Old man looks at wife of 59 years and says ‘I know you can’t hear me, but I love you’

Today, I witnessed a story of love. Not the type of love shared by young people who are half full of passion, topped off with hormones. It was not the type of dewy love experienced by newlyweds who are enthralled with the idea of exclusive devotion and the happily ever after.

In such a world as ours, where vows are broken as quickly as the downing of a gavel, what I saw today was a rarity, a diamond exquisite in design.

Today I saw a man, a broken man, standing vigil over his most prized possession. Here was love personified.

When he walked into the room his steps were faulty, but his determination was undaunted. His eyes were fixed upon his destination at the front of the room. A steel grey casket sat under the colored lights. Half of its lid was propped open; the closed half held a spray of vivid, mix-matched flowers adorned with ribbons which read the words “wife” and “mother.”

Upon approaching and without pause, he leaned down and kissed her painted lips, his frail body trembling to keep upright.

So gentle and soft came his words to her. Surely these words were spoken innumerable times, but this time it was shrouded in finality.

“I know you can’t hear me,” he whispered. “But, I love you.”

And his tears fell.

bobby

Family visitation was not scheduled for another hour or so, but he had come early. He wouldn’t squander these last few hours. For over 60 years she had been by his side, but it still wasn’t enough. Not near enough.

So, he pulled up a chair and they sat.

A cane on his right side, his deceased wife on his left, he sat sidled up to the casket for nearly an hour. He rubbed her arms and patted her hands. It was if he was comforting her, but the truth was, he was comforting himself.

It didn’t seem to bother him that her skin was cold, her body stiff and rigid; nor did it bother him that she didn’t respond to the words he whispered. Strange as it seemed, this could have been a normal scene from any given evening within their home. Except for the plethora of lavish flora and small gifts sent by sympathetic friends, this scenario seemed completely normal.

When family began to trickle in, he was still sitting there, holding her hand, stroking her hair.

“She looks good, doesn’t she?” he asked when his children approached. Everyone agreed. And they cried.

For nearly five hours he stayed nearby, exhausted, spent, until his body demanded he retire and his mind pleaded for respite.

This man, this devoted man, had shown more grace in his time of grief than many do in times of plenty. I stood by in awe, watching faithfulness on display.

Never had I seen a man so broken, robbed of his happiness by the curse of death. I wondered as I watched him, what would he do tomorrow and the day after that? Today was the easy part. Today she was still here, lying beside him, able to be touched or seen or kissed. Tomorrow, after she is laid deep in the ground, and he returns to their home, what then?

Her things will still be there – the smell of her skin, scribbled grocery lists, her favorite chair, leftovers in the fridge, their bed. Their bed. How does one sleep alone after 59 years of lying next to your best friend? I can’t imagine ever sleeping again.

Today, I witnessed a story of love. And I shall witness it again tomorrow when the story finally ends, and the stage is empty, and the lights go dark.

For Bobby, and all that he is.


Writer’s Note:
At the request of the Bobby Moore and his family, I am sharing this narrative and photograph. This story was never meant to be seen by anyone. It was written solely for my own healing and to digest the very poignant moment I had just experienced. As I watched Bobby with his wife, I knew I was privileged to share a moment that conveyed volumes of time. As a photojournalist, I know photographs such as this capture verbs. It is a window into the event; a bearing witness, if you will. The Moore family have hope that publishing this piece will grant healing to others.

About The Author:
April Yurcevic Shepperd is a seasoned print and photojournalist, her passion is capturing a moment in time through photographs or the printed word. She feels that nothing compares to releasing your shutter, knowing that single frame tells the whole story; or writing so vividly, her readers can see through her words. You can follow her on her Facebook photography page.

6 thoughts on “Old man looks at wife of 59 years and says ‘I know you can’t hear me, but I love you’”

  1. I have lost my husband to cancer..my best friend…companion of 44yrs. Always together n it’s devastating.. Lonely but glad I stayed working like he told me cus u can get so sad n lonely alone. But the good Lord puts people on ur path that help along the way..gonna be 2 yrs in October. My prayers for him. AMEN

  2. Ii understand this love story.,we have been married 61years and 6 mts. We have walked together, prayed together and faced lives ups and downs hand and hand. We had sorrow with the sudden death of a son age38 and death of a grandson age 34 .I don’t know the future but but we will face it hand in hand and two hearts that beat as one. Thanks for your beautiful story.

  3. I can only imagine the heartbreak, fear, loneliness and uncertainty for an older person or persons in that situation. At a time like that, they will need a whole lot of Love And Support to help them get through those times, or need answers for any questions, or even just to talk and just be there. We are all humans and need someone to lean on sometimes. 😪😥😑🤗🙏❤💜🙌📖🕯💖

  4. By chance I run across this story as my Aunt of age 75, had a major stroke on June 24,2020. As of today June 25 she’s still surviving that stroke, leaving her completely paralyzed on her left side . Her husband of 59 years, is so totally lost without her being @ home with him 😢 In a time of COVID-19 Pandemic he’s not allowed to be @ the hospital with her except 1/2 hr daily 😢 He’s grieving himself sick not knowing exactly what to pray for ? God take her home with you to no pain or sickness or God please leave her here on earth so that I can spend the rest of my days with her !! I can see that being him in that chair 😓😓😓😓

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