Raising the Bar

I made arrangements this week to meet one of our Senior Adult men at a residential facility where his wife is being cared for in her last stages of life with dementia. The facility was attractive. The staff was welcoming and kind.

I arrived a few minutes early so I was waiting when this distinguished gentleman walked in. He was pleased to see me and seemed proud to be able to introduce me to his wife. When the door to her locked unit was opened with a keypad, he said, “Oh, there she is ready for us.” I followed his lead and saw an elegant lady, well dressed, and well groomed seated by a table.

Her husband pulled out a chair for me, as I knew he would, and then went to the other side of the table. He said, “She expects me to be sitting on this side.”

He grasped her hand and she grasped his. He tried several times to get her to respond to her name but she did not speak. She kept her eyes closed. He gently lifted her eyelids and they stayed open, but I am not sure that she saw anything.

He said that last week someone with a guitar sang, “You Are My Sunshine” and his wife sang along.

I said, “Well, let’s try to sing it.” We did, and her mouth did try to form a few of the words.

This is the final inning of a 57-year-old marriage. I asked the husband if it was hard to visit. He said, “Coming to see her is the highlight of my week. I drive an hour to get here. I come every other day. When I leave I can’t wait to get back.”

When I told him he was a model of faithfulness, he referenced his vow.

Love plus vow yields an invincible commitment.

I asked if I could pray. When I did the wife sat motionless and the husband wept. I knew I was walking on Holy Ground as I quietly excused myself.

How, other than reminding us of our marriage vows, can this story impact our lives?

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