Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Lifelong Love

It is a fearful thing to love what death can touch
[ Epithet on a New England tombstone ]

This weekend I was listening to this program. A segment featured the lifelong love of Page and Eloise Smith, a couple that died one day apart after spending a lifetime together. Of course, it immediately made me think of my own parents.

I wrote to their son Eliot, the man behind the memorial website, and he responded...
Good Morning Trish,

Thank you so much for reaching out. We are the lucky ones with family legends to live by and deep gifts that enrich us. It has been over 10 years now and I still think of them every day, see things I wish I could show them, learn things I wish I could share. Now in my 50's, there is nothing I would love more than to climb into bed next to them and watch TV while my mother dozes with her bifocals turned upside down, and my father reads a book.
A short while later, I heard from Anne, Page & Eliose's daughter...
Dear Trish,

My brother Eliot emailed me this morning to say that you had written to him after the "this American Life" segment on last words and the story of our parents deaths. The voice in the piece was mine (along with John Dizikes, a close friend of mom and dad).

I looked at the links you included with your email. I was struck by the similarities in my in-laws lives. My mother-in-law died 5 years before her husband did. My father-in-law lived a hard and lonely five years without her and died this last December after being bed-ridden in a nursing home for over eight months. It was a terrible decline and he was very confused, barely able to participate in a conversation the whole time. It was very hard for us watching Bob's decline and spending so much time in the nursing home for such an extended period. What a journey our parents (and we) all must travel. I feel deeply for you and your mother.