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An Enduring Love

Updated on October 3, 2011

It is very common these days to read in the newspapers of the break up of marriages and relationships and the most recent trend is to end such a relationship by text or to play out the death of a marriage on Twitter where insults can be traded for all loyal followers(?) to read (as per Mr & Mrs Ashton Kutcher in yesterday's paper).Dignity and decency appear to have vanished and what should be personal business becomes common knowledge. Most certainly a case of washing dirty linen in public and sadly how these so called celebrities act sends a message to younger people that such behaviour in acceptable.

It was a beautiful early autumn afternoon today with warm sunshine and a breeze and I was very happy to be walking my dogs. I met an old friend walking down the street, a man of 88 who many years ago had been our neighbour on the west coast of Ireland . Those times had been hard for the land was not very productive and the living conditions primitive by today's standard with water fetched from the well and food cooked on the turf fire. To eke out a living we gathered winkles from the shore and when there had been a storm we collected the kelp that the Atlantic swell had brought in from the kelp forest just offshore and sold it. Men and women worked together and a young man looking for a wife would not judge her on beauty (although beauty was admired) but whether she was able to carry buckets! A wife was expected to help with any livestock and the buckets referred to the feed she would have to carry to feed the pig!.

We chatted and reminisced as you are wont to do as you get older, comparing life then to the present day where couples are so busy with their separate work lives that they don't usually get the opportunity to work together and I believe that working side by side reinforces the bond between a man and his wife. As I said goodbye to Tom he smiled broadly and said 'It is 52 years to the day since I put the ring on her finger. She is still beautiful and I love her as much today as I did then'. He opened a paper bag and said 'I am going to her now to give her the card I bought, I can't wait to see her face'. I wished them both well and watched him walk slowly down the street leaning on his stick. I am glad he did not see the tears running down my cheeks. You see Bridie is in a dementia unit and has been for the last four years. She does not recognise Tom and his name means nothing to her. I remember her as a 'homely', sturdy country woman quite capable of carrying buckets. To Tom she is still the beautiful woman he was proud to call his wife, his constant companion for he visits her every day, and the love of his life.A truly enduring love.


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