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  • Diana

64 years of love

Marriage is a commitment, a circle of trust and a bond that never separates a pair. On April 14, 1951, Lydia Cambotti married Anthony Mancuso. Until my grandma, Lydia, passed away in 2015, my grandpa, Anthony, devoted 64 years of love to her. In just five days, we will celebrate their wedding anniversary.

I remember asking my grandpa how he proposed to my grandma and he would say, "when you are 18, I will tell you how." When I was 18 and asked him the same question, he would say "I will tell you when you are 21." I never learned how he proposed to my grandma, but it was evident my grandpa truly loved his wife.

They had a classic relationship. My grandpa told me that he met my grandma at a local dance hall, The Oriental Ball Room. In the past, dancing was common. If I remember correctly, my grandpa spilled soda on my grandma's dress when they first met. He must have been a gentlemen, because even a stain couldn't damper what would be the next 64 years of their lives.

When my grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, I saw pain in my grandpa's eyes. He tried so hard to hold onto my grandma. He visited her at the memory care home every day until he could no longer do so. When my grandma was living at a memory care home, her wedding ring was stolen. I would have loved to have that memory of her still in the family. But my grandpa never needed a symbol to validate how much he cared for my grandma.

When I was in 8th grade, my grandparents renewed their vows at the home my grandma lived at. My grandfather was interviewed by the news and said something like... "If God would allow me, I would marry her five times over again." I remember they were so happy at that moment and my grandma was able to comprehend most of the ceremony. As I look back at this memory, the wedding seemed to symbolize a change in my grandma's health. We tried to keep her life as normal as possible, but it is hard to slow down Alzheimer's.

When my grandmother passed away, my grandfather stood up with his walker and placed a rose from the wake on her casket. Ironically, my grandma was notorious for planting roses in her backyard. That rose was a symbol of eternal love that will remain with my grandparents. Those rose petals are framed in our house and serve as a reminder that family is everything.

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