It’s easy to be cynical about love today. It’s easy to conclude that love can’t last. And then something comes along that makes you think maybe love can last — connection can last — until the very end. Just maybe.
Nine days ago, a woman posted this picture on Reddit. Her simple caption said, “My Grandma, 96, with my Grandpa, 100, hours before her death this weekend. 77 years of marriage.”
I don’t know where they lived or what their names are. I’m not sure that even matters. The story is universal. The desire to be loved is universal. The desire to have someone to hold onto — in honest connection — is universal.
Most marriages I see are pretty terrible. Most relationships I see are just as bad. Most people don’t know themselves and they don’t know each other. They marry the wrong person. They live entirely different lives that are connected only by children, if at all. And most of them refuse to do anything meaningful to end their misery and learn how to make better choices.
Most of the couples I see make me cynical and I find myself fearing that I might be one of the many whose choices and circumstances leave him alone and unloved at the end.
But this man and woman were together since they were roughly 19 and 23. They would have married in 1939. Imagine getting married and starting a family at that point — right as the world was hurling itself into a terrifying world war.
I have no idea what their relationship was like along the way. Maybe they had trouble. Maybe they weren’t always happy. I assume they had ups and downs, just as the happiest couples have.
All I can know is that they loved each other enough to want to be near one another as she died. It would have been easy for them to be in different rooms or at least beds that were physically apart. But one of them or both of them chose to be close to each other as she was slipping away.
And in her final hours, he held her hand for a last time.
I want that.
I want something real. I want to believe that when someone say, “I love you,” it’s something real. Something that lasts. I want for a woman to be the center of my life and I want to be the center of hers. I want our children — and maybe even grandchildren — to be close extensions of the love and closeness they see in us.
I don’t want perfection. I don’t want a fairy tale.
I want love. I want connection.
I want what I imagine when I see this couple — love and connection that can survive and thrive. Those are the things that matter, not the things people prioritize instead — not money, not ego, not other people’s opinions.
Love matters — connection matters — more than anything else. I want what I see here when the end comes for me.