Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Love Story


These beautiful people are my mother's second youngest sister and her husband, who live in Nassau. They are the parents of my cousin A whose husband died two months ago. A and her two sisters all traveled to Nassau right after Christmas to be together with their parents for the new year. A, who is the oldest daughter, took this photo of my aunt and uncle when they were at the airport waiting for the arrival of their youngest. I am so moved by the way they sit there together, his arm protectively around her, his other hand firmly securing her handbag, her fingers resting on the quad cane, sunglasses dangling in her other hand. My uncle is a doctor and my aunt has run his office for their entire lives together, and now she cannot. Her memory is going, sometimes it is already gone, but he refuses to acknowledge the true diagnosis. Instead, he has placed himself squarely between his true love and oblivion, determined to keep her safe. They need lots of help these days, and their daughters are trying to put the right care in place. Their father is stubborn about accepting new people into their home, which makes his grown children's task difficult. But as frustrated as my uncle's refusal of the help they need can render those of us who love them, there is still something sublime about his devotion to my aunt. She has been the center of his world always, the brilliant light in which he has always basked. And now he will not allow all that light to grow dim or her memories to flame out. Their great love story radiates from that photograph, my aunt's expression guileless and newly innocent, my uncle encircling her as fully as he can. Her trust, his determination, the anticipation of their youngest child's arrival, the mingled joy and love as they gaze at their firstborn who is holding the camera, all of it breaks my heart a little bit but fills me with wonder, too.

12 comments:

  1. What a wonderful photograph. Thank you.

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  2. And once again, you make me cry.
    The love. Oh, the love. And the light.

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  3. This post brought tears to my eyes...

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  4. A broken heart and wonder, yes, they do that to me too. The picture is so full of emotion and love.

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  5. Their expectancy is wild. And your words -- your photos -- what you pull out of them and what you leave for us is profound.

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  6. That's a beautiful photo. It's got to be so incredibly hard to let someone new into your home as a carer, and admit that you're no longer in a position to care for yourself and your spouse. I don't blame your uncle for holding out as long as possible, but I also hope he's able to make allowances so your aunt can continue to get the attention she needs. Gosh, aging is hard.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog, by the way. It is true that we never know the small ways in which our words change the world. Your family stories do the same for all your readers -- they certainly set a high standard for showing how family members can care for each other and be present through both difficult and happy times.

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  7. I looked at the picture for a while before I read your words, and then I looked again. Achingly beautiful is correct, and heartbreaking, yet somehow uplifting. Thank you for sharing this snapshot of your wonderful family with us. xo

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  8. A beautiful photo! Thank you for sharing their story with us!

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