Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Selfless Love Knows No Limits

Most girls/women dream the same dream about what marriage holds in store for them and how their future love story will unfold. Normally, that dream includes finding a soul mate to experience life's treasures and pitfalls with, creating a family, growing old together and eventually leaving this earth together (ya know, taking your last breath next to the one you love like in the movie The Notebook).

OK -- so maybe that's my idea of timeless love and the picture I've painted for my future since way back when. But unfortunately, life is unpredictable and will surely throw many curve balls at each and every one of us. Such is the case for Deric Jacques, an 85-year-old man from Novi, Mich. who has selflessly been caring for the love of his life, Barbara, for the past few years. 

Susan Ager (who by the way has one final piece this week before she leaves the Detroit Free Press) wrote this amazingly heartfelt and gut-wrenching article that tells the story of Deric's love for Barbara. I wonder what it must have taken to listen to this man's story and hear firsthand what it's like to love someone as much as Deric loves Barbara. If she toughed it out without shedding a tear, I'd be impressed. 

Barbara is blind in one eye, has a low-level lymphoma that sucks the energy right out of her, is mobile only with the help of a walker and has vascular dementia. The sum of these conditions basically equates to Barbara not recognizing Deric or her surroundings on most days. Yet Barbara's conditions have no negative effect on the love and care Deric provides her on a daily basis. This couple has experienced many things throughout their lives together -- conquering love amidst a war, 22 homes throughout the world, five healthy children, 65 years of marriage and now Barbara's debilitating diseases. Deric's explanation for why he puts up with the struggle of caring for Barbara rather than taking the easy route and placing her in assisted living is as simple as this: "I know she would do this for me."

You must read the story to fully grasp what it's like to live in an 85-year-old man's shoes who has allowed his entire life to turn upside down and has given up his own wants and needs in order to care for the woman he loves. Yes it's a tear-jerker and yes it's sad to think this poor man will never have the woman he married back again. But I always love reading stories that exemplify what it means to care more about others than you do about yourself...and what it means to love. 

3 comments:

Sarah said...

What a great story. This story is so similar, almost eerily similar, to my grandparents story. Even down to her waiting for him during the war, having a child die, and him caring for her when she became severely ill. Hits close to home. Thanks for sharing this!

Lauren said...

I knew I should wait until I get home to read this. Anything involving older folks and love, I'm a goner -- It's SO beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

Deric Jaques said...

Thanks so much for the really nice comments but we are only one of thousands who are in this position. It is so sad that so many are destined to live their "Golden Years" in this manner. This is the time when we had planned to travel and see old friends around the world but that is now a dream. I am just thankful that I am able to take care of the lady who has been my lover and friend for 65 years.
Thank you,
Deric Jaques