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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau

Growing Old Together

Robert Browning wrote "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be," and John Lennon expanded upon these words in his song "Grow Old with Me," adding:

Grow old along with me

The best is yet to be

When our time has come

We will be as one...

Those words came back to me last night as I passed these two iris blooms that were now definitely passed their prime. It was easy to imagine these flowers as life-long lovers, the one on the right nestled up to and comforting his equally aging love on the left. I almost felt like an intruder taking the picture. Even as they daily move toward their end, he continues to protect "her" still. I think I was sixteen and in the blush of my first love when I found this poem with those wonderful opening words. My parents showed their continuing love for one another daily. So it was easy for me to think that such life-long love was the norm. Looking back now I see how rare that kind of love actually is and how blessed are the few that have it. As a young girl looking forward there was no way for me to imagine or understand that this kind of love must have the power to withstand all the challenges of being two separate individuals who have worked through so many hardships together and have been willing and able to create a combined life that was probably never 50-50, but often 80-20 or 20-80. They were always there for each other. And through it all they continued to journey through life together. As a widow my greatest sense of loss is that I don't have "together" as a way to describe who I am. I have no one with whom to still share my life's journey. And for most of us that marry, that is the norm. We will continue to age, and even perhaps find that the best is still happening. But there is no "along with me" with whom to share it. These flowers are such a wonderful visual message of what it might be like to be able to grow old with a loving partner.

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