Five years. Five years since his wife had passed away. Life was not the same without his lovely wife, but Mr. McLaurin had made it through the worst of his grieving. Now in his mid seventies, a retired businessman, Mr. McLaurin felt stronger, and was seriously considering to open his heart to the magic of love. The idea of finding a loving lady who may become his companion for the twilight days of his life made him giddy with excitement that he had not felt since his younger days.
Mr. McLaurin paid close attention to the single elderly ladies at the church he earnestly attended. He joined a seniors group as part of his dating search. But Mr. McLaurin had no luck. He had not anticipated the complexity of his daydream. The single ladies he had approached had shown no interest or desires to enter the dating game at this stage of their lives.
Almost ready to give up, Mr. McLaurin bounced back into his pursue of love with the intrigue of a new tool which would aid his enterprise.
A year ago, his daughter, Elizabeth, had given him a laptop for Christmas. She introduced him into the cyber world. After months of struggling with the computer, learning applications, connections issues, and all the components of this modern mode of communication, Mr. McLaurin finally was able to reasonably master using his laptop. He exchanged daily emails with his daughter, grandchildren, and friends.
But the real adventure began when his buddy, Leo, talked him into exploring online dating. Mr. McLaurin was amused by the infinite possibilities that the world wide web could open for him, just there, at the tip of his fingertips.
Mr. McLaurin spent a few months communicating with ladies. He met some ladies in the area. Nothing prospered beyond a casual lunch or diner encounter. As his spirit became more adventurous, Mr. McLaurin decided to expand his contacts to a greater geographical area. He started searching for ladies out of state. After several contacts, emails and phone calls, he ended up with two candidates that would be willing to meet him in his hometown. His heart pounded with the thought of meeting Joan and Virginia.
Joan was ready to drive and stay with a friend of hers who happened to live in the area. Virginia was not quite sure when she would be ready to meet him. She had some financial issues that were her priority, and at that moment she didn’t have the means to afford the trip.
Anxious and not wanting to lose any time in his endeavor, Mr. McLaurin made arrangements with Joan. Their first meeting was full of emotion and uncertainty. It was somehow fun, but sadly, Mr. McLaurin felt no chemistry, no attraction to Joan. She seemed to want to extend her stay for a few more days. He was polite and accommodating as he didn’t want to hurt Joan’s feelings.
Nonetheless, he grew more eager to meeting Virginia. Driven by mesmerizing hopes, and certain that he didn’t want to establish any commitment with Joan, he offered Virginia to buy her a ticket so that she would fly to meet him that weekend. He also offered to pay for her hotel, for comfort, safety and respect. Virginia accepted his offer, and made plans to meet him in the next two days.
Mr. McLaurin rushed to see Joan and in the most gentle way possible—if there is a gentle way to deliver news of rejection— told Joan he was not ready for a steady relationship.
Joan left for home.
With an uneasy feeling of relief, he started to get things ready for his next date. Mr. McLaurin finally met Virginia. Love sparkled between them at first glance. For the next days, Mr. McLaurin felt like he did as a junior high school boy when love snuck up on him, grabbed him, and never to let go, when he first saw Marilyn, the girl of his dreams, and years later, the woman who became his wife.
Virginia’s feelings were obviously mutual, and she was eager to consider a long-term relationship. Mr. McLaurin could not believe how beautiful life had become again.
The Internet was the answer to his prayers.
Within a few months, Virginia became Mrs. McLaurin. The newlyweds were the perfect example of love prospering in their golden years.
Life was grand.
And life continued being grand for Mr. McLaurin after three years of marriage, as he deeply loved his Virginia. He told everyone in the nursing home about how they met, and how much he was in love with his wife.
The first time I heard Mr. McLaurin tell the story, I sighed countless times. Tears welled in my eyes as I could feel the sincerity of his words as he recounted the story.
Mr. McLaurin’s health progressively deteriorated in months that followed. He underwent a few surgeries, and he and Virginia hoped that he would complete his rehabilitation, and return to their home.
I heard Virginia had been busy with doctor’s appointments as she had medical issues of her own to contend with. I was also told that she hadn’t said anything to Mr. McLaurin about her health as she didn’t want to worry him.
An team meeting was held to discuss Mr. McLaurin’s rehabilitation status. The meeting went fairly well until a therapist announced that Mr. McLaurin’s discharge was projected for the following week. Virginia became restless and started questioning the planned discharge date, stating that it was too early. As more facts were presented about the criteria for keeping someone under rehabilitation services, Virginia became more inquisitive, and ultimately outraged. She started yelling that she was not ready to take care of her husband at home. Everybody looked at her, astonished. Then, Mr. McLaurin attempted to calm Virginia, but she in return, started screaming at him.
“You have dementia!” She shouted.
Virginia’s merciless words echoed in my head. My heart ached for Mr. McLaurin.
The meeting had to be adjourned, quickly. The Administrator came to speak with Virginia.
I wheeled Mr. McLaurin to his room, trying to solicit conversation from him to minimize the raucous encounter we had just left. Amazingly, Mr. McLaurin did not seem upset.
“She has a temper, but she calms down quickly.” He said during a lull in my apparent soliloquy. His words sounded genuine. “I know she loves me. Things will work out.”
I remained with Mr. McLaurin for a while, making sure he was all right. I recalled that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few months ago, but to me it appeared that his dementia was very mild. The wife’s words sounded so harsh to me that I wished there was somehow a magic wall in between the words and Mr. McLaurin as if a shield, protecting him from any hurt. Any emotional hurt.
To my dismay, I saw that his love for her was actually his shield. Virginia’s desperate words did not touch him at all as his love for her absorbed her rant.
Virginia walked into the room, looking down. She spoke to him calmly. I stepped away, glancing at the two as they embraced and kissed. They looked into each other’s eyes.
