Josephine sat on her wheelchair, eyes staring into a distant space. Her hands were trembling violently, but not because she’s frightened or nervous. She just couldn’t help it – she had lost physical control of her body, and now lives in a constant state of dementia.
Cyril, her husband, pulled out a small, palm-sized photograph which he had kept in his wallet for more than 60 years. It was a monochrome portrait of Josephine when she was 17, a gift from her to him. On the back of the photograph was written:
From Loving Josephine
3 years later, they were married.
Josephine couldn’t remember anymore, but Cyril did. They have now been married for 58 years.
For 9 trying years, as Josephine’s condition worsened, Cyril walked her, fed her, bathed her. Tempers flared as Josephine’s mental state spiralled beyond control. Her mood swung wildly from anger, to remorse, to love, and back to wild anger.
When even love became buried beneath furious accusations, the only thing that kept them together was Cyril’s patience.
“In life, we will never get a straight path to walk. We are always forced to walk the crooked way. You will never know where life leads you, when things will become good.”
Cyril added, “I don’t know when I will become like her!”
Cyril had remained jovial throughout our visit, but it was clear that the man’s patients have been tested to limits that few have experienced.
The one thing I know for certain is that Cyril is tired. Very, very, tired.
“In my opinion, I will go first. Not her.”
Before we left, I asked Cyril if he’d like to gift Josephine a kiss. Cyril placed his lips on her forehead, and remained there for a long time. He didn’t seem to want to let go.