photo credit: s-A-m from flickr
My great-aunt Ruth died last week. She was 88 years young.

Even though she lived a full, long life, her death still came as a surprise. But isn’t that how death works? Even when you’re expecting it, you’re never quite ready for it.

My mom, Aunt Jan, and Uncle Bud headed to her graveside service last week in Weatherford. As they opened her coffin at the end of the service, my great-uncle Wayne went and stood next to his wife for one last time.

He stroked her hair. He patted on her face. He stood there loving on her.

He wouldn’t walk away.

My mom said that it was heartbreaking to watch. She also said it was a little nerve-wracking to watch a shaky 95 year-old man hover next to a coffin, over an empty grave.

Everyone stood there awkwardly as Wayne continue to love on his wife of 68 years. He lingered, and lingered and lingered. But how do you walk away from someone that you have been with for 68 years of your life? How do you bring yourself to say goodbye, or more accurately in Ruth and Wayne’s case, “See you later.”

His children gathered around him, hoping to finally guide him away, but Wayne didn’t want to leave his wife.

“Now that’s devotion,” my Uncle Bud quietly said.

My Uncle Bud, a man of few words, had hit the nail on the head.

I made such a big deal a few weeks ago about the Golfer and I being married for 10 whopping years. But now, thinking of Ruth and Wayne and their 68 years, I feel a little foolish.

I wonder where the Golfer and I will be 58 years from now? Hopefully holding hands on a beach somewhere. More likely, we’ll be staring at each other in a nursing home somewhere since the Golfer and I will be 97 and 95 respectively. If we’re lucky, it’ll be a nursing home that happens to have a view of the beach.

Which reminds me, I need to be nicer to my kids.

I’ve gotta tell you, the idea of 68 years blows my mind a little. I guess because I don’t know of many people that make it that far anymore. It’s sad, really, that golden anniversaries are so rare nowadays. But Ruth and Wayne celebrated their golden and well beyond.

No matter how long we live, I hope and pray that the Golfer and I will always be as devoted to each other as Ruth and Wayne have been.

Which reminds me, I need to be nicer to my husband.

One Comment

  1. Dawn

    Very thoughtfully written.
    I'm sorry to hear about your aunt.

    I just recently lost my aunt as well. She and my uncle had been married 50 something years. It was heartbreaking to watch him as well. She had epilepsy most of her life and couldn't drive. We believe God put him on this earth just to care for her. He even carried her purse for her everywhere they went. I know he is feeling so lost right now.

    I'm not sure we will live long enough to celebrate 68 years. We will celebrate 17 years though in November. That's really good in my family. =)

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