I am a computer geek to my coffee buddies – all past their 60s.
While they are huddled together discussing solutions to the world’s problems, I am in front of my laptop giving shape and life to my thoughts through my keyboard, or staring into the distance like a zombie waiting for a prey.
Herbert and Zalmyra Fisher – till death do us part.
Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher are both dead (Herbert in 2011 at age 105, and Zelmyra two years later). But not before they left behind some wonderful foods-for-thought for married couples.
First: In 2008, they won the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest living married couple.
At that time they have been married for 84 years – since May 13, 1924.
Second: In 2010, they opened a joint Twitter account to answer questions about marriage for Valentine’s Day, with this tagline:
“Tweet relationship questions to the world’s longest-married couple! Together for 85 years, Herbert+Zalmyra Fisher will tweet back on Valentine’s Day.”
Third: They left behind these wonderful bits of wisdom for married couples which can withstand the test of time. These are:
What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all?
With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure. Divorce was NEVER an option, or even a thought.
How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
We grew up together and were best friends before we married. A friend is for life; our marriage has lasted a lifetime.
What advice to someone who is trying to keep the faith that Mr. Right is really out there?
Zelmyra: Mine was just around the corner! He is never too far away, so keep faith – when you meet him, you’ll know.
Is there something you would do differently after more than 80 years of marriage?
We wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other and our family.
You got married very young – how did you both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as couple?
Everyone who plants a seed and harvests the crop celebrates together. We are individuals, but accomplish more together.
What is your fondest memory of your 85-year marriage?
Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great grand-children and 1 great-great grandchild.
Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?
The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs – together.
What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?
A hard worker and good provider. The 1920s were hard, but Herbert wanted and provided the best for us. I married a good man.
How did you cope when you had to be physically separated for long periods of time?
Herbert: We were apart for 2 months when Z was hospitalized with our 5th child. It was the most difficult time of my life. Zelmyra’s mother helped me with the house and the other children, otherwise I would have lost my mind.
What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?
We are both Christians and believe in God. Marriage is a commitment to the Lord. We pray with and for each other every day.
At the end of a bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?
Remember marriage is not a contest – never keep score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win.
Is fighting important?
Never physically. Agree that it’s ok to disagree, and fight for what really matters. Learn to bend – not break.
What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?
Respect, support, and communicate with each other. Be faithful, honest, and true love. Love each other with ALL your heart.
Herbert and Zalmyra’s marriage is simply amazing, compared to current marriages which are like staying in a halfway house. Their enduring love for each other is exceptional. They deserve the honor bestowed on them by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Inspiring it may be, but difficult feat to beat. Whereas people are living longer these days, most of them will be singles by the time they reach old age because of divorce or death.
In 2014, 40 to 50% of marriages in the U.S. ended up in divorce or annulment – for several reasons.
Huffington Post featured an article showing the ten most common reasons for the shocking ending to this well-prepared, often expensive “I do…till death do us part,” ceremony.
They are nothing new. They have been circulated so many times they don’t warrant a second read – if it is to be read at all.
But the bottom line is this: People often don’t know what they are getting into when they tie the knot together.
They think that just because they miss a good night’s sleep when they don’t see each other for a day is reason enough to get married. They take marriage simply as sharing a bed, or sharing expenses, going out to dinner once a week, or a vacation every year.
Marriage is like welding two pieces of steel together. At the joint, each has a part of the other. Even if you pry them loose, they are never quite the same again. And each will be weaker compared to their original selves.
My marriage lasted 37 years until my wife died from cardiac arrest. That was 7 years ago. Our marriage was not a bed a roses, but it was neither that prickly either. But for the sake of the children, we were determined to keep it intact, till death do us part.
My point and that of Herbert and Zalmyra’s is that marriage is not something you just spew out if you don’t like its taste. It is like seasoning food to make it palatable to both. It may take a long time to get it right, but the effort and the wait is worth it.
Do you have any comment? I would love to entertain them.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive deterioration of the brain that can occur in middle or old age.
In 2013, Ted was diagnosed with dementia and began to deteriorate He started having difficulties in recognizing loved ones and sometimes showed angry outburst.
Attending to Alzheimer’s victims is often a caregiver’s nightmare. They have lucid moments, when they act normally, and lurid moments, when they are totally lost to reality. Each is triggered differently from patient to patient.
