"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."

Thomas Moore

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Learning about selfless love...

A couple of weeks ago, on a cool and breezy morning, Blossom and I drove down to the waterfront for coffee. She needed time out of the house with her sweet baby girl, and I needed time away from my desk.

We chose an outdoor table with room for Cully May's pram to stand beside us, and gave our order to the waitress, all the while breathing in the fresh sea air and letting the wind swirl around us. 
It was wonderfully refreshing already, evidenced by our synchronised sighs of satisfaction and shoulders which softened and relaxed. Even though Blossom had barely slept the night before I could see her eyes lift and her lips widen to a satisfied smile. Time outside and away from housework and the business had been the perfect diversion we both needed.

The coffee arrived and between sips we chatted about the baby, life, God, and everything else. When you're tired and weary conversations tends to hold no straight path, but glide from topic to topic with seeming ease...and nobody minds. Such it was for us that morning.

Gathering little Cully May into her arms for a cuddle, we moved the pram behind us to allow an elderly lady and her husband to move past us to the table in front. The woman held tightly to a walking frame and shuffled uncomfortably as her sweet husband gently urged her forward. Her repeated response was 'where's my handbag?' and time after time he assured her it was safe. 

With grace and loving dignity, the dear husband assisted his wife from the frame to a seat. Speaking soft and assuring words to give her confidence in letting go of the frame and leaning instead on his own battle scarred arm while he took her weight and gently lowered her into the chair, he appeared to myself and Blossom as a hero. 

The man turned to us, and with a lovely smile and nod of his head, apologised for interrupting our chatter and for having to move the pram in order to seat his wife. We assured him it was fine, and with conversation now open he introduced himself and his wife as "Mary and Fred". 

His deep love and delight in Mary warmed our hearts. As he continued to settle her we learned that she had Alzhiemers, that he was her carer, and that when she was young she had a zest for life and they had travelled far and wide over many decades and many continents. They'd reared three children and Mary had gone into labour two weeks early with each child after mowing their vast lawn. She was energetic, vibrant, and fun. 

Fred still saw all this in his beloved wife, though without him painting that vibrant and fresh picture of Mary to us we would have been blind to it. We would only have seen a ravaged woman of 80, eyes darting everywhere as she continued to ask "where's my handbag?'.

Our little egnagement of conversation ran along for about half an hour. Fred cut Mary's piece of orange poppyseed cake into small pieces and handed them to her, including her always in our conversation though she seemed unaware of it. "I need to take her out each day, it helps. We couldn't go yesterday, so today it's even more important that she enjoy her outing", said he. 

Blossom asked Fred questions about himself, and that's when we saw even more of a hero in this lovely man. He's got cancer and is undergoing chemo, all the while caring for his wife. 

Standing up, Fred turned to us and asked if we'd watch Mary whilst he went and paid their bill. "She's apt to wandering away" came his explanation. 'Of course', said we, so as he stood in line at the counter inside the cafe we chatted to Mary about her life, her children, and what a wonderful thing to be loved so much, and how that means she was a wife who would be treasured always.

Mary watched us as we talked to her, and she smiled. 

Fred returned and sat again to wait for Mary to finish her last piece of cake. Blossom settled Cully May in her pram and we gathered our bags to leave. Turning to Fred and Mary we said goodbye and wished them a lovely day.

Fred smiled and said, "Thank you for talking to us."

Walking back to the car Blossom's eyes filled with tears and a few slid down my cheek.

I knew that we were blessed more than they. I knew that a life lesson on compassion, care, hospitality and selfless love had just been ours to receive. 

Thank you Lord.





26 comments:

Ann said...

Beautiful

nancy n. said...

That was beautiful

C Reeder PhxAz said...

Thank you for the beautiful way you wrote this story. I felt like I was sitting nearby taking it all in. What a blessing to all.

Chocolates4Breakfast (Terri Malinovich) said...

I feel as if I am reading a story about my own sweet parents. My mom has Alzheimer's and my dad is her care giver. They live with us. I can promise you that your kindness to that couple, that could so easily by my parents, was appreciated so much more than you can possibly know.

Susie said...

Such a beautiful post.

barcord said...

A lovely and thoughtful post as usual. Altzeimers is such a tragic condition, and often the one who is closest to the person is the one they forget. My aunt is looking after a lovely husband who thinks she is just the nice lady who takes him to get his hair cut. We should all thank God for our health, and be ready to give support, as you and Blossom did, to those who struggle with illness.

Kerrie said...


what a beautiful example of selfless love. Oh that we could all display that kind of love always; but I know I fail time and time again. It was so good to hear your experience as reminder to myself of what this type of love looks like; and to continue to work towards this as a goal for myself. Thanks be to God for the promise of His Spirit to help me with this as I know it is impossible in my own strength.

