Jack and Charlotte had an amazing love story. I either don’t know or don’t remember what I’ve been told about the details of their beginnings. I know Charlotte was smitten with Jack’s good looks and dark, wavy hair. They met and courted when Jack was in the army during World War II. The war ended in 1945, Jack came home, and they married in November of that same year. During their courtship they both discovered their love of dancing, an activity they enjoyed the whole 53 years they were together.
I first met them in 1973 at Thanksgiving, along with the rest of Bill’s family. Bill was my soon-to-be husband. Jack was Bill’s uncle. Wonderful people, all of them. But, you get married, start a new life. They’re busy with kids and grand kids. You’re busy with your stuff. Life happens. Years go by ...
In 1997 Jack got cancer and was not doing well. Because of another family situation on our end, Bill and I weren’t able to see them over the holidays. When January came we made it top priority to pay Jack and Charlotte a visit. We drove over one Thursday evening after work. Jack was in bad shape. He couldn’t speak. He couldn’t eat. He had a port in his side and Charlotte had to feed him through a tube. Jack had the most wonderful, loving nurse he could’ve ever had. Charlotte was amazing at taking care of him. But it was clearly taking a toll on her.
She had just finished feeding Jack when we arrived and she needed a break. She asked if Bill could sit with Jack and asked me if I’d drive her down to the corner store to get a paper and just get her out of the house for a few minutes. Of course we could do that!
I drove her down to the store and she got her paper. Then she and I sat in the car in the parking lot for almost an hour giving her time to cry and talk. She and Jack had many friends and a rich social life through their church and other couples that they had gone dancing with on weekends for many years. When Jack got sick, it was hard on their friends, too. It was hard for them to see him like that. It was just too awkward and too uncomfortable. So they sent cards. They made phone calls. But they didn’t drop by and visit.
“No one ever comes to see us,” she sobbed. My heart broke.
“Charlotte, I can come visit you! Would you even consider allowing me to come see you every week?”
And she said, “YES!!!”
And so it began. Every Thursday night I’d drive to her house after work. She’d have Jack fed and taken care of. Then either she’d have sandwiches made for us, or sometimes I’d bring us something. Then we’d sit at her kitchen table, Bibles open, reading, laughing, crying, sometimes all at the same time. I never got home before midnight.
I joke with friends and family that I’m planning to live till I’m 120. Maybe I’ll make it. Maybe He’ll call me home tomorrow. No matter. I can die happy. God allowed me to be present while He discipled my Aunt Charlotte. When He was there loving her, talking to her, comforting her, revealing Himself to her ... He allowed me to be there to witness the whole thing! No little drawing or book I’ll ever do can match that!
But this was just the start ...