I read an article where a caller on the show, 700 Club, asked Pat Robertson what her reply should be to a friend who had begun dating other women as his wife succumbed to Alzheimer’s. His response was: I know it sounds cruel. But if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but to make sure she has custodial care, somebody looking after her.
His words struck a deep chord within me. What exactly did he mean? Love her till she is beautiful, attractive, caring and shrug her off your shoulders when ‘support’ is what she truly requires? Love your husband when he is young and handsome but let go of him at a critical time in life? Why do we even celebrate marriage and exchange vows of being together forever when nothing really matters at the end? Will everything not end eventually? I think the word “commitment” is just losing its essence. The “Me’s and I’s” have taken over the world. There’s hardly any room for “We and Us”!
I agree it is very difficult to go through life when your dearest one is suffering a disease that only a miracle could completely cure. But is the triumph of friendship and love limited to the happy times only? Does your spouse or relative not deserve more care and attention for the sake of all the happiness and joyful moments that you’ve shared for so many years? No one wishes for such traumatic endings..it’s a situation we are placed in. We have no choice.. so why seclude someone for no fault of his own?
Each one of us are time bound..we know that sooner or later it’s all going to be over. So, why not do our utmost to make that ending more comfortable for a loved one. However hard it may be, let us embrace them. Do not deprecate the power of a kind touch, a heartfelt smile, a listening ear and an honest hug. If not for the sake of love, how about doing it for the sake of good old friendship?
Quoting Ralph Emerson, “The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.”