I didnít get any letters I could use for this weekís column (write me some!) so I decided to talk about a story thatís been really bothering me. This week, you get unsolicited advice. And that is, donít do this.
The original story can be read in full here: www.slate.com/id/2192178/. Itís well worth the read. Itís a love story with the saddest ending since Romeo and Juliet. Only this one is real. She was in her eighties, and he was 94. They both suffered from dementia and lived in the same nursing home. And none of that is unusual. What is unusual is that these two fell in love.
She used to wear the same yellow dress, day in, day out. But once she began this new relationship, she dressed up, did her hair, wore jewelry, smiled and was happy all the time. Her doctors said her health and mental clarity both improved immensely. Similar benefits were seen in him.
But when his son walked in on this blissfully happy couple having sex one day, he threw a hissy fit, and demanded someone put a stop to the relationship immediately. When no amount of effort on the part of the staff managed to keep the lovers apart, the anal little jerk moved his father to a new place, crushing both their spirits, breaking both their hearts, and robbing them of their last chance at happiness in this lifetime.
Why any human being would want to do so something so hurtful and so cruel to his own father, is beyond me. The only good thing about the womanís illness, is that the Alzheimer's has caused her to forget. And yet it's clear that she's broken, devastated, just unsure why.
Since reading this story (it made me cry) Iíve been talking to everyone I see about it, and a lot of nurses and aids who work at nursing homes have told me that this type of thing happens all the time. People find love in the waning months of their lives, and their younger relatives tear it apart. Itís far more the exception than the rule, but it happens often enough that everyone I talk to can tell me a brand new story with the same heart-wrenching theme.
Now, if one is living on one's own, alert and sharp and has a significant will to hold over their offsprings' heads, this wouldnít be a problem. But you have to think about what happens if youíre ever not.
We all know itís vital, at every point in our lives, to have our wills up to date, to have health care proxies signed and on file, living wills spelled out so even an imbecile would know our wishes regarding life support and extreme measures and DNR orders. We know to be sure everyone and their brother gets a copy. But now we have a new terminology to learn. A Sexual Power of Attorney. If it ever gets to where you think anyone is going to have more power over your love life than you do, then you need to be the one to decide who it is. And then you need to put it in writing and get it on file somewhere. Youíd hate to end up meeting the love of your life at the age of 90, and having someone else decide it wasnít a good idea to let you be with him! You might have to beat them to death with your walker!
Now the bright side of the story, because there is one, after all. Isnít it wonderful that the two people I mentioned above, managed to find each other? Isnít it wonderful that he didnít need any little blue pills to get his engines running? Isnít it beautiful to think that love knows no such thing as age?
Oh, yeah. Iím evil. Itís a good thing Iím not a nurse or an aid. Iíd be operating the Underground Booty-Call Railroad, and running interference to keep the offspring from catching on. Shoot, Iíd provide music and candles. But then, Iím a romantic at heart.
The best part of the story for me, is the reminder that love has no limitations. Itís never too early and it's never too late. And also, the knowing that you still feel like a twitterpated teen when you fall head over heels, no matter what your true age might be. Love is the most powerful force in the universe, and aside from the sad ending, this love story was a good one.
And itís one on which I hope to base a story. Only Ė†you know, I'll fix that ending. Big time.
Hereís hoping we all have love in our lives, now and always!