Growing Old Together

I saw him getting out of the drivers side of his car. He walked slowly and cautiously and I could tell each step took effort and patience. I wanted to get out of my car and go help him. I wanted to take his hand and walk with him to make sure he didn’t fall.

I was in my car, had just arrived at my destination and found myself holding my breath. I was watching his every move, preparing myself in case I needed to dart out of my car and help him. My hand subconsciously moved to the door handle and I realized I was gripping the handle, holding my breath.

I could see him struggling but it didn’t matter. He wasn’t going to stop.

She was inside the car waiting for him.

The gentleman walked around the car. He was wearing a jacket and hat and looked distinguished. He opened the car door on the passenger side. He offered his hand and I saw a lady, presumably his wife, smile and take it.

He helped her out as best he could and they laughed together. They moved slowly and in unison, like people who had always moved together. I could tell they had done this many times before as they traveled through their life.

I imagined, when the man was younger, he would race around the car, eager and excited to help “his girl” out of the car. He would take her arm and they would go out on the town.

My mind thought of the fun times they had together.

The moments they shared.

As they got out of the car, I watched them hold each other up, leaning on one another. I thought about the countess times they had held hands, finding strength in being together.

This time, they weren’t going anywhere fun.

Instead of just holding her hand, he helped with the oxygen tank she needed in order to breathe. She had a bag to carry along with the tank and it seemed to be a little heavy. Eventually, they put the oxygen tank on the ground and pulled it behind them.

They slowly walked into the hospital and I couldn’t help but wonder how long they’d been together. Holding one another, letting the years pass by, building a life.

They were older now and they were struggling. It was clear that an outing to the doctor’s office wasn’t easy and that it took effort and energy.

I imagine life could deal them a hard couple of years. Their future uncertain, as is all of ours, but they so obviously had more years behind them than in front.

But in that moment, that instance, holding each other up and leaning on one another, they had what many of us aspire to have. Someone to love when we get older, someone to walk through hard times with, someone to offer a hand when life gets hard.

How fortunate they were, oxygen and all, to still be together, regardless of what their future brings. I imagine if I had spoken with them, they would have told me that life had been good to them. And in the way they looked at one another and smiled, I know that it had. I caught a glimpse into their world, their relationship, and I am blessed for having witnessed their true love.

Dara is an inspirational writer and speaker and runs the blog Crazy Perfect Life.

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