Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Till Death Do Us Part?
A co-worker and I drove through a cemetery today and saw a gentleman trimming shrubbery at his family plot. We stopped to visit with him.
Although there are plenty of maintenance workers in the cemetery, he insists on taking care of his own landscaping on the property he owns. He told me he has been coming to the cemetery every day since his wife died.
He began to cry.
As he was speaking, I looked at the death date on the memorial. I was expecting to see that his wife had died recently.
She died in 1982.
For you that do not have a calculator handy, that would be 27 years ago.
I also discovered the nice gentleman had the same death date on his memorial. “When she died,” he explained, “I died with her.” I believed him.
But I had to find out more.
He married her when he was 23 and she was 20. She worked while he got his college degree. They moved out west and then later moved back to Louisiana. They started a business that turned out to be a very successful one. She was his business partner and office manager.
She died of cancer in the prime of their marriage when she was 48 years old. Because he couldn’t go back to that business without his wife, he sold the thriving business soon after her death and retired at age 53.
He said he visits her grave every day – rain or shine. Sometimes he visits twice a day. That would be more than 10,000 visits in case you are counting.
Most would say his behavior is not healthy and he should have gone on with his life. And I certainly understand that thinking.
But in a time when married couples are leaving each other on a whim for almost any reason or even no reason at all, I couldn’t help but be impressed.
Many years ago this man met the love of his life and told her he loved her. I couldn’t help but wonder if she knew just how much he really did love her.
Fifty five years ago he looked at his bride and said, “Till death do us part.”
I can tell you he wasn't paying one bit of attention to that statement today.