Today would have been my Grandparents wedding anniversary. 47 years. That’s a very long time. I wonder if Grandad could have known they wouldn’t make it here – did they know they’d make it that far? They got married as two young graduates, ready to start building their life; Grandad died with his wife at his side, reminiscing on that life, on the world that they’d shared.
Their life wasn’t a fairytale romance, or a love to write a song to. It was a love that grows with time, a life built on friendship and respect, a love fuelled by pride and awe and togetherness: It was steady, it was solid, it was true. Together they travelled the globe and were active in their world. They learnt and they taught, bouncing off each other as they strove to achieve; in the desire to be the best they both could be. Their love was their love and today, bittersweet, should be a celebration for that love.
For my Grandparents, their love may be symbolised in that picture on Machu Picchu when they climbed right to the top, or in the home that they shared or their children or the knowledge that they gained. And while I see their love in different forms in every album on the shelf, for me the truest form of their love is in the album last on the shelf. The one that was never filled.
In that album of my Grandads final years I see a love I hope oneday I know. A love with power enough to fuel a soul, to keep it pushing to survive. I see a love that’s fuelled by achievement and pride. I see a love that grows and sharpens with time and I see a love that overcomes odds. I see love that’s more than a logic or a reason or a feeling or a place… I see the love in the milk poured on weetabix, and the lathering up of soap. In the newsprint stained hands after a day sitting by the bed; in the domino defeats and the stone-cold meals. I see love in the empty spaces where the walking used to be and the quiet nights when the debate was snatched away. I see love in the tenderness in the middle of the night, in the struggle in the fight. In the end, their love shimmered in the tears and echoed in the laughs and I see their love in every step they didn’t take.
Today, for the first time in years, they’re apart on this day and every other day that follows. But that love that shone so brightly at the end, stays strong, stays real, stays here.
Happy Anniversary, Grandma & Grandad.