I thought that my grandma wrote this poem for my papa, but I have recently been informed that I was incorrect. The poem was actually written by a woman named Elise Maclay, and published in a book called Green Winter: Celebrations of Old Age. A lovely reader named Shauna let me know that I didn’t have it properly credited, so I’m updating that now!
My grandma, Barbara Joyce, did create a beautiful piece of art with that poem amidst a hand-painted floral border, though. She had it framed and gave it to my papa sometime before I was born, or maybe when I was really little. I love it, and think it’s one of the most poignant things my grandma ever created. From what I understand, though, my papa wasn’t so keen on it. I don’t think he appreciated being reminded of his senior citizen status! :) I wonder if he knew that she didn’t write it? He might have liked it more if he knew it wasn’t specifically about him, I dunno. Regardless, my grandparents were madly in love with one another until they died, and their relationship is something that I hope to find for myself someday. They bitched and bickered almost every single day and I think their love grew with every hour together.
How good he is,
My husband of so many years.
Tears come to my eyes,
When I see how crepey his neck has become.
How bravely he tries to straighten up.
Once his jaw was hard and he stood tall
With no effort;
It is as if his body had been sabotaged
One dark night
By some unseen enemy.
I know he feels that way.
Yet, when I look at him today,
I feel far more tender toward him
Thank I ever did when he was young and strong
And seemingly invulnerable.
O my dear old friend-lover,
Can it help you to know,
Can it help you to hear,
That not only as you were but as you are
You are to me
My favorite part is when she describes him as her “dear old friend-lover, time-ravaged, fellow-traveling, camouflaged boy”. RIP Papa and Grandma, I love you and miss you!