Loving Until The Twelfth of Never.

The following was written and published in The Grip newspaper as my tribute to the love of John and Dianne Herbert.  Dianne took her last breath on earth with John by her side, Saturday, July 16, 2011 at 12:30AM.  I will never forget the exchanges I had the honor of witnessing their last few weeks together.

There are days when one of us is trying to simultaneously console a tummy ache and cook dinner while the other is reconciling a bank statement with a toddler running a big truck up and down his leg.  There are situations where he sees things one way and I assume the burden of making him see things the right way.  Okay.  My way.  There are times my words are curt and his actions seem insensitive.  And, there are moments we both wish we could re-do.

We can’t.  And, parenting aside, marriage is one of the hardest institutions to navigate through.

But, I know it’s possible.

What is that thing that makes her stay even when the hard moments are unbearable?  What is it that makes him still say, “I love you,” after she has hurt his heart?  When bills pile up and the funds are low?  When one is running to soccer and the other is running to the office?  When time is scarce?  When emotions are running high?  When patience seems to have packed herself up and moved across town? 

What is it that makes a marriage run until the very end? 

Respect.  Honesty.  Intimacy.  Selflessness. 

Those are all words I think of when I think of a successful marriage. 

But, perhaps, the simplest answer is commitment.  Staying in the game.  Choosing love over and over again.  Saying no to the easy way outs and saying yes to until the twelfth of never. 

For better or for worse.

This is the kind of love I witnessed every day I went to see John and Dianne.  Bed-ridden with cancer, Dianne forced a smile into the eyes of the man who sang to her while he held her water.  Nurses would come and go, and John swore they were all scared of being out of a job because of the care he gave Dianne himself.  “She’s the queen of the house,” he’d tell everyone.  I watched him leave her side only to turn and run back and steal a kiss.  And, she obliged. 

I’m not sure what their last day looked like as he requested to be alone with his wife of more than forty-six years.  I don’t know the words he told her or the songs he sang. 

But, if he didn’t sing these words aloud, I know they echoed in his heart:

You ask how much I need you, must I explain?
I need you, oh my darling, like roses need rain.
You ask how long I’ll love you; I’ll tell you true:
Until the twelfth of never, I’ll still be loving you.

May we all be inspired to love….

until the twelfth of never and that’s a long, long time.

8 Comments

Filed under life, Love, Marriage, Writing

8 responses to “Loving Until The Twelfth of Never.

  1. All I can say is BEAUTIFULLY written!!

  2. Natalie O'Neal

    Wow! Such a beautiful tribute written about a beautiful couple! I grew up with their son Steve and witnessed what a wonderful person Dianne was. When they lived on Wesley Drive at the foot of the hill, there was a window in the kitchen and I remember as a child always riding by and seeing Mrs. Herbert (Dianne) in front of that window smiling big as she worked in the kitchen to feed her brood. I wept on Saturday as I saw Mr. Herbert (John). He looked so lost without her yet he welcomed everyone into the church with the same smile I always remember him for. They were blessed to have you. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  3. Angela

    Wow that’s a special kind of love! So glad she had him by her side, to love nuture and sing too. Dusty, I am sure they were and still are a blessing to many. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. sharon

    Dusty, You have a great way with words. My heart is so fulfilled right now. I want to make my marriage the beat it can be. Love you so much for taking the time to share this with us.

  5. michele mathias

    This is one of the best stories I have ever read Dusty. what a beautiful message of love the Herberts have that will live on until the “twelfth of never”. Remind me of my mother taking care care of my dad when he was so sick…that’s TRUE 100% God given love!!!! all of us loving today can only PRAY we love this much in our lives!!! Thanks Dusty!

  6. Peggy

    what a tribute! glad I finally got around to reading it.
    how we all long for such love. Jesus, however, does deliver. I’m content.
    The Herberts have always been such a precious family. You can witness their obvious hurts, but see it handled so gracefully.

  7. Cristy Allen

    I am a little lost for words right now. I have known the Herbert’s since I was a small child. I’ve never seen them fuss or frown. I love them dearly. This post was written with such deep compassion which relates directly to them. Thank you, Dusty..

  8. Anne Hendricks

    Speechless. She was a fine woman. This was a beautiful and moving tribute.

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