|My MIL and I|
I was telling my MIL that as we walked in the remnants of good fall weather, and the last of the leaves hung tenaciously on. She's one of my best listeners and sounding boards when it comes to my books. While she struggles with her memory, when it comes to the dilemmas of fiction writing, she's on it. I can always count on at least one piece of sage advice.
Back to: love and the guaranteed happily ever after. In life, that's unfortunately, not quite how it works. I don't often think about that as the majority of my stories never face that reality. But a chance meeting this fall reminded me of all that and then some. It was as haunting as the story highlighted by the theme music of this long ago movie - Love Story...
And so, the story goes:
It was a beautiful fall day so I took my mother in law for a walk and to a nearby craft sale. At one of the tables, a small man stood in a dull shirt that I imagined was as elderly as he was. He carved pictures in wood. Not just any picture, but stories intricately crafted and moments he explained of life that he'd seen or experienced. After what looking over his work and listening to what I thought was his story, I was ready to move on but my MIL likes to chat. And she'll keep asking questions as long as someone is willing to answer them. Soon I knew a little too much about the artist's life. And it was then that the story took a turn that none of us could escape from. He began telling us about his dog that had been his wife's. The dog hadn't liked him until his wife died. On that day, the dog moved from the foot of the bed to his wife's side of the bed. And he looked so lost when he said now it was just him and the dog. But, the saddest bit was that today was their sixtieth wedding anniversary. He said he just had to get out and so here he was at the craft sale, selling his goods.
|My happily ever after took the pic.|
I wished I could rewrite his story and give him the happily ever after I'm sure he deserved. And then I realized that he'd had his happy ever after. He'd had his love. Now, he was standing alone on the pier with all his memories behind him and a stretch of life ahead that he needed to navigate alone. That harsh fact is the price of love. I see it every day, my MIL is a widow and my mother is a widow too. But that day it really hit home.
And on the way home, my MIL only reminded me of that pier as she told me how much she missed her own husband. I'd known that, but today just brought everything home.
I'd never thought so clearly of the price of love before.
We all have our stories. Some of us have love, some had, and some may still be waiting. In my stories they lose and they love and they lose only to win in the end. That's not always how life works but in those stories, for a few hours we twist it to make it all that we dream of.
A disclaimer - while this happened a few weeks ago - life and a book got in the way. But that book is now off and another is stirring. In the meantime, snow arrived, yes in November and even before that. But I'm posting this anyway. This was what mid-October looked like in Saskatchewan.
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|The Dead Sea and a whole other story!|