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I will admit I am a hopeless romantic in so many ways. I love putting meaning to love songs and I still cry over movies such as “Endless Love” and “Love Story” because love always will find a way.
My parents have been married for 54 years as of last month. I know there have been many trials and tribulations through the years, but they made a commitment to God, their families and themselves so long ago to have and to hold in sickness and in health.
Well, sickness has come. My daddy has dementia as a result of a stroke he had a few years back. At 77, he has lived a full life as an athlete, a father and an extremely hard worker. Daddy was always, and still is, a proud man. He always was in charge of caring and providing for his family. For the longest time I thought we were rich, but as I grew, my mother always reminded me we were rich: rich in love. The other part — the struggles — my sister and I did not need to know about when they occurred.
Today when I look at Daddy, physically he is not the strong, quick-witted man who has been there through every triumph and disappointment. He now is bending a little and his movement is slow. But the biggest thing is he does not always remember things as he once did. He knows us, his family. And on certain days, when he is himself, he can call out names of friends as they pass our house as he is sits on the patio and they yell, “Joe D.”
The family meets at my parents’ house almost every day after everyone gets off from school or work. Even on his worst days he greets us with, “How are you?” These days he has more bad than good days, but he is still here.
I was home over the weekend and I walked in on my mom helping him get dressed. What a sight. It took me back, reminding me of what good care my mother bestowed upon my sister and me. She was down on her hands and knees guiding his pants up and in his weak little way, he was trying to assist her.
As I walked in he looked up and said, “Hi, baby.”
“Hi, Daddy. Can I help?”
“No. I think your mother has it,” he said.
To me, that is love times 10 gazillion.
Even with the state my father is in and is going to be in, you still can see that bond between the two that was established so long ago.
Love found them and will keep them until death do they part.
Shonna Sheckles lives in Bardstown and works in Elizabethtown.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.