Once in a while she would gently remind him that he was being too hard on others. He stood his ground until her soft heart and gentleness won him over. His gruff "I'm sorry" was enough to gain her smile.
I loved them both but often felt that their relationship was unfair. Aunt Alyeen gave in most of the time. With grace and kindness she always found a way to take the harshness and forgive. She refused to complain about the unfairness and accepted it as one of those things that couldn't be changed.
One summer afternoon a small stroke took Aunt Alyeen's memory. Alzheimer's came in like a thief and stole more memories, and her life began to change.
For months Uncle Love took care of her at home. When the police found her walking down the middle of a four-lane highway, Uncle Love sadly placed her in a nursing home. Aunt Alyeen was no longer the sweet person she had been. Instead she hurled angry accusations and screamed with fear when he came close. He was heartbroken to face the hurt she harbored.
It wasn't fair that he slept on the floor beside her until a cot was provided. He refused to leave her alone even for a day. There was nothing fair about the days that rolled into months and years. He sat by her bedside; patiently fed her; and read the Bible to a silent, sad, and unresponsive woman. Her good looks and attention to style was replaced with the haggled look of a woman who no longer cared. Her hair was short and hung straight around a hollow and colorless face. The beauty and softness had disappeared. It didn't seem to matter. Uncle Love held her hand, kissed her often, and tenderly expressed his love for her.1