Monday, August 10, 2009

The Elderly Couple in the Park

"Every day that will pass you by. Every name that you won't recall. Everything that you made by hand. Everything that you know by heart. And I will try to connect all the pieces you left. I will carry it on and let you forget." Lyrics from "Silent House" by the Dixie Chicks

Just about every night there is an elderly couple that sits in the park across the street from my house. They sit in silence, hand in hand, watching the children play, watching the older kids play basketball, or watching nothing at all.

I've said hello to them when I've been outside watering trees in the evening. The man always speaks to me. Sometimes the lady will smile, and sometimes she shuffles along with her head down, leaning on the man. I see them walk back and forth from the park to an assisted living facility near my house.

My husband took our son to the park one night, and he spoke to them. The lady suffers from alzheimers, and the man is her husband. Not long ago, he had to move her to the assisted living center since he can no longer care for her at home. He visits her every day.

I wonder what it must feel like to watch your spouse slip away bit by bit each day and not be able to do anything to prevent it. I wonder what must be going through his mind as he takes her hand and walks with her on one of her bad days when she shuffles along, leaning on him with her head down.

I wonder how horrible it must have been to have to move her out of their home and into a care center to be taken care of by strangers. I wonder how he feels each day that he arrives at the care center not knowing if this will be one of her good days or not.

I wonder how he will feel the day that she is no longer able to go for a walk. But mostly I wonder how he can stay strong while he watches the woman he loves slip away a little bit each day.

And I am in awe of the strength this man has. What a wonderful thing it is to have such a great love in your life.

"The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it." C.C. Scott

1 comment:

  1. Ahh.......the power of love! There is a saying.......

    Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change. So suffering must become Love. That is the mystery.

    ___Katherine Mansfield