I witnessed something the other day that has stuck with me and reminds me that love really does know no boundaries. I thought I’d tell you about it today.
I was in the waiting room at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville while Terry was in surgery and there were three people sitting near me, a man and two women. It was obvious they were a family unit of some kind, although I didn’t know what the dynamics might be. The man talked more to one of the women than the other, but was cordial and caring to the other woman, too. The gentleman and I struck up a conversation and he told me that their 24-year-old daughter was undergoing surgery for cancer, and from what he told me it sounded pretty serious. I could feel the pain and anguish coming from him as he worried about his little girl. Having almost lost my own precious daughter a couple of years ago, I knew exactly what he was going through and I said a silent prayer that he would still have her when the ordeal was over. He mentioned the surgery had begun about 8:30 that morning it was around 2:30 when we were talking. During our conversation I learned that one of the women was his ex-wife and the mother of his daughter, and the other woman was his current wife.
A while later he asked the women if they were hungry and then went down to the cafeteria to bring back food for them. I started to check my email on my phone when I suddenly heard loud sobbing and looked over to see the mother breaking down, and the other woman holding and comforting her, assuring her that God was with them and it would be okay. The mother kept saying “I can’t do this in front of Anthony. If he sees me losing it, he’ll fall apart too. I can’t do that to him.”
And all the while, her former husband’s current wife was holding her and stroking her hair, showering and surrounding her with love. I have no idea what the family history is or how long the new wife has been in the picture, or whatever, but it didn’t matter. All that mattered was the love on display. And I’ve got to tell you, I had to wipe away some tears as I witnessed that.
Here’s the thing. It just like I said, love knows no boundaries. My first marriage ended in divorce after 14 years, and it was not a good separation. In fact, it was downright ugly. There’s no need to go into all the pain and drama associated with it. My ex-wife and I will never be friends and we keep our distance from each other.
The years leading up to our separation and divorce had been tense, and the end was inevitable. During this time my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was in at-home hospice until just before the end. My ex-wife, Marty, worked as a nurse’s aide at a hospital, and every day after work she would go to my parents’ house and spend several hours helping take care of my dad.
My mom and dad always thought Marty was as much their daughter as my wife. My mom never learned to drive a car, and usually Marty would take her to lunch a couple of times a month. While the divorce was going on, my mom called me and said she had a problem. Marty had called and asked if they could go to lunch, and my mom did not want to make me feel like she was choosing sides or anything like that. She said that if it would make me uncomfortable, she wouldn’t go. I told her no, Marty was divorcing me, not her, and I did not expect her to turn her back on someone that I knew she loved.
My mom lived for five years after the divorce happened, and she and my ex remained close all that time. Mom had Alzheimer’s and was in a nursing home and never recognized me when I came to see her. She would always think that I was my dad or one of my brothers, all of whom were deceased, and would cry and ask why Nick never came to see her. That tore my heart out. But she always knew who Marty was.
Throughout the two years that Mom was in the nursing home before she passed, Marty went there every day and spent time with her. I had moved up to the White Mountains and it was she that called me to tell me that the time was getting close and I needed to come. And she was there with me when my mom took her final breath. That’s love, folks.
Due to all the things that happened at the end of the marriage and through the divorce, once our kids were adults Marty and I never had occasion or desire to speak to each other again. But I will say that no matter what my sins or hers may have been that ended the marriage, I have always appreciated and respected the fact that she loved my parents to the very end and was a daughter to them to their last days. That’s what love is all about.
It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Iron 13, Bullet Books Speed Reads #2 by Manning Wolfe and Billy Kring. It’s the story of a hunt for the MS-13 terrorist group to stop their sinister plan to assassinate both the American and Russian presidents. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – I must be getting old. Last night I searched for my friend for half an hour while he helped me look.