At the time of the visit, my father had suffered from Parkinson's for about 5 years and he was not able to feed himself; my step mother, Clara, was feeding him his supper. She was talking to him and laughing. He just looked at her, not really seeming to be thinking about the food at all. During the whole meal his eyes were only on her. I thought how beautifully love progresses from the first flowering of romance to the graceful bloom of aging tenderness.
Now my dad is on hospice care. To most observers he does not respond. But last night Clara told me, "You know; he lays there with his eyes closed all the time, but sometimes I catch him watching me." She laughed, "He is tricky. When he sees I notice he is watching, he closes his eyes again." Like the Bible verse, yet unbeknownst to her, Clara taught me another lesson on how to love my husband. Even though their relationship has diminished into Clara giving my father his tube feeding, and Clara turning him over so he wont get bed sores, or Clara bathing him; she still finds great joy in being by his side. She is an amazing example. And as I see it, they still have a vibrant romance because she still laughs when he opens his eyes to look at her.