I could see there was no need for further words.
A sweet story. It's nice that the Internet crosses generations.
I don't know.
Most people have lived their lives. They have family and memories and personally, though I would enjoy having friends, I do not think I'd get into marrying someone again.
Like the story said, both had health issues to resolve, neither could take care of the other.
I believe in family and that old people should die at home with people who love them. I think day camps, where old people can be picked up and taken on picnics or some other activity with others, is a good idea.It's better than a home where family never visits and then you have to marry and both old people stay under duress till it's finally over.
Your story brought tears to my eyes Doris. I guess that you showed us what the expression, 'love is blind' really means. What a tender couple...you just never know where love can be hiding.
There is no age, no time limit for true love... It cannot be pushed, not bought and not be lost. This is great for the duration of their lives; it will help both of them. Life is not perfect but if someone is there to love you when you need them most; that is a blessing from heaven!
May we all learn from these great examples and yes, the world has become bigger with our cyber communications.
Lots of love and above all a Happy Valentine's Day!
This blog very pleased me, I am an academician of Education who has shared with the virtuality of my media works? as professor of theology. Sharing also try to present texts aiming to expand my knowledge as I did while reading your blog now, I grew up in many areas.
Mariette's comment is exactly what I think about Love and Life.
Such a beautiful story of two loving people despite their health problems and old age fears! Kudos to you Doris for the writing and sharing!
Happy Vaentine's Day!
I think Virginia was with-holding both her fears and her true health problems. Was their relationship really deep enough to share their truth and their pain?
You can "fall in love" and "love" someone at any age; but the older one gets, the more hurdles there are. This is such a touching story; it seemed to have worked out well for these two people, despite the problems. And, as usual, you have told it beautifully!
I just read your comment on my blog, Doris. Jen says thanks for your get-well prayers, and she hugs you back!!! She's feeling somewhat better today, and we're having a good, peaceful Sunday.
HI Doris...this story reminds me we all want to be loved no matter what the age and we don't want to be alone. And I think you're an awesome social worker...you really care. Wishing you a Happy Valentines Day tomorrow. ☺
Doris, Thank you for signing on as a follower on my blog, Write from
the Heart. WELCOME!
This story could have been about my mom and dad. No matter how she fussed at him, he proteced her fiercely if anyone said something to her about how she spoke to him. Your blog is meaningful.
Relationships are often difficult enough when we're young. So many more factors can be entered into the equation after we are older and more set in our ways. Patience and forgiveness are so important.
When we are in the closing days of our lives it doesn't mean we ever have just give up and give in to our future passing. We still have time to live as long as we are alive and are willing to try.
This was a hopeful story.
Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011
This was a lovely story. I was a bit taken back by how Virginia was so blunt with her husband when she proclaimed at that meeting that he has dementia, but I detect an underlying reason for it. Perhaps she is afraid of the outcome of his prognosis, or perhaps her own medical situation has her on edge and full of anxiety. All in all you were able to clearly relate the love that they share and also the patience and acceptance that is a vital factor in their lives and shared love. It was very well written and a pleasure to read. I am not a social worker by vocation, but by heart. I'm grateful that our paths have crossed.
I have a very dear friend who was widowed and she had never thought that love would ever come her way again. I spoke with her just the other day. She shared how she and her newfound love and husband now of five years cherish each and every day that the Lord allows them to enjoy with one another. She reminded me that she is almost eighty, and her sweetheart that she loves more than life itself, he's going on eighty-five! I've been needing to update my writing blog. I'll post their love story on it. It's called, Manifold Blessings: A Christian Fable
am grateful for their access and to be following me, their participation? It on my blog? a satisfactory? it, then? s a great intellectual and professional competence, and I'm just a student who wants to grow a lot, and has the support for this all I want to help achieved? air this ideal.
A portrait of patient love...this is an admirable story. Thanks so much for sharing. At times the best thing we can do when a loved one is frustrated is to remain calm (without, of course, allowing them to walk over us). You always portray the people you write about with such stunning, empathetic realism.
I can see the pain they both are going through. When the nursing home wanted to release my father, my mother refused because she felt she couldn't care for him--she actually moved out of their home and he came home alone. But she loves him dearly and visited him all the time, making him meals etc but she knew her poor health couldn't care for him.
Aww, what a lovely story!
A lovely story! Just tells you that love is not about youth and beauty- it is also about companionship. It is amazing, how many different ways love can touch us.. I also like the way you have brought out the fact that when we make a second choice of a partner in life we are in no way betraying the first..
From an ordinary perspective, the old lady's outburst would be shocking enough to make someone turn away from the situation, perhaps with feelings of disgust, loathing, maybe even fear. From your perspective, it was a chance to witness the dynamic aspect of a loving relationship still in the beginning stages with not much time to work out the rough spots. From a writer's perspective, though, what a rich story to watch unfold.
Thanks for stopping by my site and signing up as a follower. I'm almost up to that magic 100! I hope you'll visit again.
Their love story reminded me of how my husband and I met. What a gift love is later in life.
We only shared 3 1/2 years of marriage before he died of leukemia, but I wouldn't trade them for the world.
Hi Doris .. what an amazing tale - the hope for love, and love of love, while the ongoing difficulties of life continue .. poor woman would be terrified .. but I'm so pleased the love is there.
Beautifully told .. thank you - Hilary
Sweet touchin' story that goes to show ya...you can find love at any age!
God bless ya and have an amazin' day sweetie!!!
It is hard not to cry when you hear a story like this. Love can make such a difference in how your life is lived out. Thanks for sharing that.
Thank goodness for you and all the other social workers. It has to be one of the toughest job. Just to be able to remain human, and be strong among all the heartbreak.
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