His eyes light up as he leans over slowly to kiss her. She clutches his arm in her methodical shuffling over the carpet.
They celebrate their 65 year anniversary in July.
Every day he lifts her into the bathtub. Every day he feeds her. Every day he provides the arm she uses to maneuver around the house.
“When we said in sickness and in health, we meant it,” he says.
It wasn’t in the midst of raising nine kids. The juggle to balance of job and family. The stress of money or the moves or the broken appliances. It is now that those vows have weathered into their greatest sheen. When the person you loved all those years seems to have evaporated in sips, bit by bit.
But he doesn’t see the disease when he looks at her. He doesn’t focus on the memories her mind has snuffed out. He sees the life left. Out of the single words she can utter, he culls meaning.
That’s what happens after 65 years, you can read each other’s minds when the body fails to deliver the message.
Of all that is lost, the Alzheimer’s hasn’t robbed her of her soft spirit, of her gentle smile, of her will to live. It hasn’t shaken his devotion. His humor. His ability to see life’s gifts.
“I”m just enjoying every moment I have with her,” he says.
They don’t prove this loss is easy. They prove they have chosen, in the midst of it, to love.