Marriage: Loving Eyes

Written by Cathy

Not long ago I received a call from my best friend. She had just suffered the greatest loss imaginable, her husband had died suddenly. Her voice was soft with thousands of tears already shed. In the coming days there would be many more wetting her face as well as those of the many mourners who shared her grief. I realized that the “busyness” of the funeral plans somehow carried her through those painful days. But that busyness would dissipate, and she would be left with her emptiness. She and her husband had become, over the years, the best of companions. I was reminded of W. H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues”:

     Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought love would last forever: I was wrong.

As with so many of life’s tragedies, this one again presented me with a reflection of my own mortality and that of the one I so love. After nearly 40 years of marriage I could ill imagine life without my great love, my husband. Isn’t it strange that after so many years of practice, when we feel we have finally mastered this marriage dance, we are presented with the inevitable reality that we will one day, in all likelihood, be alone?

I am not an expert on marriage. I do know that of all the marriages I have been around, everyone seems to have had to work through the difficulties that come with two people coexisting, then adding children (God willing), then elderly parents, jobs, loss of jobs, faith crises, retirement, etc. But I have also recognized a truth. My partner, and I hope yours, too, even after all these years, looks at me through loving eyes. It is my constant in the turmoil of life. He never falters. It makes me smile, laugh even. I do not suffer many delusions. I am over 60, I have slowed down a bit, I have become slightly forgetful and soft in the middle. But it matters not. He still sees me through those loving eyes.

So that was an aspect of my dear friend’s loss that was most poignant for me. She would be loved still, by family and friends. She is, after all, a wonderful, devoted mother, a dependable, treasured community member, a soul full of faith. But she had lost the one person who would look at her as no one else ever would. She had lost her love, and those eyes that saw her one true self.

That is what I have learned about love and loss. My wish for you is that you feel the steady, unfaltering gaze of those eyes, those always loving eyes.

9 comments for “Marriage: Loving Eyes

  1. Michelle
    June 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes… Thanks for sharing. So moving!

  2. Cathy
    June 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Thank you, Michelle. I was a bit hesitant to put it out there, but I am now glad I did. You are so kind to show your interest in this endeavor. Such a wonderful friend.

  3. Amelia
    June 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Cathy, this is so beautiful. I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am to you for writing it. What you’ve written will definitely stick with me. 🙂 Thank you!

  4. Cathy
    June 16, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Thank you so much, Amelia! It was from the heart, but you know sometimes those are the hardest things to share. I’m so touched that it rings true to you!

  5. Kelley
    June 16, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Cathy – this post means so much to me! I have to say thank you for giving me a glimpse into what my mom must be going through after my Dad passed away earlier this year. I knew they always had a great love (40+ years) but your words have definitely moved me to understand their love even more. Thanks and I am loving all the posts from the four of you! Job well done!

  6. Cathy
    June 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Oh, Kelley! Thank you! I only understood this from the perspective of a loss my friend suffered. The realization that she no longer had that special someone in her life made me appreciate what I have, and to have some insight into her situation. I try not to take things so for granted, now.
    I was fortunate to meet your lovely parents at Em’s and their love was obvious even to an outsider. My husband often says the greatest gift a man can give his children is to love their mother. That is a gift you will always have.

  7. June 18, 2012 at 3:09 am

    Cathy,
    Even though I only have 6 years in, I can completely relate to this post. Sometimes I go into a cold sweat thinking about…

    Thanks for the poem. Are you familiar with Edna St. Vincent Millay’s quote, “Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell”?

    This was a nice post. 🙂
    -Natalie

  8. Cathy
    June 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks, Natalie. Sometimes poets and songwriters really do get it right. I turn to poems and songs to help put words to my deepest thoughts and feelings.

  9. viki
    July 13, 2012 at 11:50 am

    So true. This hits home to me as I lost my husband suddenly at the young age of 37. He was only 40. THank you for sharing!!

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