My grandmother found the love of her life twice

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by my grandmother, who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.

When the first love of my grandmother's life died tragically because of illness, she married the second love of her life, the man who became my grandfather.

My grandmother was just a young woman living in a fishing village on an island in the Atlantic Ocean when she met the first love of her life. According to my grandmother, he was a nice boy who treated her well, and she loved him with her entire heart.

Then he died.

My grandmother was inconsolable. She never could have imagined losing the love of her life to an incurable illness when they were both so young. They never even had the chance to marry, although they certainly would have wed if fate had given them the chance.

My grandmother got a second chance at true love, and she took it.

My grandmother got the chance to marry the love of her life. She didn't marry the first love of her life, since he hadn't lived long enough for that, but my grandmother married the second love of her life.

The second love of my grandmother's life was the young man who would become her husband and then my mother's father. Eventually, he would be my grandfather.

I still remember him even though he, too, died far too young. My grandfather died from lung cancer when I was eight. He and his coworkers at the iron plant all seemed to develop the same condition, which I realized was because of their toxic work environment. It didn't help that he was a lifelong smoker of pipes, cigars, cigarettes, and cigarillos.

My grandfather lost his battle with cancer when he was just shy of his seventieth birthday; my grandmother lived into her nineties.

My grandmother would never find the third love of her life.

She was content to have found true love twice.

Some of us never find true love once, so she considered herself lucky.

I can remember sitting at her kitchen table as a teenager, sipping a cup of tea that my grandmother made with love and a large amount of granulated sugar. As I blew on the surface of my piping hot tea, my grandmother would tell me her stories of love.

Even after my grandfather's death, she was still a romantic at heart. She never stopped loving him; she never stopped loving the man who came before him either. As she told me, it wasn't her fault her first love had died, so why should she feel obliged to stop loving him just because she'd married another man in his place?

My grandfather was never a jealous man. He understood my grandmother's undying love for her first soulmate, and he let her feel her feelings without judgment or envy.

My grandmother was a jealous woman, and she wouldn't have returned the favor, but she didn't have to return the favor. She was my grandfather's first and only love from the day they met until the day he went to his grave.

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