As I proceeded into the kitchen area to keep my clean licked plate into the over piling lot of dirty dishes, I passed her. I observed that her hands were dried from the last morsel that she had had from an unfinished plate. She had stopped eating a while back and was gazing into the horizon whilst her teenage daughter played Superwoman with two adorable kids.
It was merely thirteen days since the time her husband passed away in a tragic incident. She was not even by his side to kiss him goodbye. Several nautical miles away, she cried as her sister-in-law broke the news to her in bits, cautioning herself every time not to be too harsh or too straight. She was told that it would be ok in case she was not able to make it. Money was definitely a deciding factor yet she could not bear the thought of not stroking his hair one last time, not caressing his cheeks one last time or not feeling his strong arms that had tried as much to protect her as much as was his capacity.
As she sat at the table, I broke into by asking her if all was ok. She was quick to tears on this question.
‘I still feel he is here’. The first sentence hit me hard. Though he was my uncle, whom I had grown up looking up at and learning how to stay humorous even in serious situations, I had not shed a tear. But now I felt a sudden pain of missing someone in your life.
‘Everyday he lived for the kids and for me. He loved his daughter a lot and would always caress her hair, warning his son not to trouble her. Money being a permanent shortage, if the kids would fight over a piece of fish, he would sacrifice his piece of fish.’
‘If our daughter was late to come back from college, he would walk to the bus stand and ensure he’d walk her home safe. When I was working close-by, by the time, I’d come back home, he would heat the water for my bath so I was refreshed after a long day’s work.’
At this point, I couldn’t stop the tears rolling down my cheeks. How could someone, after so many years of marriage keep the love burning. I think it takes more than just love. It takes respect and gratitude. The thought of not taking the other person for granted… Ever! Easier said than done it is, but when you probably live one day at a time, it has to be easier.
As I walked out of the door that day, I felt I was walking out wiser than I had entered the house. Life, as we know it, is the best teacher if you are ready as a student. Love may diminish over a period of time but respect and gratitude in a relationship can ensure that there is a continuous ignition of love in a marriage.