Ted was an entertainer all his life, performing in pubs and clubs across England. Perhaps by coincidence, his lucidity is triggered by music, which his son, Simon, “Mac,” McDermott, 40, has exploited.
Wanting his Dad happy, Mac often takes his Ted on a ride singing some of his favorite songs. Here’s one of them.
Mac is sharing this video to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society. Lucky for him, it has gone viral.
What causes Alzheimer’s?
Its cause is not yet fully understood but scientists believe a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors which, over time, damage and kill brains cells.
As more brain cells die, the brain shrinks. A brain affected by Alzheimer’s has a lot fewer cells and connections compared to a healthy brain.
How to know if Alzheimer’s is gaining up on you:
There are an estimated 5.2 million Americans, aged 65 and over, who are afflicted with Alzheimer’s. To avoid becoming a part in this deadly statistics, you must know these early warning signs so you can immediately seek medical attention.
1. Memory loss:
Things forgotten due to age-related memory loss is often remembered. Not with Alzheimer’s.
Forgetting recently learned information, important dates and events, asking the same information over and over, are indicators of the onset of Alzheimer’s.
2. Difficulty in planning or solving problems:
Committing errors while doing tasks you never had problems before can happen to anyone with advanced years.
But to have difficulties in developing or following a plan, difficulty in concentrating, work with numbers, keeping track of monthly bills, or following a familiar recipe is an indication of early brain deterioration.
3. Difficulty in doing familiar tasks at home, or at work:
Sometimes I have to call my son to re-teach me how to use some of the apps in the smartphone I inherited from him. But it’s because I seldom use them.
With Alzheimer’s, not only will you forget how to use it, you will have problems completing its execution. You may experience trouble in driving to a familiar place, managing a home or work budget, or rules of your favorite game.
4. Confusion with time and place:
As a retiree and no longer keeping track of paydays or weekends, I sometimes forget the day or date. But I can easily get back on track by looking at the calendar or my timepiece.
People with Alzheimer’s often forget where they are or how they got there. They lose track of the time, i.e. days of the week, or months in the year. They even lose track of seasons, or the passage of time.
5. Trouble with Vision and Distance:
Eye problems among seniors are normally caused by age-related eye deterioration or cataracts.
People with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty in reading, judging distance, color or contrast, which could cause driving risks.
6. Speaking or writing problems:
Even the most mentality acute senior would often grope for the right words in the middle of a conversation.
But if you stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to go on, repeat yourself, struggle with words or, worse, call things by the wrong name, then you may be having the early signs of Alzheimer’s.
7. Misplacing things or inability to retrace steps:
If only misplacing things is a sign of Alzheimer’s then I must be having the disease. But I can retrace the events or my steps to joggle my memory to where I left them in most occasions.
Alzheimer’s victims cannot do that. They cannot retrace the events or their steps to try to figure out where they left them. Because of this, they may accuse others of stealing them.
8. Changes in decision-making or judgment:
Occasionally making sound judgment or good decision is always difficult even with healthy people.
But with Alzheimer’s it becomes the norm. They often make poor judgment in money matters. They pay less attention to good grooming, or personal hygiene.
9. Becoming a recluse:
People, young or old, normally have the urge to withdraw from other people, to get away from everything to find themselves, or just to recharge batteries.
But if, for no apparent reason, you suddenly don’t like to get on with your favorite hobby, social activities, sports, or avoid your best buddies, dementia may slowly be starting to creep in on you.
10. Mood and personality changes:
We all have our own mood swings but personality, what you are and how you carry yourself, seldom change.
Dementia is often preceded by confusion, suspicion of others, depression, fear, or anxiety. You may easily be upset at home or at work, with friends or places where they are not so comfortable.
If you love yourself and your family, if you feel any of the above, immediately seek medical attention so you can avail of various treatments for early stage Alzheimer’s.
Attending to an Alzheimer’s patient is never easy, even for the most seasoned and patient caregivers. Don’t be one.
I was having bouts of depression last week and told my daughter about it more as a way of letting go than for an advice. Instinctively she said, “You have no reason to be. A lot of people are in worse situation than you.”
Her off-the-cuff remark immediately reminded me of the sidewalk vendor I chatted with a couple of weeks ago.
In a TV series, To Know God, Morgan Freeman set out on a quest to know what people think of god.
He crisscrossed the world to have a better and more comprehensive understanding of god.
He talked to ordinary people, archaeologists, religious historians and clerics of the major religions in the world, i.e., Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, to know their perspectives of god.