Yesterday was my weekly, post hip replacement rehabilitation hour at the Geelong Hydrotherapy pool. Hard work, but very invigorating. The hip muscles are on the march. Sweated a lot…at least I was very wet when I climbed out. I was the youngest there I think. Probably did more moves than anyone in the hour-long workout.
I felt very emotional. So many athletic, attentive, patient attractive young trainers … including the girls…who worked alongside elderly, some VERY elderly clients. My therapists have been gorgeous and so helpful (It’s OK Glena you need have NO fear, but being a ‘one-woman-for-life-man-still-totally-committed’ doesn’t make me blind!). Yes, it was great to see the secular arena outranking many of the Churches (consider Fr Bob Mcguire!)…they actually ignore the generational Gen X, Y, Z obsession and bring the grandchildren to the aid of even the great-grandparents. In some cases, very elderly couples, (probably married in the old world value system when ‘partner’ was a business term and husband/wife was a covenant relationship term,(shock horror). They assisted each other, with tender attentiveness, for the whole hour. It kind of tenderized my heart. I was deeply encouraged. Yes I was. And deeply saddened. Let me explain.
An elderly man pushed his elderly lady to the edge of the pool on a wheeled bed. She lay back apparently paraplegic. He gently angled her onto a floating platform. She seemed able only to be able to tentatively move her arms backwards slowly in the water. As I pursued my exercise regime I could not resist many glances at his attentiveness and the tender eye contact between them as he slowly propelled her up and down the pool. At first i could not understand the knot I felt in my gut. Why a sense of deep sadness, rather than joy at this remarkable exhibition of enduring love?
Then I found myself gently singing the words of the old Beatles song… “Will you still love me Will you still need me Will you still feed me When I’m 64?”
I know all the debate & excuses about getting out of abusive relationships…but…most of the post-war boomers & younger I know who have embraced serial monogamy, marriage merry-go-round didn’t leave because of violence. I wonder whether my grandchildren will be unaware in adulthood that for at least those who were committed to a Christian, Jewish or even old Aussie working class understanding, most battled through the great temptation period of sexually frustrating middle age to grow old together, because marriage was about covenant, commitment, stability for kids and faith in God to fill the life with forgiveness and love?
I know for those whose marriages didn’t work this post may be hurtful. I think I understand. I hurt for those who lost, all the more because I know it is so precious to be loved on and on, and to know that love can endure. I was blessed to watch the old couple in the pool…and grief-stricken to think that my grandchildren may not see many gran & pa scenes like I saw in the pool, when they get their hips replaced…’when they are 64.