John. The Love of My Life.

I’ve never met the man but his name is John.  I won’t give his last name but you can ask Inez.  She’s sure to tell you…over and over again.  She resides at a nursing home in Newton NC.  The memory unit.

When I first introduced myself in the dining hall she told me of her late husband.  Her blue eyes twinkled when she spoke of him.  I felt warmth in my soul, a deep contentment at the thought of her desire for John.

But he’d passed away.

“Strokes in his brain,” she explained.  Her eyes lost their lustre.

Following his death some had asked, “Inez, are you going to get married again? You should. You’re still young.”

Her brow furled.  She took my hand in hers, wearing a troubled countenance.

“Now why would I do that? You see, when you’ve married the love of your life it just doesn’t get any better than that.”

Prompted by God, I visted again several weeks later.   And there she was at dinner, same spot (Anyone over the age of 80 has earned the right to be territorial).  She was disinterested in the lasagna that had been served that early evening. One glance at the limp broccoli that had thrown its arms back and committed suicide and I couldn’t blame the dear woman.

Removing her burden of remembering who I was I simply reintroduced myself and knelt beside her chair.  And her eyes lit up.  But it wasn’t because of me.

“I was married once.  His name was…”

I already knew.   John.

“He was the love of my life.”

I nodded.

I watched as her brain unknowingly recycled its thoughts.  Within the course of my 20 minute stay John’s name came up again.  The love of her life.

“When you’ve married the love of your life it just doesn’t get any better than that,” she explained – again – but with greater intention.  Seems she wanted to be sure I heard her.  Oh, I had.  But there was no sense in telling her so.  Not because she wouldn’t remember having introduced me to John but because some things are worth being repeated…over and over again.