Sad, but wonderful & inspirational!
My grandparents were married for over half a century, and
played their own special game from the time they had met each other. The
goal of their game was to write the word "shmily" in a surprise place
for the other to find. They took turns leaving "shmily" around
the house, and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide
it once more. They dragged "shmily" with their fingers through
the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next
meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio
where my grandma always fed us warm, homemade pudding with blue food
coloring. "Shmily" was written in the steam left on the mirror
after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath after bath. At one point, my
grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave "shmily"
on the very last sheet. There was no end to the places "shmily" would
pop up. Little notes with "shmily" scribbled hurriedly were
found on dashboards and car seats, or taped to steering wheels. The notes
were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows. "Shmily" was
written in the dust upon the mantel and traced in the ashes of the fireplace.
This mysterious word was as much a part of my grandparentsí house as the
furniture. It took me a long time before I was able to fully appreciate my
Skepticism has kept me from believing in true love-one that
is pure and enduring. However, I never doubted my grandparentsí relationship.
They had love down pat. It was more than their flirtatious little games; it was
a way of life. Their relationship was based on a devotion and passionate
affection, which not everyone is lucky enough to experience. Grandma and Grandpa
held hands every chance they could. They stole kisses as they bumped into each
other in their tiny kitchen. They finished each otherís sentences and shared
the daily crossword puzzle and word jumble. My grandma whispered to me about how
cute my grandpa was, how handsome and old he had grown to be. She claimed
that she really knew "how to pick Ďem." Before every meal they
bowed their heads and gave thanks, marveling at their blessings: a wonderful
family, good fortune, and each other. But there was a dark cloud in my
grandparentsí life: my grandmother had breast cancer. The disease had first
appeared ten years earlier. As always, Grandpa was with her every step of the
way. He comforted her in their yellow room, painted that way so that she could
always be surrounded by sunshine, even when she was too sick to go outside.
Now the cancer was again attacking her body. With the help
of a cane and my grandfatherís steady hand, they went to church every morning.
But my grandmother grew steadily weaker until, finally, she could not leave the
house anymore. For a while, Grandpa would go to church alone,
praying to God to watch over his wife. Then one day, what we all dreaded finally
happened. Grandma was gone.
"Shmily." It was scrawled in yellow on the pink
ribbons of my grandmotherís funeral bouquet. As the crowd thinned and
the last mourners turned to leave, my aunts, uncles, cousins and other family
members came forward and gathered around Grandma one last time.
Grandpa stepped up to my grandmotherís casket and, taking
a shaky breath, he began to sing to her. Through his tears and grief, the song
came, a deep and throaty lullaby. Shaking with my own sorrow, I will never
forget that moment. For I knew that, although I couldnít begin to fathom
the depth of their love, I had been privileged to witness its unmatched beauty.
S-h-m-i-l-y......See How Much I Love You.
Written about her own
Laura Jeanne Allen
(also printed in Chicken
Soup for the Couple's Soul)
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