Today would have been my parents fifty ninth wedding anniversary. They said their marriage vows and meant what they said. They stayed together through sickness and health, better or worse, and richer and poorer. For them, being with each other meant something special. My mother stayed at my father’s bedside through all of his hospital stays. She would read to him, or play gin rummy until he got tired. She did not make excuses about not wanting to go. For her, there was no excuse. Her husband was in the hospital, and that was all the reason she needed to be by his side.
There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, but one thing is certain, they did not flush theirs down the toilet because it got hard. Marriage is hard sometimes. it speaks to the moral compass we live by whether we choose to love someone no matter what or if we just throw in the towel when times get hard.
In this day and age, divorce is easy. In the days of my parents, it was an absolute last option.
Why is it that marriages do not last the way they once did? Is it excessive abuse, cheating, entitlement? I am not sure.
My parents on paper were a total mismatch. My mom wanted to be an English teacher. She married a man who butchered the English language on a daily basis. It drove her insane. Mom could be highly critical, but she was realistic, and she was my father’s sounding board. He made no decisions without her input. Yes, they argued many times, but one thing stands out to me, they knew that they loved each other. Mom ran the house. She did the shopping, the cooking, paid the bills and took care of dad. In his younger days, dad took care of the cars, and all house related problems from plumbing to yard work.
Then he got sick in 1980. He was in the hospital for six weeks and mom was by his side the whole time. Once he got better, mom went to work with dad at their auto parts store. They were totally devoted to each other and learned to accept the things about each other they were not crazy about.
My mom could be critical of dad, but never in public, and if you criticized dad for no reason, I pity you. Mom was dad’s biggest fan. She loved him and she loved her family. They did just about everything together, especially watching the New York Giants. We took family vacations when we could afford them, and they did the best they could with what we had which wasn’t always much. Many years there were no vacations or many extras due to dad’s many hospital stays.
None of that mattered to mom. She was happy in that small house with dad and her kids.
They may not have had extra money a lot of years, but in many ways they were rich. They toughed it out when mom got diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2000, and managed to not fall apart when they filed for bankruptcy om 2004.
The story of Frank and Nora ends on March 31, 2005. They were married forty nine and a half years then. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was go with my older brother to inform dad that his beloved wife was gone.
Til death do us part meant something to them. It was the end of a real life love story through thick and thin.
I love and miss both of you.