” I take you to be my lawful wife, my lawful husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, in good times and adversity, in sickness and in health, to love and cherish till death do us part… ”
In the nursing home where my mother lives there is a married couple, Ron and Marion. Marion is in slightly better shape than Ron, but both live to varying degrees in that private, disconnected, isolating world of dementia. Physically, though, they are together – they share a room and their beds have been pushed together. I’m sure that their minds and spirits are still connected too and am absolutely certain their hearts are. They spend the day moving from one lounge area to another, sitting side by side to take their meals.
Another bed-ridden lady resident is visited every day by her husband. Sometimes he sits beside her while she wails incessantly, sometimes she is calm and they hold hands, sometimes she nods off and he keeps vigil with his head resting on the bed-head.
When I was leaving the other day an anxious AIN was urgently calling for assistance from the RN – another devoted husband was trying to wheel his wife’s care chair out the front door. It was physical, the struggle : the chair spinning in circles as he pulled it this way, the nurse the other.
” Let me through, I’m taking her home!” he cried in that thin, fragile aged voice, “she’s coming home with me!!!” And all the time his frail, bewildered beloved weeping and trembling and pleading with him, ” Oh let me stay, darling, please let me stay. Be a good boy and let me stay.”
As long as we both shall live.