wedding vows.  Despite the hardships stemming from starting all over in a new country, the loss of their oldest child, sickness, job losses, and financial reversals, they never wavered in their commitment to each other.  There were times, I admit, that I felt either one of them should be committed.  They at times drove us crazy but they loved each other and cared for each other.

There was no reason for us to take sides because they would not betray each other.  They protected each other from harm, verbal or otherwise.  We watched on the sidelines and never crossed the line nor meddled in their personal affairs.  They worked it out.  They had taken vows and although passion could turn into anger, they never let it fester more than a day.  One or the other would always capitulate.  Bickering and anger was eventually balanced and tempered by outrageous cooking.

Things have not changed from the time my parents married.  Problems plague marriages.  Most can truly be worked out if the relationship is securely rooted in friendship.  Marriages survive most problems, if couples truly want to choose to work out their differences and accept responsibility for their own issues.

Although I had my doubts if my parents relationship could/would survive, I can't get over the remarkable amount of love and compassion that my father has for his bride of sixty-eight years.  Do not cross him and certainly do not discard or mistreat his bride.  Dad remains my mother's chief protector.  He continues to reach out to her even when she skirts with and dances with death.  He pulls her pack and seduces her to live.  It is an amazing thing to watch.  It doesn't break my heart as much as it teaches me how to love until the end.  On the ever of their fiftieth wedding anniversary, my mother smiled at me and told me:  "the first thirty were the roughest."  I have a feeling in her own way she was trying to tell me something.

Today Mom demonstrated more lucidity.   "Today I could eat two ice cream bars", she proclaimed.  Dad looked at me and I knew that by this afternoon he would comply.  As long as she can proclaim and make decrees, Dad will carry out the Queen's wishes.

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