Those who know me know that I wear my Grandmother’s wedding band. It’s such an amazing band and for the five and 1/2 years it has been on my finger, it has become a part of me. A symbol of the commitment Chad and I made to each other in front of our family, our friends and the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. But, it is actually so much more than that. I actually feel honored to wear it.
Margaret Cymerman, “Grandma Peggy,” passed away from breast cancer when I was not quite seven. So the reality is that I didn’t really know her too well. I know pictures; pictures that show her as beautiful, stylish and always “together.” But the thing is I feel like I do know her, at least in my own mind. I have developed a relationship with her because of the bond that we share - a bond that now lives within a beautiful bauble that symbolizes the greatest love of my life.
She and my Grandfather were married over 25 years. One thing that lives so vividly in my mind are the photos from their elaborate 25th anniversary party. Now, I know that they didn’t have a perfect marriage or a perfect relationship, but the pictures of that party have become a symbol of what I want my marriage to be. She was exquisite. Wearing a beautiful long white gown with perfect beauty-parlor hair…she just looked happy. An amazing kind of happy! For most of my life now, that image lives in my head…that image is what love looks like.
This past week gave me a lot more to think about. You see, I have this amazing group of women in my life. These women have become such a huge part of me and it makes me so happy to be able to be there for each other through good and bad, happiness and sadness…love and loss. We are learning from each other that love and relationships are not all sunshine and roses. We are learning that sometimes love tests us…tests beyond our limits. However, even at the furthest of these limits, we have been able to witness the grace and beauty that comes along with unconditional love.
A friend of mine once gave me a quote about love and the uncertainties we endure and the questions we ask over and over. It’s so relevant to me today, and I dedicate this to one of the bravest women I have been fortunate enough to have come into my life:
Be Patient... toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves... Do not... seek the answers, which cannot be given... you would not be able to live with them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will... gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. --Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
What I know is that love is never simple! When I think back along the relationships in my life, I have been fortunate to know love. But now that I am older and have more life experiences under my belt, I am starting to see that some of the love that I have experienced – well, it may have not been love after all. Something different altogether, but definitely not love because I now feel that real love doesn’t go away. It changes and it changes you, but real love doesn’t end. It heals you when you need healing and comforts you when you need it most.
I have always believed that people come into our lives for a reason. Recently, something made me think that maybe it’s not just the person, but more the love that we receive from that person. I have been fortunate to have had love in my life that has sustained me…that has given me strength long after life has moved in another direction. And, it is the love that I have in my life now that shows me what life is all about.
I think once again about the pictures from Grandma Peggy and Grandpa Walter’s Anniversary and I dream of walking in their shoes. I hope for a day when my husband and I can share the longevity of our commitment the way they did that day. As the thought crosses my mind…I smile and my heart feels happy.