M y father was widowed at age 65 upon my mother’s untimely death. He entered the dating market after grieving the loss of his darling wife and was greeted with many options.
Being a modest man, he was retired, living on a small budget of about $3k/month. He owned his home, had a modest car, ate dinner out 1 x a month, and took a vacation 1 x year.
He loved reading, painting, gardening, hosting friends, learning, taking classes, and going to the theater. He was a sophisticated yet simple man.
As it happened, an extremely wealthy woman named Barbara, with many homes and much money, fell for him hard. They dated and soon decided they wanted to marry. My father was happy but concerned about the financial discrepancy.
So he offered her a choice. They could both either live his frugal life together or her extravagant life together. But he wasn’t willing to have two economies in one marriage. The choice was hers, but whatever she chose, money would be shared evenly.
She took some time to respond but eventually came back to my father and sealed the deal in his heart. She said to him: “Gene, the choice isn’t mine, as I’ve already made my choice — I’ve been poor, and I’ve been rich. I’m not interested in money, but I do want to share my life with you no matter what. So tell me, which type of life do you want?”
My dad was shocked. Who was this woman who loved him so deeply she’d trade in her riches for his modest life?
Having only been lower middle class, my father decided to adopt her lifestyle for some of the best years of his life. In between enjoying his modest garden and taking classes at a local college, they traveled the world together. They went on Safari’s in Africa, explored the Far East, and entertained friends and family at their multiple homes. I’ll never forget the beautiful estate they created together in St. Thomas, a place we were invited to often, escaping the Chicago winters for just a bit.
Sadly after 11 short years together, Barbara fell ill with a rare brain tumor. No stranger to tragedy, my father nursed her and sat by her side every day, as he did for my mother, till she passed on several months later.
Barbara and Gene were more than a power couple. They were an inspiration, a testament to rebirth and sacrifice for life and love. Our blended families melded together instantly, as we were all so thrilled they found each other.
So many people put superficial constraints on who is deserving of their love and who they will allow to love them. I bless every man and woman who understands the depth and power of this real-life fairytale: may we all merit having such a person in our own life whose love goes beyond the physical and well into the spiritual.
And most importantly, may we all have the strength, wisdom, and good fortune to be that person to someone else. 🙏💚