I Believe in Forever

‘Til death do us part. A familiar expression attached to the long standing tradition of forever committing oneself to another. This was an expression I swore I’d never speak in my lifetime because of the unrealistic appeal that went along with those five simple words after my parents tabloid worthy divorce. It wasn’t until after I lost both of my grandparents that my perspective on the expression experienced a sudden change.

I had never questioned the concept of getting married and staying married until I was blind sided by the exposure of my fathers affair and the ending of my parents 25 year marriage. As I watched years of what I thought was love and devotion deteriorate through lawsuits and moving trucks, the ideas I once had about finding one person to spend the rest of my life with fell apart along with it. My thoughts on not only marriage, but the idea that something can last forever was destroyed. I was now filled with an overwhelming hatred brought about by the deceit that marriage was, and I felt a total loss of hope in the possibility of forever.

My grandmother was the first to pass. With her passing came raw, genuine pain from my red cheeked, cardigan wearing grandfather,who was once never seen without a smile. His infectious laugh was silenced, and the familiar smell of tobacco he carried with him faded. I never saw him quite the same again.

I was never oblivious to the degree of dedication my grandfather had to his wife. He would have laid down in traffic if it meant keeping her from ever having to experience unhappiness,but it was the short lived months without her by his side that solidified my understanding of just how deep the connection between two people can be.

In the whirlwind that the loss of my soft-spoken and delicate grandmother caught me in, it seemed as though my eyes blinked and my grandfather was gone with her. When I heard the news, I was surprised by my own reaction. I wasn’t upset, but rather my heart felt as if it were spilling over with warmth. It was at that moment, through my reaction, that my hopeless and bitter ideal was proved wrong, and for the first time since my parents divorce, I believed in forever.

Legally speaking, marriage is just a piece of paper that can be destroyed and forgotten, just as fast as it was signed and dated. My grandparents didn’t see marriage as a piece of paper at all, but rather as an installation within ones deepest connection and commitment to the soul of another human being.It was not through their life together that gave me back my belief, but rather their death and rejoining that allowed my eyes to see, though rare, that forever does exist. Because to them it wasn’t simply a piece of paper, forever is no longer simply another word in the dictionary, but a belief I carry out everyday.

Emily Longshore

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