Sunday, October 13, 2013

Eyes Wide Open

"Older women...are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands..." Titus 2: 3, 4

Ten years ago my family visited my father in Florida.  One day my husband and I came home from shopping and I stumbled onto a beautiful sight.

In the living room, my newlywed sister sat on her husbands lap.  She bubbled with laughter as he told her some story. They reminded me of the early days of my marriage.

I passed to a guest room where my adult son and his wife were attending to their two year old daughter. Talking about varied subjects, they instinctively carried out the different tasks that had to be done for their daughter without having to discuss who needed to do what.  I reminisced about the years when my children were young and was grateful that that time of intensive parenting was over.  Then I went into my dad's room and what I saw is imprinted in my mind forever.

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.

Then I thought about Clara.  A woman who married an older man with baggage.  I thought of how she accepted me and my two sons into her home when I was first out of nursing school.  I thought of how she taught the children she had with my father to consider us, his first set of children, brother and sisters instead of half-siblings.  I thought of how she had taken care of my father through his battle with Parkinson's.  I realized I had learned many love lessons from her.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment