Love… Until Death do we Part…

Today, good friends of ours are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  I used to think that number was reserved to really old people… guess it’s not as old as I may have thought.  Ruthie and Neil are a wonderful couple.  I have known them for about 34 years now.  They have always been examples of love to me.

The first time I truly got to know them was when they invited hubby and I to their home for dinner.  They have two daughters who, at that time, were starting into their high school years.

Ruthie and Neil were youth leaders for the base we were living.  We wanted to help them and we thought that the dinner would be a time to get involved with what they were doing.  We had a lovely dinner and after dinner Neil excused himself from the table.  He returned with a large box of things.  He handed us the box and said, ” Here is the stuff for the youth group.  Good luck!  We promised our daughters that we would not be youth leaders when they got to be this age.  They need to be able to confide in someone not their Mom and Dad.  It is all yours.”   Hubby and I dumbfoundedly took the box and after a few more minutes of dessert and conversation, we left.  We ended up having a wonderful experience with the youth group and loved each moment we had with the youth in Maine.

That was just the first  lesson we received from Ruthie and Neil.  We learned that when our girls got to be high school age, that we needed to make certain they had other people to confide in, and learn from.

Through the years we have learned much from this couple.  They are examples of love.  They enjoy each other’s company.  They laugh together… often.  They pray together… often.  They are often there for others.    Our lives have been enriched by this couple.  We are so very thankful for them.

My prayer for them today is that this anniversary is just a stepping stone to a long and beautiful marriage.  They deserve the very best.

This is what I thought my post would be today.   I woke up thinking about Ruthie and Neil and this milestone in their lives.  On Facebook this morning there were several pictures of them.  There was one from their wedding.  It is a great picture and they both look radiant.  My heart was filled with joy for them.

I continued to scroll down on Facebook and came to a post from hubby’s cousin.  My heart stopped when I read her post.  I read and reread it.  With a lump in my throat I looked over at hubby and said, “Hap died.”   Two simple words that broke my heart a bit.  Hap was hubby’s cousin.  His proper name Harold, was never used, and his wife’s nickname is Pinkie.    Hap and Pinkie were just a couple of years older than hubby and I.  They were fun to be with and we loved when we could see them.  Hap loaned hubby his new car when I was a senior in high school.  It was the car hubby drove me to the prom in.  He took hubby’s beat up, but very cool opal home that night in May.  Hubby took me to the prom in a brand new sports car.  I had never ridden in anything so beautiful.

Through the years in family life, we spent hours with Hap and Pinkie.  Laughter was always present.  They, in many ways were like Neil and Ruthie to us, mentors.  They encouraged us and loved us.

In our youth we make vows to one another.  We love the best way we know how.  We struggle and strain and some times we are filled with lightness and laughter.  The vows we take with a carefree thought  while filled with youthful love are binding.  Today I see what those vows mean.  Ruthie and Neil are celebrating a milestone in their marriage.  Fifty years is remarkable today.  They are the exception to the rule.  They have stood by their vows and have done so in a fashion that is wonderful.  Hap and Pinkie stood by their vows too, they loved until death parted them this morning.

I sit and write this filled with emotions.  Joy and heartbreak.  Sometimes, that is what love is, isn’t it?  DAF

Published by marycatherinethomas

M. Catherine Thomas is a published writer, speaker and teacher. Mother of two and grandmother..

8 thoughts on “Love… Until Death do we Part…

  1. Oh DAF, I knew your post would be a beautiful tribute to Neil and Ruthie, but, I had no idea it would include such sad news. I’m so sorry for both you and hubby today. We don’t know the number of years God gives to each of us, and as I get older I realize just how important what we do and say is, the importance of family, and our service to others. Thank you for words filled with blessed memories, and love for both couples.

  2. What a wise mom you were. I too recognize those adults that came alongside my own children to help them over the rough spots in their lives. I was so grateful for their connecting with my teens in a way that I could not in that particular instance. And I’ve had the blessing to be there for the youth group kids when they needed someone to talk to also. It’s neat to see both sides of the coin and to know just how valuable it is. I’m sorry about Hap.

  3. The concept in confiding in adults who are not your parents is so true for teens. Sometimes finding good mentors outside the family in a big city is difficult. Smaller communities have it all over us in this regard. A poignant piece of writing Ms DAF.

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