I was interviewing an old man who was dying.
His marriage survived the fiercest of battles. When they were young, his wife had gone through a long stretch of crazy behavior including affairs, mental break downs and fits of rage.
They made it through their storm and ended up with 6 children and married 60 years.
I was perplexed how this old man survived all those years of hurts and wounds.
I was more perplexed as I watched them sit next to each other holding hands.
Both gasped at the thought of being without the other. They became inseparable. You could see the tender way he stroked her arm with his hand.
You would have marveled watching her tend to him as he was fading away from cancer.
Every exchange generated tears in each one of them during the last few months of his life.
So, I had to know. HOW? I wanted to interview this old man before he died. Give me the SECRET to such a magical formula. If I could bottle it and sell it to the world, just imagine.
I thought long and hard how to lead in with the right question. I felt like I was only going to get one shot at this.
“May I ask you, can you please tell me about the darkest hour in your marriage and then tell me the secret to your obvious and present love today?”
The old man sat there silent for a minute or two then looked right at me with a commanding presence and replied with one word. “NO”.
Then he said “I am not going to say one word that may bring any shame to my wife. She is my angel. I will take all the good and all the bad with me to my grave and I will not say one word against her.”
His answer, answered my question.
That’s how they survived countless hurts and battles.
I then saw his bible sitting on the counter.
I opened it up.
Each page was covered with notes, scratches and underlines. It was more tethered than his old wrinkled body.
It all made sense.
At his wake I noticed sitting in his casket, on his fancy suit. Right there on his chest was that old tethered bible.
Nothing else needs to be said.
He took it all to the grave with honor and dignity.
That old man……he was my father.
My mother is anxious to join him.