Love! What does it really mean?
How do we measure it, can we really measure it?
There are all kinds of love! Friendship love, family love or people who share the love of common interests. Then there is the good old fashion true love….does it really exist? I know it does and this is how I know…….
My grandparents have been married for 60 years and their story is one that still exists today because of true love:)
My beautiful grandparents…..Fred and Gloria!
Fred and Gloria Holpen were married on February 16th 1952. Throughout their younger years they produced 4 children (my dear mother being one of them) and later in life were lucky enough to become grandparents to 10 grandchildren! And today they are the very proud great grandparents of 10 great grandchildren and one on the way! They both grew up on the bayside and lived on a property at Gumdale for over 50 years before moving two houses up from us:)
Nana and grandad have always been a huge part of our lives. They were always like second parents to us and I’m so lucky to have so many wonderful memories with these two beautiful people! This is why writing this blog brings about a lot of emotion for me!
3 years ago my beautiful grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease which affects the central nervous system. Symptoms get worse over time and sadly Nana is in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s. This means that; her cognitive state becomes confused, her communication can be affected as well as her toileting, swallowing, balance and walking.
Most people of my grandparents ages (gramps 83, nana almost 80) would be in a nursing home by now, but because of the love my grandparents share between each other and between us family, my nana is still living in the comforts of her own home. Grandad is doing a tremendous job of looking after nana. When first diagnosed, her symptoms weren’t too bad and she was still able to enjoy the small things in life like; going out for coffee, joining us for birthday celebrations and even taking the odd day trip. But over time nana’s symptoms have worsened and sadly the simple things in life cannot be enjoyed.
Four generations of women….seeing family is what keeps nana going!
Life sure deals some cruel cards for some families and this is just another one of those cruel cards that have been dealt. My nana had a sad life growing up. Her mother passed away when nana was such a young age and not long after that her father went and fought in world war II. But years later sorrow turned to joy when my grandparents relished in bringing up their own children. Sadly tragedy struck again when their youngest child (my aunty) passed away of cancer at the young age of 35. This was a terrible time for my grandparents as no one ever expects to bury their child. To add to an already broken heart, 7 years after my aunty passed away, my cousin (my aunties eldest son) was tragically killed in a car accident at the very young age of 17!
But throughout all of these tragedies, love and the bond they share, as well as time, has helped my grandparents to overcome the grief they’ve experienced. But once again as you think you are moving on and feeling better about things, another challenge in life in thrown at you. Watching my grandfather with my nana brings a tear to my eye. It must be so difficult watching your love one of over 60 years deteriorate, but it is grandad’s wish to keep nana at home for as long as possible. This is also possible because of the wonderful help and support of family but most importantly my beautiful mother. Between mum and grandad they care and nurture nana like a queen and god knows she deserves it.
My gorgeous mother and nana….they have a special mother-daughter bond like no other!
Nana is my inspiration! She has taught me how to love, be creative, have fun, laugh and to pick myself up when things are looking down. Whenever I’m having a bad day or we’ve hit one bump in the road after another and another, I think of my nana and my problems seem like nothing compared to what my nana is going through. I feel for my grandad though. The day my nana was diagnosed with this terrible disease, not only did my nana’s life change forever but so did my grandad’s. He has sacrificed so much to have nana at home, but that is what being married is about….for better for worse, in sickness and in health! Not everyone’s marriage could sustain this, or any of the other tragedies they’ve been through, but nana and grandad’s has and that’s what I call ‘true love’!