Kissing Crusaders


I’m not even ready to process the conversation I had with my beloved older brother last night. I called him this morning to add another something for him to think about, but he didn’t pick up. That’s probably a good thing because I was still feeling a little irritable and a lot tired.


I showed the photo of the kissing crusaders to my co-workers this morning and they marveled at the beauty of the moment. The facebook note I posted with the photo was simply: 74 years married. Still Standing. Prayers up everyone. One-hundred-fifty people had liked it overnight. When I showed my supervisor and a consultant sitting in the adjacent cubicle, they also ooooed and awed. When I volunteered the back story – that the kiss came after a long day of fighting, managing Grandma’s disease – they made the moment sweeter.


Michelle, supervisor said my grandparents reminded her of her aunt and uncle who were so close they took care of each other all their lives. When her uncle was put in a nursing home, her aunt took a bus to visit him every day. The day he died during her visit, she went home and died of a heart attack less than an hour later. The consultant, Tracy, said when her father was in the hospital, comatose, the doctors advised her and her siblings to tell him it was ok for him to leave. They each visited and after all eight of them told him they were fine and he could leave, he died within hours.


“That reminds me of when my brother was dying at 16,” I said. “We told him he didn’t have to stay in that body for us. He was in so much pain. The cancer had spread to his lungs. Maybe it’s time we have that conversation with my grandparents.”


I remembered giving them hints that I’m ok. Several times in the past year Grandma looked in my face and asked, “Why are you so sad?” She knows something’s not right in my marriage because she hasn’t seen my husband in almost four years. She’d told me to “turn it over to God…let God fight your battles.” But at one point Saturday she looked in my face and said, “Look at those big, pretty brown eyes.” I felt like she survived her life-threatening surgery to help me through the latest heartbreak since she’d nursed me back to whole almost twenty years ago.


I remembered telling Granddad that I’m ok yesterday when he asked about my job.


“How did the people act about you taking off early today,” he said, speaking over his shoulder as he stood at the sink washing greens.


“No problem. This job is waaaay less demanding than any job I’ve had before. I’m not in charge, so it’s not all on my shoulders. All I have to do is make sure my work gets done and I put in the hours,” I said.


“What about the people you’re working with? How are they?”


“My supervisor is great! She’s a praying woman. In fact, we pray together every week,” I said.


“That’s a change from that last one you had cursing you,” he said. We both laughed.


“Yep. My mother-in-law told me to not just pray for any job, but pray for my divine job,” I said. “I really feel like this is a divine job.”


With that, I realized I was telling him I am financially secure enough and although my husband has never visited their church for Sunday service with me, I’m not in a wilderness of some sort. My mother-in-law has been the moral support I’ve needed.


Maybe later today I will ask my mother what she thinks about us each having that conversation with both of our elders, assuring them that we’re ok and they are free to go. I think she will say they are seeing and sensing how well we are and they will leave when they feel like they’ve given us all they can and that we’ve received all we can.


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