The true meaning of love

Published: May 27, 2012
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I have always pondered upon how strange it was that a bond called ‘love’ could connect two people in such a way that they are inseparable no matter what the circumstances may be. PHOTO: REUTERS

She was 78 years old; fair, tall, elegant and beautiful. She had been in a relationship with her husband for 60 years, yet their love seemed fresh – an awe-inspiring bond that spoke of young love.

I first saw her when her husband brought her to the hospital for a general check-up. What a sight they were; him ever-smiling, with a tinge of pride as he pushed his wife’s wheelchair. A sense of satisfaction and contentment emanated from them.

She was suffering from osteoarthritis, and was0 visiting a physician under whose supervision I was doing a research project.

A few weeks into the treatment, she began to show signs of improvement and thus the doctor changed her medication. We began to see her quite frequently, sometimes twice a week.

Despite the fact that her husband had to travel long distances, he refused to take his wife to just any other hospital. He wanted only what was best for her, regardless of the pain and hassle that it cost him.

I have always pondered upon how strange it was that a bond called ‘love’ can connect two people in such a way that they are inseparable no matter what the circumstances may be.

My experiences in life had led me to the bitter reality that there can be no feelings without strings attached; there was no such thing as unconditional love. Having been infatuated by someone, I happened to receive a harsh reality check before falling in, what is known to many as, ‘love’.

Oddly enough, a glance at this couple, their beautiful bond and their silent understanding completely changed my perspective. They made me realise that there was another side to reality – a reality where some people become the centre of another’s world; they become the reason their lives are worthwhile. This couple showed me that love is not just a fairytale, it is a reality.

A few weeks later, I happened to see this couple at the clinic again. However, the woman seemed very pale and you could tell that her disease had slowly started eating away at everything that was a part of her personality.

Time, however, went on and whenever I got to see this couple during work, they greeted me with respect and love.

One day, I had the opportunity of enrolling the woman in my research project, and to follow up on her condition I gave her husband a call. That’s when he told me that following complications of hypertension, his wife had passed away the week before.

As he said this, his voiced shook and he broke down. It was the first time in over four months that I had known him that he had shown any emotion. His pain and the defeat in his voice made my heart ache.

He cried on the phone, for what must have been the longest few minutes I had ever known. He told me how vacant his house and heart had become; how he skipped meals and could not find any solace in his sleep either. As he said this, it required every fibre of my being to hold back my own tears.

I often question how people cope with such great loss; how they are able to gather enough strength to recuperate from such traumas in their lives.

What is it that makes them carry on and not give up?

What part of life does ‘love’ occupy and which part is it absent from?

Then I realised, a young energetic couple showing affection publicly is not what love is. It’s when a time span of 60 years just isn’t enough time to be with each other.

I’d like to thank this lovely lady’s husband for permitting me to share their story and I hope it shows people, as it did me, what the true meaning of love really is.

rakshinda.mujeeb

Rakshinda Mujeeb

Researcher by profession, writer by choice. She also works as a content writer for an NGO. She enjoys the impact her articles have on readers.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sajjad

    A big smile for a great couple. May her soul rests in eternal peace. Inshallah Aameen sum Aameen. Nice read :)Recommend

  • mm

    “a young energetic couple showing affection publicly is not what love is. It’s when a time span of 60 years just isn’t enough time to be with each other.”
    ..
    spechless…you cant even comment on the intensity of this loveRecommend

  • http://raheellakhani.wordpress.com Raheel Tajuddin Lakhani

    My dad became eternal last month only. I know it is hard but God only gives us strength. Sometimes, we have to let our loved ones go so that they get free from the pain. I still feel Dad is around, I can feel his presence. He also sends messages to me and Mom. His love went beyond his wife, his love was also unconditional for me. He’s in a better place where God is giving him all the love and to us too :)Recommend

  • Munis

    A refreshing blog-post . ThanksRecommend

  • alizy

    very nice, heart touching story..
    That’s called a true love.Recommend

  • Anon

    Most imp and difficult thing inorder to achieve true love is that a couple must make up in their mind in the very beginning that they are in it for the long haul and completely rule out the breakup option. I see so many couples even the married ones, easily ponder and discuss the breakup option as soon as they hit the rough patch. Thats just stupid – I mean did your parents ditch and breakup with you whenever you gave them a hard time? People need to learn to stick through ugly days.
    Also another imp rule – there is NO such thing as a best friend of the opposite sex as esp after marriage. Your spouse is your bestfriend and if you feel the need to have another member of the opposite sex as a best friend then something is seriously wrong with you and your relationship. This advice especially goes out to all those stupid girls who keep ‘Bhais’ even after marriage and the insensitive husbands who 24/7 are constantly on BBM/Facebook/Chat with girls from work or old college girl-bestfriends. Marry your best friend in the first place, otherwise maintain a distance and don’t torture and disrespect your spouse.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Really liked this. Life is funny, its a progression of H’s. In youth it’s all hormones, later matters of the heart kicks in, then health plays a major part and through all these the head is most important.Recommend

  • saniya

    I think you’re lucky enough to have witnessed a couple like this in your life which gives you a positive impact of this bitter word love, i wish to meet a couple like them too; someday in my life inshallah.Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    LOVE is a very misunderstood word often confused with infatuation and lust. True Love is when you accept your partner for whatever they are – warts, farts and all. One must understand that Love is unconditional and without any expectations. Love of 60 years like you pointed out is like mature and vintage Wine – better with every sip. Recommend

  • anum

    ^^And hoping the husband finds some solace and is reunited with her in heaven!Recommend

