They married in 1940. Gladys was twenty. Art was nineteen. He called her “Gladdy.” Together, they’ve persevered through 72 years of marriage.
My grandparents never sat me down and explained how to stay married for seven decades. They just lived it. Day after day, year after year, they modeled a lifetime of self-sacrifice and determination.
But I’d never seen a clearer picture of their promise than I did a couple years ago. It was the day they went into the nursing home.
Understandably, neither of them wanted to go. None of us blamed them for wanting to spend their final days in the comfort of their own home. For a few years, outside help allowed them to do that. But when Grandma’s dementia progressed, we knew staying home was no longer an option.
Their three grown children came together and talked with them about the situation. Grandpa wasn’t pleased, but he understood what must be done. Grandma wanted no part of it.
Eventually the day came when they had no choice. It was a difficult day for everyone. Taking grandma out of her home would be no small task. Grandma was stubborn, and they all knew they’d have a fight on their hands.
“I have a home.” Grandma folded her arms like a strong willed two-year-old. She shook her head in protest as my mom gently ushered her toward the door. But when they reached the door, Grandma stopped.
Today they are still modeling their life-long commitment. Grandma fusses over Grandpa – and doesn’t much care for it when one of the aides takes care of him. That’s her job. He’s her husband.
On my wedding day nineteen years ago, Curt and I had a long road ahead of us. But my grandparents have inspired me to go the distance. I am proud to be part of their legacy of love. They are a special couple who took very seriously the promise, “’til death do us part.”