Imagine If You Can…

Bonnie Johnson's PostImagine if you can…you are a young person and you’ve fallen in love.  In every waking moment all you can think of is the person who has captured your heart.  Even your dreams are sweet scenes of passionate moments together.  Every thought is consumed by how much you want to be with them.

Imagine then, that you are lucky enough to marry this person.  You are only in your twenties and you have so much to learn about life and even about yourself.  You know passion intimately at this stage.  It is alive when you make love and also when arguments arise.  You begin to grow up together.  You have no choice.  You now have babies to love and raise together.

The next two decades have you side by side working to raise your children and carve out a comfortable life.  You both are working so hard that sometimes you forget to notice each other and then suddenly you stop what you are doing.  And you see them again like it’s the very first time.  Every cell of your being tingles with love and appreciation for this person.  The one.

Your children have moved on now.  Life slows down a little.  Together you marvel at how quickly those previous years flew by.  You slowly get reacquainted with each other and fall into comfortable patterns of routine.  You are best friends.  Words are not always necessary.  The love you share is solid.  Neither of you doubts the other in any way.

The years seem to accelerate now.  You have shared so much laughter and joy but there has been some terrible sadness too.  One of your children has passed away after a battle with cancer and it almost kills you too.  On the days you felt you couldn’t tread water any longer and you just wanted to stop moving and sink below the surface, your loves hand was under your head holding it up. You took turns then propping the other up.

Time goes on.  Many things change.  Your children’s children are now having children.  You live together in a small space because you realize it’s all you really need.  The days seem endless at times but then why does Christmas seem to come around faster every year?  Each of you has body parts that ache and some parts have even stopped working altogether.  You take turns complaining.  You are pretty sure your ailments are worse than theirs are, but you worry about them too. Your friends and relatives are dying regularly now.  It makes you stop and take stock of how far you’ve come and again, how grateful you are to have shared this journey with your love.

You have been married now for sixty eight years.  Sixty eight years!  You have been together almost everyday for all of those years.  The health of your partner has declined to the point that you cannot look after them by yourself any longer.  They are moved to a facility where doctors and nurses can care for them.  You are left alone.  They are left alone.  You each worry about the other one because you know they are so lonely and afraid.  You want to be the one to prop them up again.  You know how to be there for them better than anyone else.  The rules of the facility don’t allow you to be together though.  You both have to be equally and identically incapable before they can put you together.  When does that ever happen?

Imagine if you can…a full happy lifetime spent with your love but in the end you are not “allowed” to be together.  It’s against the rules.

It’s just not right.  Something is very wrong with our system and how we care for our elderly.

Bonniegrowing old together

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6 thoughts on “Imagine If You Can…

  1. This deserves a second read. Never take your youth for granted,it can not be bought back at any cost.
    A correction should be made on the saying “ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG” To learn why take the time to visit an old folks home just to observe and listen.
    Folks there had most likely taken their youth for granted, now they want you to see through their worn exterior and see them as they were in their prime, where most of their memories keep them each long day.
    Perhaps mother nature had compassion in mind when she took away short term memory from the elderly and had them vividly remembering their youth. A means to get them through the long days as they near the end of their journey.

  2. Bonnie,
    Great subject the best article I have seen on this site. I’m guessing these thoughts came from your experiences in life. John’s comment was right on. I did read it twice.

  3. You captivated me right from the first sentence! And yes it needs to be read twice to really reflect on each word so worthy of being put on the page. When you mention being together for 68 years I thought oh no someone dies, but it was much worse than that for me, being separated would be far worse than death between two lovers of much magnitude. My heart ached, my tears could not be stopped. This IS the best post on our site Bonnie! It came directly from your heart and personal experience which made the truth of it so real, it’s not a movie or story, it’s real life. A story similar to the ‘Notebook’ with an ending that I am afraid happens much more than the movie ending. John is right that perhaps Mother Nature does have compassion in taking from us our short term memory in later years. A wonderful reminder for everyone to live now and say what you mean to those you love, don’t miss any opportunity to write the letter, send the email, say the words you have hidden deep in your hearts! Life is short. T xo

  4. What great responses to a ” Unbelievable” article. Bonnie, you are fantastic ! Where did this subject start ? If you don’t mind me asking ? I love John’s response. I also believe we in our culture have no idea how to care for, respect and love our elderly. Years ago I first noticed in some friends of mine how other cultures hold theirs elders up on pedestals ! We unfortunately don’t in most cases. They live in the family homes together until their last breath, even as they depart at separate times. We have a lot to learn and take action on from your words of wisdom here. I myself had to read this four times for it all to sink in. If this doesn’t tell us all to enjoy the journey….. Nothing does !
    My personal belief is that our bodies are just the shell that carry us through our journey and it is our soul that continues on when our shell ( body ) has carried us as far as we were meant to go down the path of life.
    We also need to look at the government’s participation in caring for our elderly and what we can do to make some changes here. Large changes start with small comments….. what can we do ?

  5. I still feel like there is something I need to say, but I’m not sure what it is…. This article has definitely touched me in ways I’m finding hard to respond to. As I read over the responses I think that Tracy has responded in the best wording to describe it.
    Boy Oh Boy…… I don’t know about the rest of you but this article needs to be front page news across the Planet……. sorry, that’s the way I see it. I’m going to make a copy of this and post it in our Company Boardroom !I just went to a meeting with the Engineers I’m working with and this is all I was thinking about the entire time. This is soooo touching !

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