Every time I hear someone say that love doesn’t last a lifetime, that love at first sight isn’t real, that there’s no such thing as “meant to be”, I have this to say:
Tommy, who grew up on a farm in Tennessee, has a week’s leave after basic training before being shipped off to the South Pacific, and gets on a city bus in Nashville. A few stops later, Sarah Janet from Georgia, up visiting her cousins, gets on the same bus. Tommy falls in love at the sight of her and gives her his seat.
They write to each other the entire time he’s away, and a year after he returns they get married. They build a life together, a home, a family.
When they get old, he watches as the woman he loves, that girl he met by chance on a bus who stood by him through good times and bad, is slowly lost to him due to Alzheimer’s. When she finally passes, it’s the first time his family can remember seeing him cry. He follows her three months later, because living without her just isn’t worth it.
Tommy and Sarah Janet married in September 1946, when he was 29 years old and she was 24. Sarah Janet passed in January 2005, and Tommy followed in April. They were married for just shy of 59 years, and had loved each other for more than 60.
My grandparents gave me the greatest imaginable example for just how strong the love between two people can be, how it can last a lifetime, and sustain you through the worst of things. And I can only hope that someone will love me half as well as they did each other.