It happened at my favorite place to talk to God, a perfect little park with rolling hills, open fields, trees, trees and more trees. I find this spot very spiritual but today was different, today my heart cracked wide open again.
For several months I saw them at exactly the same spot on the trail, in between two bridges and sitting on a log about 20 feet long. They were always as close to each other as two people could get and they were always holding hands. I never saw which direction they came from or which direction they left in, they were just there. For months I would say hello and he would reply with “we saved a spot for you!” I would smile, thank them and wish them a great day. The truth was at that time I was not strong enough to sit with them; I was too overcome with emotion when I saw them. There was something about their closeness, their twinkling eyes, genuine smiles, shared giggles and obvious adoration of each other that just made me ache.
I want what they have, that forever person. I would cry as soon as I was out of their sight and silently make a commitment to stop and talk next time, to find out about them and listen to their story. I was sure they had a story and they did……
They are from Holland and have lived in Canada for 60 years. He is 82 and she is 80 and they still live in the same house he built for her 30 years ago when they finally had enough money.
He first saw her at school and thought she was the cutest thing he had ever seen. He told me that she did not know he was alive but the wink of her eye and the curl of her lips told me a different story. They were married when he was 18, she 16 and left for Canada when their young daughter was 3 years old. His eyes welled up when he told me she was as cute as her mother but God needed her so he took her early and it has just been the two of them ever since. They told me they have no family left in Holland anymore, and at their age all of their friends are gone now but they have each other and that is all they need.
Every week, he would ‘save me a spot’ for me on the 20 foot log and I would sit and listen to their stories. One day I asked them what they thought was the secret to life, it was simple, “Love, love is all that matters, you just got to love someone more than you love yourself. Oh be sure to save for a rainy day, thank God every day, eat good food and get plenty of rest.” Doesn’t get any truer than that!
We would finish our weekly short conversations in the same way, I would tell them to have a wonderful day, teasingly wag my finger at him and tell him to take good care of his bride. He always replied, ‘Yes, I sure will! She was the cutest thing I had ever seen and now, well now, she is the most beautiful. We will save a spot for you next week.”
I would still cry when I walked away from them but the tears were of joy and gratitude for these two strangers being placed in my life. They taught me about love, faith, hope and perseverance. He would tell me, “Life will not always be easy but it sure is beautiful.” When I asked them why they came here, to this place and this log she told me, “This is our church; this is where we go on Sundays to talk to God.”
We did not know each others names and we did not seem to need to, we were kindred spirits.
These two became a treasured part of my walk but today was different; I was overcome with emotion before I got to them. I was already crying when I rounded the corner and I suddenly knew why, I saw only one pair of legs. I stopped, frozen in my tracks as she slowly focused on me. In a weak voice she said, “I saved a spot for you” as she patted the log beside her, where he usually is.
I sat down close to her, in his spot, and she reached for my hand. She held it as tightly as she could and told me that he passed away in his sleep after their walk last week. She said she was glad it happened that way and that he did not suffer for she could not bear that. She seemed to be comforting me. I moved closer to her; put my arm around her as she started to cry. I told her how sorry I was and how sad she must be. She smiled at me and said, “Oh dear, these are not sad tears, this is my love spilling over.”
I don’t know how long we sat there together like that; holding hands, crying and lost in our own thoughts but eventually she patted my hand, slowly got up and walked away. I know that people often die quickly of a BROKEN HEART when they lose their life partner and I felt like I may never see her again.
As she walked away I said, “You were the cutest thing he had ever seen and now, well now, you are the most beautiful.” She never looked back.
I sat there for a bit longer with my heart cracked open and love spilling over for these two strangers who were anything but. I bet wherever he is, he is saving a spot for her.