Submitted by Janet Anderson
A number of years ago, I went to visit my 96-year-old grandmother in her rest home. She was always upbeat and full of joy when I visited. As we were looking through her box of faux jewelry, we came upon the pearls of her long lost love, Lesley.
She told me she had fallen madly in love with a young man named Lesley when she was 19. They wanted to get married, and Lesley gave her a necklace of pearls to show her how much he loved her. Her father (my great grandfather) absolutely forbade her to marry him or to see him again, and she cried and cried over losing the love of her life.
She told me that when she was 21, she heard that Lesley had had an attack of appendicitis and had been taken to the hospital. She begged her father to let her go to him in the hospital, but he would not let her go. A few days later, Lesley died. She said she was so heartbroken that she did not think that she would ever be able to survive the emotional pain. She remembered going to Lesley’s grave and standing there in shock, cheeks swollen from crying so hard. She said she wondered then how long she would have to go on living on this planet without her true love.
At that moment, I realized that it had been seventy-five years since her true love had passed away, and she was still wondering how long she would have to keep surviving without him. In those seventy-five years, she married my grandfather, had four babies and buried one, loved all of her grandchildren and buried one, and met all of her great-grandchildren. She outlived her husband, her parents, her brother, and her friends, and there she sat, in a lonely retirement home, remembering Lesley.
For seventy-five years she held onto those pearls just to remember him. Seventy-five years is a long time, but to her it seemed like it was just yesterday when she had touched the pearls for the first time.
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