I have read over this story a few times now, and every time it sends a shiver down my spine and brings a tear to my eye. I really think it is a perfect example of true love!
My Grandfather lost a father brother and uncle on the western front during the 1st world war. He attempted to sign up himself but as he was a rather short 15 year old in 1916 he was unable to bluff his way in. At the outbreak of WW2 Poppa saw his opportunity to avenge/honour the deaths of his family members, he signed up but due to his age of 40 at that time he was unable to join a combat unit so he served as a stretcher bearer with the 2/9 AGH (Australian General Hospital).
While serving with the 2/9 AGH in Egypt and Palestine, Poppas’ then wife left him for an American soldier who was billeted with her. At the same time my grandmother was working as a nurse on the troop trains that ran between Adelaide and Perth, she later joined the 2/9 AGH as it was deployed to Morati and New Guinea. It was there amongst the horrors of Kokoda that Nanna and Poppa met and fell in love. Poppa had a pet Spider Monkey that was less than impressed with Nannas’ interest in Poppa, so to win over the monkey, Nanna would bribe her with tinned peaches and cream which were in very short supply.
At the close of the war, Nanna and Poppa move back to SA. Poppas’ first wife’s American soldier was killed in combat and refused to divorce. Nanna and Poppa moved to a country town and she assumed Poppas surname and they lived as married couple. Their love for each other was tested but never broken. Poppa suffered PTSD and had trust issues due to his wife’s infidelity. Nanna and Poppa married in the 1970s after the death of his wife.
My memories of Nanna and Poppa are of a couple that made a point of kissing before every meal and never slept apart. They spent 50+ happy years together. In the 1990s Poppa suffered a series of strokes that resulted in him being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Nanna cared for him at home as long as she could but as his condition deteriorated, she got to the point she could no longer care for him and he was admitted to a nursing home 30kms away.Nanna would drive the 30km every day without fail to visit Poppa. Poppa got to the stage he didn’t recognise members of his family but he never seemed to forget who Nanna was. That I think is the power of their love, he grasped on to the memory of her with the last scrapes of his ravaged brain.
I was with Nanna the day Poppa succumbed to pneumonia. As the fight for life waned, he became calm and a glimpse of clarity came to him, as he passed he looked deeply into Nannas eyes. He knew he was dying and he knew who she was. I’m sure that it was at that point learned what true love was. She loved him and he loved her even through the fog of a disease that robbed of his dignity and intellect.
We should all be lucky to find someone who loves us this much. It also brings hope that there is someone out there, even if we don’t find them the first time around, true everlasting love is possible.
This one is going to be hard to beat but you still have more time. I will be closing this at 9am on Monday morning and will announce the winner of the $100 lelo pack.
Dr Nikki G