What is a lifetime of Love?

I meet my couples for their wedding ceremony planning meeting at a Timothy’s coffee shop in Ottawa on Saturday mornings. Yesterday, as usual, I was there. The staff know me well, because sometimes I spend five hours there meeting couple after couple. I was chatting with the staff while getting my coffee. One of the servers said that she would not get married because it is supposed to be for life. I was surprised to hear this assertion from this 20 something year old young woman. She said that given the divorce rate she didn’t see the point of it.

You may remember in my post, “What’s Love got to do with it”, I mentioned the statement that I make in every wedding – that Love is a promise that takes a lifetime to fulfill. So I reassured her that marriage was for the lifetime of the Love not the lifetime of a person. Although one can hope that they co-incide it is not necessarily the case.

It then came to me that most people assume a lifetime is a l-o-n-g time. But that is not always the case. I related to her the following story. On November 11, 2006, I performed a wedding ceremony for a couple. It was his first and her second. She had a teenage son from the first marriage. They were so much in love and she had said to me that she felt blessed to finally having discovered her true love and partner. When I came home to my sweetheart, I told her that I didn’t like the sound of her smoker’s cough.

Unfortunately, three months later, her husband phoned me and said she had terminal lung cancer. She was asking that I perform her memorial service. In July, I met them to incorporate her thoughts into the service. I could tell that she was starting to lose her lucidity. He had quit his job to dedicate himself to taking care of her needs. The families on both sides were financially supporting them. They had downsized their apartment so that it was not a huge burden. Yet it was in a high rise. He was administering her medications to keep the pain in control. He was with her 24 hrs per day.

I asked her how she felt about the whole thing. Her response was that she was “damn disappointed” that it took her so long to find ultimate happiness-  in a job she loved and in a husband she adored.  She was not scared about the future because it was with absolute faith and certainty that there was a place to go. Looking out from the apartment she never missed a sunrise – no doubt because a sunrise offers hope for new beginnings.

During her illness, I saw the bond of love between the couple and the son that was so strong and intense that it was worth a lifetime. She transitioned in September, never having reached her first wedding anniversary. I performed her memorial service with much Love.

So what is a lifetime of Love. It can be short or long. It is what you live every day.

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