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Side by side they’d sit and watch the world go by, wasn’t always so, happened slowly over time. Started as romantic couple very long ago, once Korean war was stalemated donned wedding trousseau. Couple had their roles and they were a team; she worked while he studied and both pursued shared dream. Wasn’t all that long before she bore a son and he became a T.A. at college where he’d begun.

Her role as bride and breadwinner morphed into that of mom; three pregnancies begat four children adding to maelstrom. Moved away from family back when Interstates were few, from Michigan to central Illinois they flew. Their close relatives had been just eighty miles away,  now was over four-hundred miles, a trip that took all day.

Youngest child in kindergarten became penultimate, had a baby sister just before mom turned forty-six. Ten years at I.S.U. aged man to forty plus; to Maryland migrated in big disruptive fuss. Misery encountered when first they settled there, in D.C. middle-aged Midwesterners were pegs very square. Tears flowed from the woman who had once been proud bride; longing to be supportive her torment she did hide. Things went from bad to worse in the way they tend to do; strangers in a strange land torments did accrue.

It took a solid year but the couple worked the plan, they moved out into the suburbs and found happiness again. The children stretched from kindergarten to a sophomore and after nineteen more years passed house held children no more. Everyone grew older the way that people do and before the house was empty came first grandson strong and true.

The decades flew faster with every passing year and soon in once blushing bride Alzheimer’s did appear. Man did his best to help her as she slowly slipped away as to the God he’d always trusted for patience he did pray. He was by her side as life’s spark quit his bride, she’d truly been his partner and part of him too died.

All alone he struggled to find peace with what fate brought, elder daughter shared her home, nursing him through final onslaughts. The family that had loved him and friends from far away gathered in a church and to him tributes did pay. There’ll be no more separation from woman he loved for side by side mortal remains now sit in mausoleum’s enclave.

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