I have never liked the part of traditional wedding vows that say “Until death do us part”. I’ve never really understood or agreed with that idea ~ Does it mean that once one spouse dies, the couple no longer love each other? Certainly not. I like to think that a couple’s true love lasts for all eternity. It surely doesn’t stop at the moment of death. Surely after one’s passing, the living spouse continues to love the other with his/her whole heart? I am thinking about this more than usual today because today – June 14, 2015 – would have been my grandparents 65th wedding anniversary and my Grandfather’s 89th birthday.
Sadly, my Grandpa passed away a little over a month ago. But that doesn’t mean the love shared between him and my Grandma for all of those years no longer goes on. I would like to believe that their love will always exist. There’s no “until death do us part” in their marriage.
Although Grandpa isn’t here for the occasion, I still feel like 65 years of marriage is an amazing thing that needs to be recognized, celebrated, and cherished. So this post is in honour of my Grandma and Grandpa – Ron and Esther Palmateer – and their many years of love and marriage.
One of my favourite memories of my Grandpa, I mentioned in my eulogy at his funeral last month. At their 60th anniversary celebration, my Grandpa was asked about the secret to a successful marriage. With his keen sense of humour, my Grandpa chuckled and answered, “She worked inside, I worked outside. And every now and then we’d meet up for coffee.” All of those who knew him, loved Grandpa for his wonderful sense of humour and he took every opportunity there was to make others laugh.
After Grandpa’s passing, Grandma mentioned to me about her and Grandpa “not making it” to their 65th wedding anniversary. But, to me, when you make it a month shy of 65 years, you made it. In this day and age, so many people give up on marriage. They forget the vows they promised and the commitment they made, and they let the struggles and stresses of life split them apart.
But Grandma, you and Grandpa made it. Through the ups and downs, the raising of eight children, the maintaining of a 700-acre farm and homestead, through health and sickness, the good times and bad – you made it. Your love was strong, dedicated, and true from the day you got married -and as one of your many grandchildren, I am immensely proud of the family and commitment you and Grandpa built together.
Although you lost your beloved husband, dear Grandma, I want you to know that you made it. You and Grandpa will forever have a life of trust, companionship, and love that lasts for all eternity. I know today Grandpa is smiling down at his “little Esther” with love and longing in his heart.
So Grandma, while Grandpa may not be here in body with you today or the next, please remember that he is always with you. He is by your side today, just like he was sixty-five years ago, and as he will be for all of your tomorrows. Although he is gone physically, his spirit and his memory lies in the place you’ve always held him – your heart – where he shall forever remain.
And while you hold on to these memories please know how immensely blessed I am to have had wonderful grandparents like you and Grandpa. Your commitment to one another and to your extended family is truly something I aspire to and hold so very dear.
With all my love,