The Hardest Question

“It’s the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”-Albus Dumbledore.

As I sit writing this, I know that my grandpa is fighting a battle in the Intensive Care Unit in the hospital in Florida, approximately 1100 miles or so away. That means that if God calls him home, the blog I wrote a few days ago about him and my grandma will be one of the single, most precious pieces I have ever written in my entire life. You can read it HERE.  Nestled in his hospital bed, he sleeps and fights, and this could possibly be his last showdown. At his home in Sebring, Fl., his wife lays in the twin sized bed that is in their room, the bed that was soon to be replaced with a king sized bed so they both could sleep beside each other. Out in the living room is a new set of furniture, and an empty space where a chair he purchased a few days ago to aid him in getting up and down will be going. And my grandma, through all of her thoughts, wonders if he will ever get to see or use the things he just purchased. She wonders if he will make it back home so that she can change the bandages on his legs. She wants to be able to cook him dinner and hear him call her “Buddy.”

She wants her husband, and her best friend to come home.

That’s the part that makes me so sad.

I made peace with the fact that he would be dying about four months ago when these rounds of hospital calls began. What I haven’t made peace with is the woman he is leaving behind. And it scares the crap out of me.

My grandparents have been married 57 1/2 years and the dated for two years before they got married. That means that my grandma has been staring at my grandpa’s face every morning for most of her life. She has been making him dinner every night. She has helped him run businesses. She took care of him when he was sick, to the point where he nicknamed her Florence Nightingale. She had my mom and my uncle with him and instituted Sunday dinners. The Sunday dinners are still in effect, except when they are in Florida because we reside in Pennsylvania. Her whole life has essentially been devoted to loving one man and the family she created with him.

And now, she may be on the brink of losing everything.

The hardest question I have had to ask myself throughout this whole ordeal is a simple question: Why do we fall in love when we will ultimately be separated from that person? I fell in love almost two years ago. And I will be perfectly honest and say that the idea of getting married scares me. If he asked, I would say yes. However, I’m not scared of the marriage; I’m scared of him not being there someday. I’m scared of watching him fall apart right before my very eyes. I’m scared that I will devote my whole life to this person and that old age and diseases will separate us anyway.

So why do we do it?

If you believe in soul mates, then you believe that there is someone out there with the other part of your soul. You believe that you must then find that part of your soul and make it one with yours. I believe that my grandparents are soul mates, despite the fact that they have the single most dysfunctional relationship that I have ever seen. They are polar opposites. But, I guess that is what makes them compatible. I also have learned throughout this whole ordeal that everything kids are taught about fairy tale love is mostly inaccurate. Sometimes love isn’t about thinking the other person is dreamy and getting bit by this mystical love bug. Sometimes, love is more than that. If you’re lucky, love is about respect and security.

Maybe we are only meant to have our soul whole for a little while, but I don’t think it’s very fair. I don’t think its fair that my grandma will have to go on with half of her soul missing. This will happen sooner rather than later, but it still is something I haven’t made peace with. I’m scared for her. I’m scared knowing she will have half of her soul in heaven and that she has to carry on alone. I’m not looking forward to when that happens. It makes all superficial relationships you’ve ever had seem rather stupid for crying over.

Here’s my lesson: Your stupid minor relationships won’t break your heart when you break up with that person. You want heartbreak? Date the same person for 60 years and watch them deteriorate. Date someone for 60 years, and then have to carry on without them. That’s heartbreak. Don’t let minor setbacks seem like heartbreak. You will prevail.

I don’t know if it’s going to be easy to let myself continue to be in love forever because it’s scary.

But I will probably do it anyway.

And I can only hope that when the day comes where I have to go on, that I will be able to. And that maybe, just maybe, I will understand this when I die.  Because quite frankly, I’m not sure that being alive is enough to understand the powers at be with this sort of tragedy. Love is hard and complicated.

I just hope when the time comes I can be strong, thankful and understanding.

Love, here’s to you.

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