It doesn’t take much for me to cry over mushy stories and this one in particular because the main characters named Shirley and Moe could have easily been Selma and Moish who were my parents. Although Shirley, the 100 year old subject of this one, far outlived my folks, it seemed like she and her late husband very much resembled the love birds that raised me. In a you tube video for Human of New York during which Shirley is followed around her apartment, the tale unfolds about how they met and fell in love and the ways in which they enhanced each other’s lives. The sad part is that he left before she did and she herself is left with rooms full of memories in the form of drawings and messages from Moe.
Before he passed, as much as she could prepare, Shirley had this to say in the midst of her pre-emptive grieving: “”When my husband was dying, I said: ‘Moe, what will I do without you?’ He told me: ‘Take the love you have for me and spread it around.’ “–100-year-old Shirley, in an interview with photographer Brandon Statnon.
Toward the end of the piece, Shirley is moved to tears as she adds to the quote from the original HONY (Humans of New York) post: “A love spread around. There, beauty is found.”
Imagine, if you will, a love like that. Knowing someone so well for so long has gotta knock the stuffins out of you when it’s their turn to cross over. And then you can find meaning and purpose in a life well lived both as unique individuals and as a couple. Hard to conceive of saying goodbye to someone with whom you have grown up in some ways and not deeply mourn. One of the hardest parts of my father passing, was for me, watching my mother miss her sweetheart to whom she was married for nearly 52 years. Theirs was a love for the ages and I am certain that he would have wanted her to do what Shirley was advised to do. I don’t know what my father’s last words were to my mother, but I would bet that they had to do with the depth of devotion he had for her as well.
Whenever I think of my parents, what comes to mind are the words not left unspoken.
The photo of my parents Selma and Moish Weinstein was taken at my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah in the 1980’s.