It was a beautiful day. The kind of day that just brings a smile to your face when you first walk out the door. My husband and I set out for a full day of insurance inspections on a beautiful, sunny March morning. After over thirty years of marriage and many of that spent apart due to our different professions which required traveling; we appreciated the time we now spent working together.
The first inspection of the day was a home not far from our own home. In just a few minutes we arrived and knocked at the door of a nicely kept brick home. An older woman hesitantly opened the door and looked at us nervously with large brown eyes. I quickly explained who we were and the purpose of our visit. She smiled and walked outside, noticeably more at ease. Her name was Vivian and she spent a few minutes answering our questions before we set out to take photographs and attain measurements.
Vivian was chatting with her neighbor when my husband and I stepped into her backyard and noticed a cute little building. We had to ask Vivian if this was an apartment or just a cute storage shed. She graciously walked over to her back fence and lovingly looked at the cute building in her backyard. She explained that was indeed a storage shed and had stored flooring tools for her late husband. “My husband was a floor man,” said Vivian. “He laid flooring until the day he retired I just don’t have the heart to clear out the shed.” The smile left her face and her eyes welled up with tears.
My husband and I stood by quietly as Vivian began sharing her love story. We learned that her husband was tragically killed in a car accident. He kissed her good-bye one morning and never returned. Tears were now streaming down her face as she relived that day. There was a tremendous pain in her heart because she never saw him again. She was told his body was too mangled and broken up. The casket was closed, but her love and longing for him never did have closure.
Her eyes stayed on that shed, but her heart and mind was with her true love. We told her we were so sorry for her loss. She seemed to remember that we were there; she turned and looked at us and smiled through her tears. I told Vivian that we were Catholics and we believed that our bodies do die, but the soul lives on forever. She told us that she too was a Catholic. My husband told Vivian that praying together as a family always helps us in our despair; especially praying the rosary. She nodded and told him that she loved saying her rosary. She wiped her face as she told us about her wonderful supportive family.
Her mood changed as she then told us that she had been married for 53 years! Wow! They had met at a dance. Vivian’s face lit up as she recalled the day. She said she had spotted him from across the dancefloor and told a friend with her, “That is the kind of man I want to marry!” Her friend happened to know him and introductions were made. She laughed as she described her late husband as her “green-eyed monster.” She bragged that he had the most gorgeous green eyes and one big black brow. The next time she was out, she saw him again. That time she decided that she would get her “green-eyed monster”.
She was laughing, smiling, and crying all at the same time at these memories. She got her green-eyed monster and had many happy years of wedded bliss. She told us that they were never wealthy, but were comfortable and had a good life.
The smile left as she once again looked at his shed. “I just want him to come home to me,” she cried. “I don’t feel like living without him.”
It broke our hearts and we held back tears. We had only just met this woman, yet we felt like she was family. We wanted so much to ease her pain and take away her suffering, but that was impossible. The love of her life was departed and she will hurt until she meets him on the other side.
I gently asked her how long had it been since her husband’s accident. I was expecting her to tell me it had been a few months. Her answer nearly knocked me over. “Eight years.”, said Vivian.
EIGHT YEARS! “Vivian”, I said, “you are living proof that love never dies.” She laughed at that. I asked her if she had any grandchildren and found out that she had several. I told her that she truly had a blessed life and with all the children and grandchildren the Lord had given her; she still had many blessings in her life. She agreed.
We both thanked her for sharing her story with us. She invited us to stop by and visit if we were ever in the area. My husband told her that we would pray for her while saying our rosary and she smiled and thanked him.
After Vivian retreated back into her home, my husband and I quickly and silently finished our job. We climbed into our vehicle once we finished and finally allowed a few tears to fall. She had touched us so deeply. She had reminded us that life on this earth is short. A husband and wife joined in holy matrimony is indeed a celebration of life and a blessing from God. She also taught us that complete strangers can have such an important message, if one just takes the time to listen.
We drove to our next job holding hands. I looked over at my wonderful husband and noticed how his green eyes sparkled.