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20 October 2009

An Old Fashion Love Song

An old man in love is like a flower in winter. ~ Portuguese Proverb

I shall not die of having a cold. I shall die of having lived. ~Willa Cather

We went to a funeral today. The celebration of life was for Cliff, a vivacious man who danced through life with a smile for 92 years. His wife Jan, 20 years his junior, is our neighbor. We met Jan just over 5 years ago. We chatted over the fence as she hung her laundry out to dry. Mesmerized by this tough broad, we became instant friends and took it upon ourselves to look after her. Cliff got sick just after we met and for the next 5 years, Jan devoted herself to caring for him at home. When we got news that Cliff had gone on to the spirit world, we rushed to her side to be sure she wasn't alone. No, exactly the opposite, she was surrounded immediately by family and friends.

At the memorial service today, the story unfolded, telling the more intimate details of Cliff and Jan's love story. They met at a dance. He was 80 and she was 60. It was love at first sight. She asked him to dance and that was that. They became solid fixtures at every dance in town. Everyone adored this dancing couple who only had eyes for eachother. We perused the family photo album that was out on display. Most of the pictures were action shots - Jan twirling in Cliff's arms both with huge smiles; arms around eachother looking lovingly into eachothers eyes; mouths wide open giggling about something only they were privvy to.

You could feel the love, you could sense the love, there was no doubt there was love in the chapel today. 150 people came to show their love of Cliff and to support Jan. I watched as Cliff's younger brother listened to the service. I tried to imagine what he was feeling by gaging his outer emotions and the energy around him. I could see he was deeply hurt but he was being strong. I could see he loved his brother. He nodded at the open casket when he passed by it. I left at that moment because I couldn't endure living his or Jan's heartache. My heartaches are sure to come. Today was a reminder. Instances like these, we tend to re-examine our lives. Today I was reminded that I am still alive.

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