Well, in my eyes anyway.
It's Valentine's Day, the most romantic day of the year and the only day you're likely to see little chubby cupids firing their heart shaped bow and arrows. But it's not just about courtship anymore. It's also about remembering those you love.
So that's what I'm doing.
This story is very dear to me and I feel it needs to be shared. It's not about the trials and tribulations someone had to go through in order to be with each other, like the tragically doomed Romeo and Juliet; it's not the typical bitter-sweet love story that usually accompanies Valentine's Day, no. It's about the love that was shared by two people from a young age until their dying day.
It involved my Great Uncle and Aunt, two people I never got to meet. I remember being told this story by my Dad and it's one that has embedded itself in my heart.
My Great Uncle and Aunt worked on farm. They married young, had a family, and were inseparable. They went everywhere together; they worked together and grew old together. Then the tragic day came when my Great Aunt had a stroke. This rendered her paralysed and bedridden. My Great Uncle refused to leave her side and looked after her day and night. He fed her, washed her, clothed her, and every evening gave her her favourite tipple via a spoon.
While she remained in the bed, he took up residence in the chair next to her. This is where he slept every night, not wanting to leave her alone. This continued for seven years. Throughout that time she suffered more strokes, leaving her in a cabbage state, but still my Great Uncle refused to leave her. He doted over her. He done everything for her.
One Christmas my dad, being a little boy, went with his family to pay them a visit. They walked in the house but my Great Uncle wasn't around. Guessing that he may be in the bedroom where he often was, they went up to see him. They found him in his chair. He had passed away during the night peacefully in his sleep. But what astounded them was the sight of my Great Aunt, a woman who hadn't moved, had to be kept and hadn't interacted with anyone for seven years, sitting up-right in her bed.
They contacted their doctor, and the necessaries were dealt with regarding my Great Uncle. The family then passed their attentions to my Great Aunt and laid her back down in her bed. Later that afternoon, she too passed away.
It's a sad story - one maybe a little too sad for a Valentine's Day - but to me it's special. It shows the strength of love that these two people shared, something you rarely see these days, and I always imagine that my Great Aunt, even after all the strokes she suffered, refused to leave without her husband - and then the day he died, after seven years, she went too. She had waited for him. Theirs was a love that two people shared for nigh on 60 years. They lived their lives side by side, and when that final day came, despite the odds, they went together.
To me, that's love...