'We all want to fall in love because that experience makes us feel completely alive and puts us in a place where every sense is heightened and every emotion magnified. Our everyday reality is shattered by an intensity of pleasant emotions and we find ourselves flying into the heavens at the sound of their voice and a touch of their hand. The ecstasy may only last a moment or a month, but that doesn't diminish its value, because we are left with memories that we treasure for the rest of our lives.
If we are wise, we will cherish all happy moments as they make a fine cushion in old age. Two things about love stir my senses in opposite direction. I experience immense joy whenever I hear of lifelong marriages and see the celebrations in motion for a couple's golden wedding anniversary.
However, I feel unimaginable hurt whenever I learn of the bereavement of one person who died but days after the death of their loved one, to whom they'd been happily married for half a century. Such loss I fear, often weighs down too heavily on the partner left to shoulder the grief, that it frequently results in a broken heart that wants no mending. And though the anguished body of the remaining partner could still endure the growing failure of their faculties, their mind, heart and soul gives up the battle to go on alone. They find life unbearable to function a moment longer with the burden of loving memories now spent and the unbearable loss of their soul mate.
I rejoice most when I see love descend upon a courting couple in old age and sense its gentleness in both expression and execution. To see a couple of old people who found each other first in friendship and later discovered the love they share and decide to marry in old age, gives hope to all who still wait. I rejoice at their happiness, but more than that, I rejoice at the hope for the future they carry right up until the brink of death itself. They demonstrate above all else that love is nought but friendship set on fire and kindled by genuine concern and an honest meeting of minds.
It is not uncommon for elderly newly-weds to take on a new extension of life. They learn that though old age does not protect one from falling in love again late in the day, that love can protect one from the ravaged uncertainty of old age. There is often a care extended to older love that isn't found in youthful courtship and which symbolises the fragility of feelings often disregarded when one leaves childhood years behind. Such care embraces the loving sentiment expressed by the poet W.B. Yeats when he wrote, 'I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly because you tread on my dreams.' It is as though wisdom has led them to know that if a thing loves, it is infinite and the more wholesome a thing, hence greater the hurt when trampled and broken!
Love at first sight is hard to find, yet easier to understand, but it's only when two old people who have been looking at each other for years discover it in each other, that it becomes a miracle to behold. Their love has grown eternal; it is a love to which no old flame can ever hold a candle. You may take away the feeling, the passion and the romance in all aging relationships, and still find a level of care that only springs from growing love.
I suspect that those who love deeply never grow old. They may die of old age, but when they die, they die young at heart. The true measure of their never-ending love is that they love without measure." William Forde: April 12th, 2016.