64 years they were together.
In 1952, they met a dinner party in Montreal. Trying to be cool, he waited a week or so to call her to ask her out, but that was just for show. To take from the movie Jerry Maguire, she had him at hello.
They dated for 10 years before they got married, as she had things to do. Keep in mind this was the 1950’s, so not your traditional girl. She travelled the world while working at BOAC (now British Airways), worked in advertising, and then at the Conference Board. She moved to Vancouver for a year and then back to Montreal. After 10 years of dating, she proclaimed that she was moving to California with her best friend. His response “I thought we were going to get married?” Her reply… “not if you don’t ask me”.
And so it began. Two children, thousands of volunteer hours together and a lifetime of love.
There’s so many memories it’s hard to choose one, so for this story I choose to write about the lessons watching her and the two of them taught me about love. They set the standard high:
- Love is a verb. It’s not something you proclaim, it something you do. Unconditionally.
- Kindness, laughter and a glass of Dubonnet at 4pm. The keys to a happy life and marriage.
- Dance. Whenever the mood strikes. Whether it be in the living room, kitchen, or in the middle of a store (much to the embarrassment of your children). Don’t waste a good song.
- Travel and distance are not barriers to a good relationship.
- Be your own person, while at the same time have things that only matter when the two of you are together.
- It’s ok to discover and listen to rap music in your late 80’s, and like it. Be open to exploring new things together.
In July 2016, mum passed away. We were fortunate enough to be able to do palliative home care, with the support of an incredible team.
I remember being in the kitchen with dad. Mum was having a rough day and the two of us were just standing there, exhausted, heart broken, staring at each other across the floor. I said to dad, “you know, it’s coming and we can’t stop it. We’re on the tracks and we can’t get off.”
His reply, “You know, I waited for her, she’s my right arm.”
Laugh. Be kind. Find your right arm.
Thank you for sharing this beautiful story, Gail. I know you to be a kind and generous person and it’s easy to see how the love and values of your mum and dad come shining through you.
Thank you Jess. We got lucky in the parent lottery, that’s for sure!