When you were married for several decades, there is most likely not a single day you remember being without the other person. You also don’t remember all the fights about the most ridiculous things but you remember the big days, the big nights, the happiness.
But what if one day you wake up and it’s just you… what do you do then?
Last week A’s uncle Luke passed away and although I didn’t know his uncle, I knew that this was going to be hard on A and his family and especially on his wife of 64 years. So yesterday morning we got our blacks on and went to a Greek Orthodox church somewhere in PA. When it comes down to it, I don’t think the place or the time matters, those things become secondary.
I don’t think that the last words you say matter so much either, you might have been fortunate enough to hear one last, ‘You are the world to me’ but most of the times, you don’t and you just wish that these would have been the last words. Sometimes you get lucky and you say something witty and smart like, ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.’ But most times you don’t.
I never understood why people needed ceremonies for their loved ones that passed away. If all, I think a funeral makes everything worse. People grieving and moaning and worst of all, it’s contagious. The tears, the heartbreak, the pain is contagious. When aunt Despi got out of her wheel chair my heart sank a little. She held on to the railing so tight just to take the 4 little steps, which of course for any other person would have been 4 regular steps, to her it was the longest walk of her life. She didn’t need any help to walk up to the casket, nor did she need any help to find her words. There weren’t any words needed to be said. She held on to the casket, she kissed her husband softly on his lips and she said her final goodbye. She whispered them softly and lovingly and then… She smiled. It was a little smirk, as if she was reminded of a little insider joke he had told her. But what it was, was her love for him rushing through her. After so many years she was still in love with this man.
A little part in all of us died that moment and you heard the sniffing, you saw tears being wiped away and this heartbreaking silence. No laughter anymore, no insider jokes, no secretive looks anymore, at the end of the day there was just aunt Despi.
Later on aunt Despi tilted her head, her look got vague, she was somewhere else and she smiled. After a bit she snapped out of it and she told us the story of how they met.
When we were teenager we lived in a small town in Greece and there were not very many teens around. So our families thought, there is a girl, there is a boy, why don’t they marry each other? They never asked us how we felt about it.
One day the door bell rang and my mom told me I had to get it and so I did and sure enough there was a handsome young man standing in front of me. We sat down in the living room and we talked and I thought, he was kinda cute. Later that afternoon my mom called us upstairs and so we went upstairs and my mom took our hands and she looked at me and asked, ‘Do you like this young man?’ and I said, ‘Yes… sure… I guess’ and she put our hands together and she said, ‘Now you are engaged’ and so we were. We got married 3 months after that and have been together ever since.