I’ll love you even if you don’t know me

25 Jul

Even though I travel a lot I haven’t quite gotten the hang of being 40,000 feet in the air. Too many variables for my type A personality. This is why I take the first aisle seat I see, whether when booking my flight or getting on the plane in Southwest fashion.
My recent flight to Rochester, NY from Tampa was no different. I took 3C, an aisle seat next to an older couple, probably in their 80’s.
I was happy to have an aisle seat near the front but, as a nurse, a little nervous to sit surrounded by the elderly. I was off duty, right?
Now, I didn’t talk to the couple next to me. Maybe it was because I wasn’t feeling chatty or maybe it was because they were so obviously in love with each other that they could care less about me.
The gentleman in the middle seat obviously (to me) had early Alzheimer’s or some sort of dementia. Very nice but slow to answer and repeated himself a lot. His wife patiently answered his questions and held his hand, reassuring him.
And I mean held his hand. They were like teenagers at prom. They didn’t let go, except for the wife to order their drinks and take their snacks.
I couldn’t stop watching the wife out of the corner of my eye. She cared SO MUCH for her husband. He may have been just a bit lost but she was so sure in love with him. It brought tears to me eyes, thinking about how I would feel if I was her. I love the Husband so much, but in 50 years will I still be so patient and kind? Oh, I so hope so. I pray so.
As humans I feel we have an innate selfishness that trumps everything. I see so much self-importance that I forget people are actually capable of giving themselves completely to someone else. And I’m just as guilty. I think that I appreciate my prince of a Husband (and he really is) but I wonder if it’s enough. As a nurse I might be burned out on caring. Will I really hold his hand in 50 years, when we are traveling somewhere and he’s confused about what’s happening or upset about being in a weird environment?
When the man next to me looked as his wife, he knew how much she loved him. He may not have been sure about where they were or where they were going, but he was confident of one thing: she loved him more that she loved herself. You could see it, feel it.
I hope that if my love is ever tested in such extreme, absolute ways that I will be there for my amazing husband, showing him the love he needs.
I want to thank these lovely people next to me, for reminding me that I have emotions about old age, not just an urge to push pills. I want my Husband next to me, instead of back in Tampa, waiting for my return.
And I want to promise a love that will withstand the test of time, health, and travel.

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