Thanks for sharing this story, Jenny.
Kerrie
Kezzie

Little Penpen said...

This sweet story brings tears to my eyes. There are some very special husbands out there, for sure.

Brenda said...

Thank you for sharing this magnificent moment of your life! God Bless You!

desertskyquilts said...

What a lovely morning outing for all of you. You WERE blessed, as were Fred and Mary, to find each other and experience those moments of friendship. I imagine most people don't interact, fearful for themselves rather than thinking of Fred and Mary. How blessed you all were, and are, by this encounter. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being such a wonderful example of the love of Christ.

Nana Jan said...

Jenny,

What a dear story of love - of laying down your life for another. True love, agape love is breathtaking.

Thank you for sharing it in such a captivating way. God has given you an amazing gift with words. You can paint a picture for the reader that gives them not only the facts, but the emotion and the makes them feel as if they are there in person.

And...Cully May is a beautiful treasure!!

Thank you, Miss Jenny!

Arlene Adams said...

What a lovely gift you have given us - this is the true meaning of love.....caring for those you love through hard times.

Gisela Suski said...

A powerful story - you can't make things up like this. I will pray for the couple, life
gets difficult sometimes.

allthingzsewn said...

Thank you for sharing the sweet attitude of unending love. It just reminded me to embrace each day God blesses us with. I'm in pray for both of them.

Robin in New Jersey said...

So sweet. What lovely couple. Thanks for sharing.

Allie-oops Designs said...

Geez Louise - tears streaming down my face - oh for a love like that. What a blessing my dear, thank you so much for sharing that.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Thanks for blessing the rest of us with the wonderful true, life story Jenny. You painted a wonderful picture for us to see.

Julie said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful story today Jenny ... even though I needed the box of tissues - I loved it. I felt like I was right there with you, sitting there at a table, watching on - you have such a wonderful way of story telling. Blessings to you Jenny x x x

Baa. xxx said...

What a wonderful example that man was. How caring and kind. It is a beautiful story. Blessings.

Ɓgueda said...

That's a great example of what love really is. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Have a blessed day.

Motherdragon's Musings said...

Such a beautiful and heart-warming post. Thank you for sharing.

Jusmom1 said...

Once again, your post has been perfect in its timing. My mom is suffering from dementia. It has progressed to the point where just a week or so ago she had no idea who I was. She had no memory of my husband, or of having a grandson...the light of her life. She had no memory of my home of 26 years and therefore no memory of the love and joy we have shared under its roof. Often she doesn't recognize her sister or my dad. Mom and Dad met in the 4th grade and have been married for almost 59 years. They are truly soul mates and I cannot imagine one living without the other. Occasionally I become frustrated when dad is slow in accepting what is happening to mom. He has refused to put into practice things that are necessary...but upsetting to mom. I chalked it up to him believing he knew better than the doctors what was best for her. However, after reading your post, I realize that dad is still "seeing" mom as she was, not as she is. His vision is narrowed by undying love. Your post touched a chord in another way. My dad has two different kinds of cancer and has had two heart attacks...and still his devotion never diminishes, no matter how hard her illness is on him physically and mentally. There is a very fine line between love blinding him to her dementia such that his love never waivers and that blindness keeping him from accepting the help she needs. I had deemed his reluctance to accept the changes as stubbornness, when in reality it is LOVE that blinds him to the things occurring here and now. You have made that SO clear. Instead of feeling frustrated and angry when he tells me that we don't need to take action and that "she is going to get better", I need to remember that he is not "seeing" her as she is, not CHOOSING to bury his head in the sand. I know there will still be a long battle ahead of me to "childproof" their home for mom's protection, but now I see that his reluctance is because of the impact such undertakings will have on Mom as she was, not as she is. Thank you for this wonderful gift.

Anonymous said...

If only Fred and Mary could know how many people they have blessed (with your help) through their story.

Cindy in NC

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Hard to post a comment here that would truly express how I feel about this post. There are so many facets to this story, I can't elaborate for fear of drawing the attention away from your well written words.

Thank you. Much love to you.
xx, Carol

Jude said...

Beautiful post Jenny, thank you, brought tears to my eyes too. You and Blossom would have brightened up that husband and wife's day for sure and they would have loved seeing Cully, I can imagine their faces lighting up. I think everyone benefits from situations like that and numerous for all concerned really. Wonderful too for Blossom to get out for a relax and be in the great outdoors with her dear Mum, win win for Nana and Cully too, win win all round, wish you many more. Judithann :-)x

Jennifer S. said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.