This post is about true love. Not the love that we see in movies and books, but the true thing. In stories, the couple ride off into the sunset triumphantly. They kiss and the screen fades to black. They live happily ever after.
The stories rarely show illness or death. But those too are part of life and the ending that every true love will face.
This post is a tribute to my great-uncle Bob Paris. He passed away last week at the age of 88. He lived a long, full life. He fought in World War II, flying P-40s in China with the famous Flying Tigers squadron. You can read the full obituary.
This post is not about his heroic service to our country or the countless people he touched in a positive way. This post is about the true love story of Bob and Joyce, his wife of 63 years.
I never saw Bob without Joyce or vice versa. They were a unit in our family. For every event in my entire life, no matter how small, Bob and Joyce would drive all the way down from Xenia, Ohio. They were here for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Derby parties, barbeques, family picnics, 4th of July, Easter, Memorial Day, graduations and so on. They were such a permanent staple to our family that I scarcely even registered it. Though he was a dashing war hero, this is how I saw and loved my Great Uncle Bob.
Through his last illness, Joyce was always there. It was like watching a candle flame, burning against the darkness. She was so brave at the funeral, though very still, and she only stood to read some poems that she had written to Bob. I have included one here. Regardless of your faith, I believe it is a true testament to the power of love.
When we fell in love, it will be forever.
The ties that bind us will never sever.
God is the one who brought us together.
The storms of life we will always weather.
Life goes by in such a hurry.
We don’t have time to fret and worry.
Let’s cherish every moment together.
Life on this earth will not last forever.
We’ll be together in heaven above,
Because we’re united in steadfast love.
We both can rejoice in God’s perfect plan,
That he created for woman and man.
Someday among the bright stars we will dance.
Then we’ll continue our loving romance.
God created love to last forever.
So we’ll always be happy forever.
Goodbye, Uncle Bob. Save those dancing feet for Joyce.