Last year, my housemates and I started a tradition of Bro Night Tuesday’s. Basically, it was a designated night for us to hang out as a household because our schedules were all over the place.
One particular Tuesday, it was only me and one of my other housemates who were available to hang out. He pitched the idea of going to visit his grandfather in rehab and then going downtown nearby for dinner. I was totally down for the idea! I know my housemate previously told me how earlier in the year his grandfather had some bad health issues that resulted in him going into rehab. At that time, he recently had another health scare so my housemate really wanted to visit him.
I have decent experience in visiting nursing homes for the sick and elderly. But that’s with the specific mission of ministering the Holy Eucharist and praying with my residents. This visit with my housemate was simply just that–a visit.
We go, we arrive, and we go to his grandfather’s room. His grandmother was also there.
I got to meet my housemate’s grandparents, and that was truly wonderful. I got to talk to his grandfather for a bit, and much of the time I stood in the background listening to my housemate and grandmother talk to him. Here before me lay a frail, elderly man but despite that, I truly experienced his full personality, mind, and wisdom. His mind was still sharp though his body slow.
What really resonated with me, and still does, is seeing my housemate’s grandmother interact with her husband. I could tell that she was tired, and I know she visited him every day. Even then, with such tender love and care she made sure her husband was comfortable and got what he needed whether it was sips of water or readjustment of leg positions among other things.
I don’t know that my words can adequately illustrate what clicked in my mind. But here in that rehab room that day, I experienced what authentic, married love looks like.
Those marriage vows found in Catholic wedding ceremonies came to mind. Something to the effect of:
…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.
In sickness and in health.
That offering of self for the good of the beloved, in particular when the beloved is in a time of sickness and suffering.
We live in such a throwaway culture in regards to love. It’s difficult to find beautiful examples of what authentic, self-sacrificial love looks like. For me to have this bro night and witness this brief, beautiful example of my housemate’s grandparents gave me a lot of hope and desire to love my future wife in such a self-sacrificial way.
In sickness and in health.
My housemate’s grandfather passed away weeks later after our bro night visit. He converted to Catholicism just a few days before passing away.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Holding hands // The Guardian