50 Years of Marriage…Forgotten

by Melanie Edwards on April 19, 2017 · 14 comments

in life

This week, my parents will be celebrating 50 years of marriage. It’s an incredible accomplishment and one not many couples achieve. While it may seem like this would be a joyous occasion full of celebration, it’s actually another reminder of the sadness that is dementia. Well, I suppose it’s bittersweet, really. My mami, siblings, extended family, and I are extremely happy for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Yet, my dad – one half of the celebratory couple – does not know that he and his wife have achieved such a milestone. He doesn’t know it’s his anniversary at all, due to the terrible plight that is dementia. And that, is why my parents’ 50th anniversary is both a beautiful and sad occasion. So just how do we celebrate a forgotten anniversary?

50 Years of Marriage...Forgotten

To be honest, the day itself will be much like any other day for my mami and papi. There will be no romantic dinner for two, no special party with friends and family, and no “happy anniversary” wishes spoken by my father. But, my parents will be together.

As my father’s caregiver, on their 50th anniversary, my mami will feed him, bathe him, and ensure he takes all his medicines. She will sit by his side, engage with him and attempt to make conversation. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better embodiment of “in sickness and in health.” When he inevitably asks who she is or where his wife is, she will calmly answer that she herself is his wife. I have no doubt, though, that this daily interaction will cause extra tears for my mami on such a momentous occasion as the day of their 50th anniversary.

Due to activities we’re unable to reschedule, sadly, my family and I will not be able to join my parents on their anniversary to celebrate in-person. I’m hoping we can mark the occasion in the very near future with a belated 50th wedding anniversary party or celebration of some sort. However, the day will not go unrecognized.

To commemorate 50 years of marriage, we’ve gifted my mom with a “then and now” canvas featuring a photo from their wedding day alongside a recent photo. Being that the 50th anniversary is the gold anniversary, we also gifted her with an engraved gold glass plate, which I haven’t yet seen in person, but already love. These are small tokens to honor their long-lasting marriage, but ones we know she will appreciate in remembrance of what once was.

Honestly, the testament of their love for each other still lives on, despite the current situation and my dad’s daily struggle with dementia. My mom’s role as caregiver for my dad and all that she does each and every day to ensure he’s well taken care of is the epitome of ever-lasting love. Similarly, although my papi has little conversation these days, he does ask about his wife several times a day – per hour, even! Plus, one of his most-repeated phrases is to say, ” I love my wife. She takes care of me.

While my papi may not exactly know they are celebrating 50 years of marriage, clearly he hasn’t forgotten what 50 years of marriage means to him.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa April 20, 2017 at 7:43 am

Beautiful. Many blessings to your family. ??

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2 Melanie Edwards April 21, 2017 at 9:32 am

Thank you.

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3 Yadira April 20, 2017 at 1:07 pm

What a beautiful story. Mine celebrated their 60th recently. And although your dad might be going through this right now, his marriage is a core memory that I know he will treasure forever.

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4 Melanie Edwards April 21, 2017 at 9:34 am

Wow, that’s wonderful! Congratulations to your parents as well.

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5 Myah's Little Shop April 20, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Wow! Felicidades a tus papas. Se lo dificil que debe ser para todos ustedes, en especial para tu mamá. Para mi esa es la peor de las enfermedades, la vivi de cerca con mi abuelo y ahora con mi abuela y se que es agotador para el cuidador. Pero que lindo que aun en su enfermedad se exprese asi de tu mama.

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6 Melanie Edwards April 21, 2017 at 9:38 am

Sí, es horrible esta enfermedad! Saludos a tu familia tambien.

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7 Mou Design April 20, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Wow. Tengo que admitir que se me salieron las lagrimas. Pero entre lo dulce y amargo que pueda ser, ustedes ya saben el verdadero significado de un matrimonio, de lo que es estar con la persona que amas, para toda la vida, y eso es algo que atesoraran siempre. Un abrazo.

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8 Melanie Edwards April 21, 2017 at 9:42 am

Tienes toda la razon. Es tremendo observarlo.

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9 Edith Tapia April 20, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Aw! Mi abuela paterna está pasando por esa etapa también y los entiendo… Igual… Que hermoso que el si recuerda que tiene esposa y recuerda el gran amor que los unión. Dios bendiga a tu mami y le siga dando fortaleza para seguirlo cuidando.

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10 Melanie Edwards April 21, 2017 at 9:45 am

Es tan dificil. Fuerza para tu familia también.

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11 Yomaris Rodríguez April 20, 2017 at 10:24 pm

Sus 50 años juntos en la salud y la enfermedad son la mejor celebración de vida y amor que se puede tener. Mi admiración para tu mamá, ejemplo a seguir y a valorar.

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12 Melanie Edwards April 21, 2017 at 9:47 am

Es verdad. Es un ejemplo maravilloso.

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13 Gemarla April 20, 2017 at 10:43 pm

A story of love and perseverance and strength. Being a caregiver is a though job. And there is no better gift of love than having to become a care giver of someone who is going through an illness. Congratulations to your mami and papi on such an accomplishment.

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14 Melanie Edwards April 21, 2017 at 9:52 am

Thank you. It’s definitely a tough job, but she’s a strong woman.

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