Late love always seemed to me to be more precious than early love. Earely love is more passionate, more energetic, more spontaneous and free, but less complex. People who find love late in life find a deeply rewarding experience that, many times, had been missing in their lives. This can make them respect and appreciate it more.
When I was in high school, one of my mentors was Ron J., who was a few years older than me. Ron seemed to have everything: looks, personality, sociability. He was a great dancer and a terrific raconteur. Women found it easy to like him and he never lacked on the social scene.
After high school we lost touch. I went to college, he to the Navy. After the Navy Ron settled down in National City, Calif., where he took a job just a mile or so from the Naval shipyards.
At first, life continued on the same easy-going route for Ron. He had a son and a daughter and the ship-building business was booming. But not long after came the disasters. First, his son was killed in a car crash. Then his wife died of cancer. His mother, with whom he was very close (the father was never in the picture) died soon after. Finally, the decline in shipbuilding cost him his job.
While I lost touch with Ron, his sister and I began a correspondence. She told me how worried she was that he had fallen into a depression. We tried to bouy his spirits but it was difficult.
Then, Ron met Lyria, a beautiful, elegant lady from the Phillipines, and started a serious courtship. At 65, he married her last month and life seems to have taken a new direction. Ron has retired from the Labor market and they are planning to move into a new apartment.
In a note I just received from him he talks about their extended honeymoon and says they are planning a trip to the Phillipines in October to visit her relatives. “2000 is turning out to be a great year to remember for me,” he says. Hiis excitement is gratifying.
Case two is Vanessa. A single mother in her 40s, she works at a local health care network to support herself and her 10-year-old daughter.
Now comes the news that she is getting married in June to the father of her daughter who apparently has stayed in touch all these years and helped with child support.
Why marry now, after all these years? A friend explains, “I guess they just felt they wre finally ready for marriage.”
A final case is my friend, Dennis who lived with his mother for the first 55 years of his life. He had always wanted to marry but the opportunity never arose..
Then, a year ago, he met Margaret and they began to date. He asked her to marry him and she accepted. They were married eight months ago and moved into their own apartment. Shortly afterward, his mother passed away.
Dennis considers himself an immensely fortunate man. He lost the way of life he’d known since he was born – the comfortable, secure life in which his every need was taken care of by another person. But he was given a chance at a new life that he had always dreamed about.
Sometimes, there really are second chances in life. And they when the arise they can make everyone believe in miracles.
So you can talk about your puppy love, your young love, your blessings of youth, but don’t forget late love. Sometimes the chances that people get later in life are infinitely more valuable than the early ones. They serve as a reminder that those chances are there for all of us, if only we can keep ourselves open to them.