Clint Black put it best…
“When I said I do, I meant that I will, till the end of all time. Be faithful and true, devoted to you, that’s what I had in mind, when I said I do.”
I have spent the last few days remembering and honoring my grandmother, Marlene Schneider. She is exemplary of the woman I hope to grow up to be. She is selfless, encouraging, determined, devoted, understanding, unconditionally loving, and above any an all things, tirelessly compassionate. This woman never laid eyes on someone she couldn’t find the good in. She sought to discover the better side of every person she crossed paths with, and I hope I can learn to become like her in that sense.
What I loved most about her, is that when she said something, she meant it… and she stood by it. Forever. She had a love for family unlike anyone I have ever encountered. She was always finding ways to bring us closer together, especially when we were furthest apart. She and my grandfather have served as constant beacons of stability for our family. They have unknowingly and as far as I know, unintentionally taken on the role of defining for my family the epitome of grace. They had been happily married 56 years the day she died, and through thick and thin, the good times and the bad, stood side by side embracing our family and uplifting us in whatever capacity we needed. I don’t think they know how very meaningful their relationship has been to me specifically.
This picture is from their 50th wedding anniversary that was celebrated at our farm in Millboro, VA… unfortunately this is a milestone that has become somewhat of a rarity. Please understand that I am not pointing fingers, shunning, or looking down upon anyone who has been in a ‘failed’ relationship: I’m not. That would be pure hypocrisy, as I, myself, am a product of a broken home. But what means so much to me about this picture is the essence of possibility. It is possible to find the right person, to be happy, to have a wonderful marriage, and raise an incredible family together, and to have the happily ever after you deserve.
Don’t get me wrong: sometimes it takes one or two or more tries to get it right… I don’t believe in ‘failed’ relationships. They’re simply broken roads that take you to the right path, the long way… honestly, sometimes you need that… because when you find that missing link, you treasure it so much more having looked for it for so long.
I am currently in Virginia Beach spending some time with my family before the funeral. In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve watched, seen, or listened to my grandfather painstakingly relive every detail of my grandmother’s last days multiple times. I’m not sure if it helps him to continuously relive those moments, but I can tell you that as many things have changed in the last few days, one has stayed the same… and that’s the look in his eyes when he talks about her.
Though he looks as though he’s aged years since I saw him two weeks ago, his eyes have the same sparkle they’ve always had when he’s talked about her. I know he’s hurting, but he still somehow manages to be happy for her, in the sense that she’s not suffering anymore. So am I, but it sure doesn’t make it any easier to let go. This is about to be the hardest day of my life, but I must remind myself of all the love she left behind instilled in every member of my family, and then some.
I hope I have a love like my grandparents have shared. I hope I find someone that will stick with me through anything and everything unwaveringly. I hope that their success story becomes mine someday, in some way, some how, somewhere, with someone. Most importantly, I hope they know what an inspiration they’ve been to me and my entire family. When they said “I do.” they meant that they will, till the end of all time. Be faithful and true, devoted to each other, that’s what they had in mind, when they said “I do.” I can only hope to do the same.
When she said it, she meant it… and so did he. Always and forever…
Until death do us part.
And it did.