They were one of those couples who made you believe in true love. The couple that you knew was the real deal. A living, breathing, everyday example of the Happily Ever After that fairytales are made of. You know? The older couple still holding hands as they walk through the grocery store. The husband and wife who still steal playful glances across the room as they celebrate holidays with their children and grandchildren.
I was blessed to have a front row seat to the story that was this real, true love. As a little girl, their marriage was the foundation upon which my safe place was built. As a teen, their happy, silly moments lightened my heart and helped me to begin to heal. For all of the years in between, and all of the years since, I looked to them as a guide to the way love “should be.”
Then came the moment that she pulled back the curtains and allowed me a glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes in those real, true loves. Up late one night, visiting with my grandmother, the topic somehow turned to the story of fairytale love she shared with my grandfather. She stared off into the distance as she shared with me pieces of their story that I’d never heard before. She talked about darker moments, moments when she questioned just how they would make it through. Then, like she always did when she wanted me to pay close attention, she leaned in and touched her finger to my nose as she continued to speak.
When you meet the person that you’re meant to spend your life loving, you’ll know it. And when you do, don’t ever let it go. Fight for it. Fight as hard as you have to. THAT is the real secret to “happy ever after.”
A couple of years later, as she lay in a hospital bed fighting for her life, I was an unintentional witness to one of their final moments together. It was a moment I was never meant to be part of. One that I’ve never mentioned to him. And one that has lingered with me every moment since. His voice carried down the hallway as I turned to walk away. His words brought the tears I’d been fighting all day.
In her death, the wisdom she’d imparted on me that evening two years before became engrained in me forever. Every fairytale ends at some point. When it does, if you did it right, your one true love will be by your side, holding your hand, and letting you know that it’s okay to let go. And that is always worth fighting for.
Their love, and the real story behind that love, is an everyday example of the fairytale I want to live, the marriage I want to have, and the example I want to set for my own son.
And that is the greatest gift I have ever been given.
This blog post is part of the 2012 Summer Blog Challenge: 31 posts in 31 days. For more blogging awesomeness, check out some of my fellow bloggers:
Zita at The Dulock Diaries
April at This Mom’s Got Something To Say
Natasha at Natural Urban Mamas
Meaghan at Magz D Life
Tammy at Tam I Am
Liam at In the Now
Cliff at Peer Pressure Works
Peter at Crazy Wookie Cookies
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