The Ties that Bind
copyright 2017 Linda Ellis
I am visiting a beautiful woman in Tennessee, now in her eighties, a relative of my husband’s family whom I have been blessed to come to know. For years, I had admired her outer beauty and grace, and as time passed, her inner beauty somehow surpassed both.
As I wrote about in another story, some people are truly genuine, and others attempt to be authentic. But sincerity is something you cannot forge and subsequently replicate. True hearts shine through and are clearly recognizable, even to strangers. It’s an aura, a sense reaching beyond our five senses, a warmth that is comprised of compassion and love. When you meet someone who possesses this warmth, you feel it enter into your soul. This woman is filled with that loving warmth and it radiates around her as it touches the lives and souls of those fortunate enough to make her acquaintance.
Sadly, she had lost her husband the year before our visit. They were married 64 years. Her childhood memories are the only ones remaining in her mind that don’t include her beloved husband. Their two lives were one for most of her lifetime, and his. To detail such a love story would require writing another book entirely.
She took me by the hand and said she wanted to show me something. We walked into a back guest bedroom and I stood amazed at what I saw. I was suddenly in awe of something creative and beautiful as tears filled my eyes. Her husband had left a collection of more than 100 neckties, many he’d worn to church every Sunday. She said through her tears, that they still held the scent of his cologne and she just couldn’t bear to part with them. So they were meticulously stitched into the most meaningful handmade work of art I'd ever seen.
Often, I write about “things.” Things we collect in our lives and how we often attribute too much value to our things. But some things…some things are an exception, representing remnants of the lives we live and these indeed hold immeasurable value. These things in fact, are invaluable, precious, priceless. These things have a unique ability to bind us to our past, as though memories are physically housed in the fabric of their composition.
I suspect when she is home alone, surrounded by the thousands of memories that reside around every corner of the home they shared, that placing her hands upon this bedspread temporarily eliminates the ethereal boundary that exists between them and thus, binds her to her precious husband. This item, though earthly and tangible, represents the invisible link that exists to continually join their hearts -- the connection that will someday lead them to each other once again as they unite to continue their journey together.