  • Rida

    worthy reading this article…thumbs up.Recommend

  • http://Karachi ashar

    A very good article. To the answer of your question I would say that marriage is a physical activity while the love comes spiritually as a gift of God in reward of following his orders of making and maintaining family life. And this love increases with time having no end of it.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Very nicely narrated. People have various ways of showing emotion but love for another is something that’s just there and the other just knows it, come what may.Recommend

  • Sana Jamil

    For sure…this is what we call the true love…God bless them :)Recommend

  • Dee

    Many might disagree but after 4 years of marriage I have become a firm believer in the institution of marriage. With every passing day my love is increased for my husband. Just thinking if I love my spouse so much that I can’t even imagine to live without him what it must be like to have lived 60 years together… Recommend

  • Umar

    what a true love it is, not a showing up thing in public that is in fashion these days
    totally agree!
    With these true stories of love we can still belive a true true bonding in a relationship thato goes on and on with time no mater what the circumstances are Recommend

  • fatima

    I think its the first i ever read which has no negative comments posted………. good start my friend! Thumbs upRecommend

  • fatima kha

    The article is well written and really touching. However i do have one thing to say. The only form of unconditional love is the love a parent has for a child. All other forms of love are conditional. I am sure that the lady loved him as much as he loved her and the reason they loved eachother so deeply for more than half a century was because their love and care was reciprocated. I don’t think there is anything wrong in loving your partner immensely and expecting some love in return.Recommend

  • Humsafer

    its great to read an article which reflects people nature and love. Writer chooses the words so perfectly that emotions are described very well.
    And seriously that couple is ideal for upcoming iPhone generation. May be most of the people wanted to live like that but luck matters sometime.
    Nicely Done. Claps for the writer (an upcoming therapist)Recommend

  • Ayman

    Its amazing how words were compiled together to write this blog, and the story touches your heart deep down inside, well done Author, a Quality love story ive read/heard in months..cheers for that.Recommend

  • tehniat

    love it.! this part in particular “a young energetic couple showing affection publicly is not what love is. It’s when a time span of 60 years just isn’t enough time to be with each other.”Recommend

  • Syed Owais Hussain

    its feels nice to see such a pair having such a bond regardless of time span but also sad at the same time coz untill u r with that person u want to take every possible chance or moment to let the other feel what he or she means to u ,the heart never wants to think or imagine for a second for the time when one of us will be apart but i guess this is the way life goes and as a human one way or the other we grab on some kind of reason that makes us go on cheerishing the moments that we have spend together with our partner .Recommend

  • Amna

    Superb article Author.

    a young energetic couple showing affection publicly is not what love is. It’s when a time span of 60 years just isn’t enough time to be with each other.”

    I myself think many times how is it possible that you meet a person once or sees once and you get in love with him/her? How is love at first sight possible? This is not the true love. These are just infatuations and attraction for opposite sex which youngsters feel as love and it has probably become a fashion to have gf or bf. Love develops when you live with a person for quite a long period of time, when he/she cares for you in tough times of your life, when he/she stands beside you in your most difficult moments. That is true love which your parents have grown and they are still together. Recommend

  • Vigilant

    “I often question how people cope with such great loss; how they are able to gather enough strength to recuperate from such traumas in their lives.”

    By fooling their heartsRecommend

  • Touched101

    I’m truely touched and somewhat mesmerized :) the article itself portrayed an aura of affection and harmony.
    P.s: this article is probably the first one not to have tons of bigots trolling :) keep it upRecommend

  • Komal

    itssss justttt awesomeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeRecommend

  • Vikram

    @Amna: “I myself think many times how is it possible that you meet a person once or sees once and you get in love with him/her? How is love at first sight possible? This is not the true love”

    Any thing is possible.. May be 60 years ago, it all started with “love at first sight”. There are many older couples like that. First 5 seconds when eyes meet can make a life long relationship. This couple belonged to a generation where people did not sleep with each other before marriage.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Feroz: “True Love is when you accept your partner for whatever they are – warts, farts and all”. That is more like accepting spouse as he/she is. That is essential for peace in the family.
    Love means different thing to different people in different stages of life’ Love as feeling is different then love as accepting others to avoid conflict. I wonder how every one will see this situation if it was a desi couple married for 60 years. This couple had just each other and were not a part of an extended family. Recommend

  • Amna

    @ Vikram: I am sure the generation they belong to was not used to love marriages. They would definitely have done arrange marriage. That means they have developed love for each other by living together and this love developed and became stronger more and more as the time passed by.
    I also contradict this statement of yours “First 5 seconds when eyes meet can make a life long relationship.” First 5 seconds can make one fall in love and get tied into marriage but this is not always or probably mostly possible that this relationship goes long.Recommend

  • Sanjai

    It totally sounds like the life of my Grandfather (baba) and Grandmother (Amman). They were in a husband-wife relationship for more than 65 years but the love and care was the same as of the couple in this article and i can say this confidently because I saw my grandfather doing this as my grandmother was seriously ill in the last year of her life.

    After her demise, i really tried to make everything as it was before for him, but i think i couldnt. He didnot ever show or expressed the intensity of his feeling to anyone including me but you could just feel it somehow. Though my grandfather was a very strong and bold man as he was the head (Mukhi) of the town we used to live in, dealing with every kind of problems everyday. But he probably could not cope up with the current situation and passed away exactly after 15 days, with no any illness or any serious reason, nothing.

    Yes, such are the people that set examples! :)Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Sanjai:”It totally sounds like the life of my Grandfather (baba) and Grandmother (Amman)”
    I am curious if your baba and amman lived in extended family or alone..Recommend

  • Sehrish

    Really beautifully written,and if you look hard their love was unconditional love he was still in love with her even when she left for the other world. These days people really dont know the meaning of true love movies like “friends with benefits” “no-strings attached” etc are really putting negative influence on their behaviour. I feel sorry for them for being so insensitive.
    Well done writer.Recommend