This afternoon, just I have many other Friday afternoons I called my grandmother. Every Friday my grandmother and grandfather had a date night where they would go to dinner and a movie. I knew that when I called my grandma early the next week she would share the details of their weekly date, where they ate, what movie they had seen.
Three years ago this April, my grandfather passed away after a long battle with cancer. I vividly recall our conversation the week before he died. Her tearful words about loving my grandfather her entire adult life, not knowing what she was going to do without him, and how she couldn't stand to watch him suffer anymore.
Three years later, my grandmother is still heartbroken and lonely. She is also an incredible, feisty, strong, fun lady who has lived a full and rich life. Often she regales me with tales of their life together.
The stories of their first meeting in Brooklyn where they grew up just blocks apart. Their courtship and how over all the young women that vied for his attention she was the one that finally captured it. For a few years they were separated when he was fighting overseas during the Korean War. As did many couples during that era they corresponded through letters and married as soon as he returned home. During their early married years they lived in Brooklyn, after my father and aunt were born they moved to Seaford on Long Island to raise their growing brood. They had an active social circle of friends and often took turns hosting cocktail and dinner parties.
After the kids were all grown they moved to Florida, where they enjoyed their retirement. They traveled, golfed, spent warm sunny days at the beach together. They hardly ever spent a day or night apart. Many summers I boarded a plane by myself, flew 2000+ miles, and visited my grandparents. For a girl who was growing up landlocked in AZ, the ocean and beaches of Florida were a welcome respite. Over the years, I grew to adore my paternal grandparents despite the thousands of miles that seperated us.
They had this grand love story that lasted for over 50 years and then it was all over. Fridays are the hardest for her, so knowing full well that is when she is missing him most I call my grandmother and listen to her stories. They make me smile, laugh, and sometimes when I hang up the phone I weep. You see my husband and I are still young, still raising our kids, still writing our own love story. Every time I talk to her I know just how fortunate I am to have found my husband, to have him in my life everyday. I wonder what the future holds, where our life will take us, and which one of us will lose each other first. My fondest hope is that one day someone will call me and listen to me regale them with my tales. That they will be as enraptured as I am when I listen to her stories. That they will realize just how lucky they are to share their life with someone they love.