I’ve spent a lot of hours over the past few years listening to complaints by my mother-in-law about her husband. As Alzheimer’s destroyed her mind, she focused her energy on her anger over the many times he had forced her to move. Frequently, her rages against him ended in her demand for a divorce. These demands became almost comical when they were both in a nursing home and he was completely bedridden by Alzheimer’s and cancer nevertheless, the anger she has displayed has very much colored our view of their relationship.
Yesterday, I was looking through my photos and came across their wedding picture. I was reminded that in spite of the many differences Michael and Nicole had in their marriage, they managed to stay together for over sixty years. As the fog of Alzheimer’s descended over both of them, they started to pull apart; yet, they remained deeply “one” in mind, body and spirit. Towards the end, the only thing that was sure to bring a smile to Michael’s face was Nicole’s name. After his death, Nicole had only one question for me each day, “Where is Michael?”
Michael and Nicole’s anniversay was Jan. 25. Each year, I would send a card and thank them for remaining true to one another. I told them that their decision to remain married in spite of difficult circumstances was a legacy they left for us and our children. I decided to make this scrapbook page in honor that legacy: a marriage which remained true and firm “in good times and bad times, in sickness and in health, til death do you part.”