I saw a great love

Posted By | February 23, 2009 12:00 am

David and Betty Maxwell.

With each year that quickly passes, I find myself realizing the many years in age that separate me from the generation of youth who are now experiencing their first taste of love. They, just like I probably did at one time, think they are the first ones to ever fall in love. They most likely make an ugly face when they see an older couple holding hands or sharing a kiss.
Today’s column will address that youthful arrogance. You see, falling in love is not just for the younger generation. The greatest love of all is one that has survived the span of decades of living and growing together.
On a couch, in the corner of my office at work, I have a big book opened to the Feb. 12, 2001, edition of The Expositor. On the front page is a big red heart, with the handwritten message that says, “Thank you for being my Valentine 365 times 49.” This was a note written by a man on Feb. 14, 1985, which was left for his wife to find on the table next to their telephone. His message was very clear. He was thanking her for 49 years of marriage and for being his Valentine.
This same man also told his wife, shortly before he died, how beautiful he thought she was the first time he saw her. He told her he knew he would marry her from the first moment their eyes met.
The man was my father. The note was left for my mother. Dad passed away 18 years ago. Mom passed away only one month before her “heart message” was printed in The Expositor. My sister found the note among my mother’s belongings.
In the past couple of years, I have met another couple that reminds me of the love shared by my parents.
I am blessed to watch a wonderful and loving man dote on his wife who cannot speak an audible word, but her beautiful blue eyes tell the whole story of how she worships the man who is always at her side.
I watch as he leans over her portable bed and sings to her. When she starts to doze off, he will lovingly pinch her nose. She’ll laugh, and look straight into his eyes. Her gorgeous red blouse is accessorized with a strand of white beads. Her shiny silver hair is combed to perfection. She smiles. Sometimes she utters some “words” that I thoroughly believe could be translated if only I had more time to spend with them. But, I know the unspoken language of love exists when I see the way her husband looks at her. To him, she is not an invalid who requires around-the-clock care. To him, she is that same vibrant and beautiful woman he fell in love with – 49 years ago.
49 years – that seems to be a special number.
Thank you, Mr. Maxwell, for the love I witness when I see you with Betty. You are my hero.

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