Our Senior Love Stories series brings together the real life tales of love and marriage from our members. As we approach another Valentine’s Day, many emotions are sure to be stirring inside you. Some seniors are fortunate to still have their spouse by their side after decades of marriage, but others aren’t as lucky.
For many of us, Valentine’s Day reminds us of that special someone who has moved on. For this iteration of Senior Love Stories, we interviewed Gay Turner, who has a very special Valentine’s Day tradition to honor the man she loved so much. Embrace love, past and present, in this installment that shows us that love can last beyond a lifetime.
Gay Turner has been married more than once. While this is true for many seniors, the next detail is a little more surprising – she met both of her future husbands in high school. Her first husband, whom she married to for 31 years, is the father of all four of her children. As Gay recollects, they had a wonderful life together, and were fortunate enough to travel all over the world while raising their children.
Eventually, their marriage ended (Gay points out that they are still in contact and remain close friends). Shortly after, Gay ended up marrying the best man from her first marriage! Laughing while retelling the story, Gay emphasizes that you never know where life will take you, so take care to live every moment to the fullest. Life can sometimes be a rollercoaster of a journey – it’s better to enjoy the ride.
This advice proved bitterly true. Gay was especially fond of her second husband, who had an effortlessly charming sense of humor and knew how to make her feel wonderful each day. Sadly, her second husband passed away nearly 15 years ago.
Even with this curve ball life threw her way, Gay still eagerly looks forward to each Valentine’s Day. She loves writing each of her four children Valentine’s Day cards every year, but that isn’t the reason she eagerly anticipates each February 14th. Gay was smart enough to save every Valentine’s Day card her second husband ever gave her, and she keeps all of them safely stored away in an antique box.
On Valentine’s Day, Gay reopens the box, inundating herself with notes of affection and anecdotes that spark some of her favorite memories. After spending time with her late husband by reading his cards, she stows the box away until the next February. “So, save your Valentine’s!” She says with a smile on her face. Gay knows better than most – any little memory can become your most prized possession.
When asked if she has any advice for young couples, Gay replies to always be kind and to give each other space. She details how the young people she knows, like children and grandchildren, are always in contact with their significant other, whether via text or Facebook message or talking on the phone. Absence makes the heart grow fonder – a little space, Gay advises, is okay. “Just don’t answer the phone if you’re upset,” she recommends. “You don’t have to talk to them!”
A little technology, though, is very welcome, especially to stay in touch with family. With four children and even more grandchildren, Gay relies on technology to reach out to her big family. While most of her grandchildren live in California or at least in the United States, she has part of her family living as far as the Philippines! When you want to share moments with someone across the ocean, an intuitive tool like the GrandPad can make the stress of typical technology disappear. With the touch of a button seniors can video-chat with the loved ones that make life worth living.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Check back soon for another edition of Senior Love Stories.