Peter Gallagher ("Grace and Frankie," "The O.C.") reads the story of one man's effort to stay with his wife in sickness and in health.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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more than just taste, good, oh from the New York Times and WB. You are Boston. This is modern love, the stories of love, loss and redemption. I'm your host magnetron puberty yeah in any long term relationship There are bound to change over time. You either grow. closer or further apart. But what if that change were out of your control entirely and growing apart became inevitable. These are questions Robert sentiment didn't think too much about until he was forced to. Peter Gallagher known for shows, like law, dot and dot order, DOT, Svu grace and Frankie, and the o dot c reads: Robert Essay promises
and bend without breaking into my wife and I moved out of our house into an independent living apartment walking through the building. You might take it for a well kept hotel. until you notice the handrails lining the hallways, the nursing assistant in the common areas and the people pushing walkers in front of them, rather than luggage carts behind them. The average resin is close to eighty years old. The end of the year brought a stream of visitors One afternoon we join the other residents to meet with fourth graders graters shyly handed handedness, candy canes and Christmas cards. They had made a quartet of a cellist and three violinists. Their instruments marked with colored tape, to help with the fingering played for a Another day in the common dining room with chairs and tables pushed out of the way we have
young ballet students ants in parts of the nutcracker. We have listened to a teenage harpist and some Christmas Carol was accompanied by a visiting pianist. I'm not sure I belong here, you'll occasionally here others say the same thing, but it's different for me. I'm in good health, physically and mentally, and I work full time I just turn fit. my wife a year younger, is the reason we're here the married twenty eight years, most of them carefree some even exciting. in our first year. Together we were living in Texas. I found out about it. Job opening it a satellite office of the company. I work for I called my wife on the phone. What would you think of moving to Germany, I asked sure she said.
Six weeks later? We walked into a small apartment and Moose Burg, a small town just outside Munich. We spent the next five years in Germany Exe. War in Europe during weekends and holidays. We discovered we within a day's drive of Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Vienna, and we made those trips the evening before Birthday one year, my wife met me in the Munich train station on my return from a business trip. She pulled two suitcases from a locker and told me: we were booked on a night train to Florence. sometimes would take long driving trips through the countryside, my wife, navigating with a map. We had no destination But it was good to know where we were, if not where we were going. We'd eventually happened upon a small village with a guest house, perhaps on a picturesque town square for food and drink and lodging our lives were open, ended
Eventually, we moved back to the United States. I went to graduate school in Massachusetts, earned a phd in computer science and landed a job as a university professor in North Carolina, we bought a house with a swimming pool on the outskirts of Raleigh. My wife found her falling in the craft of weaving she'd occasionally sell a scar for table runner on consignment and once she saw her work appear in a national weaving magazine. The wanderlust struck him now and then, We spent my sabbatical year living in southern California and talked about the possibility of moving back to Europe at some point, but we had settled down.
On a summer afternoon, almost seven years ago we were in the swimming pool, it was my wife's forty third birthday we were talking about where we'd go to dinner. When she became quiet for awhile, she slid off her float into the water face down didn't come up for air. I pulled her out of the pool and called nine hundred and eleven. a few hours later in the emergency room. A doctor told me my I had had a seizure caused by brain tumors late that night, my wife had regained consciousness in her hospital room, She could speak and she even smiled on you Surgeon talk with both of us, though. He said that my was heavily medicated and remember our conversation later. The MRI showed three men in
prison, the membrane surrounding the brain, the doktor described them being the sizes of a walnut, a cherry and a plum. They would need to be removed by surgery. What will you put in their path? My wife asked nothing. He said the brain and its fluids will expand to fill the space. Will I be smarter than the doctrine I laughed while my wife just looked puzzled, it was a rare bright moment in the neurological intensive care unit
the tumors were benign after two surgeries and a painful recovery. It seemed that life might return to normal. She and I talked about the future, what we would do with our lives we no longer had forever. My wife went back to work two or three days a week, but devoted most of her free time to her crafts and weaving and embroidery. I'd, never stop. Working and my spare time I wrote a science book. wife gave it a fitting title computing for ordinary mortals. We still traveled, we visited friends and family in other states and we spent a summer month on the island of Madeira. This would be a good place for us. My wife said I agreed. I talked with a friend of the University of Madeira about job. possibilities, but on an annual checkup
accent. Mri showed new brain tumors. This time the treatment was radiation and she never fully recovered. She became absent minded some time searching for ordinary words, glass broom table for up to a minute. In conversation, she lost track of time. She began to fall down when are we going home should ask, and I walk around the room to point out the lamp she'd brought back from Venice, the antique floor loom. Corner and her fabrics hanging on the walls. we were already home by fall of last year, her dementia was comparable to mid stage Alzheimer's Disease neurologists and neurosurgeons ran tests and suggest treatments to no effect.
on our last visit several months ago, her neurologist It would be surprising to see any improvement over time. We talk, then, while my wife still had lucid periods in the past week, fun with idle questions about the future. If we could live anywhere in the world, where would it be or what would we do with a million dollars this time it was more serious. What will we do? If you don't remember who I am? We agreed that and together was the most important thing in sickness and in health. After all,. The solution seemed to be a place that caters to people with my wife's condition. The apartment is as familiar as I can make it. Our furniture is arranged to match a old ass. Sometimes we sit in the living room and look through our photo albums. I bring out examples of my wife's weaving and embroidery for her to turn over in her hands.
One sunny day we were walking outside after lunch in the parking lot we passed by a small blue convertible. That's a nice car. My wife said occasionally she speaks without prompting, but that's becoming rare. It is, I said, what do you like about it? It's a pretty color. Would you like to go for a ride? Sure we walked to the passenger door and I opened it. She looked confused. Is this our car? Yes, my wife had arranged for us to buy the car from one of her friends six months earlier
It's okay. I said we haven't had it for long. I thought you were joking. She said I thought you were joking. Do you want to go somewhere know? Sometimes I think about the vows, my wife and I made to each other twenty eight years ago and then again last summer were different people than we once were. Does that make Breaking a promise easier last summer, I said you can trust me I'll, always tell you the truth about what's happening today. I tell her small comforting lies some promises, though, aren't just things you say or intend to do about what kind of person you are.
That makes it easier to decide what's right, I live, and I were recently sitting with a group of older women drinking coffee, one. It over to me and whispered. Are you the son? I corrected her impression, which may have been due to failing eyesight know. We're married are surprised at the question When I look at my wife, I still see the lovely younger woman in our photos and in my memory sometimes she looks back at me and smiles even though she may not know who I am, the Peter Gallagher, reading
Robert sentiments essay promises. that can bend without breaking we'll find out how rob and his wife were doing today after the break car Carmax gives you the freedom to shop. However, you, like you, can shop for a car online and on the lot find the right car you can buy. However, you want buy online and get home delivery in select markets or by our mine entries, Express pick up at car max and no matter how you, by your car, comes with a thirty day. Money back guarantee up to fifteen hundred miles, learn more and start shopping at car, MAX Dotcom Car MAX Carbine re imagined. I landfilling my boyfriend and I often lay following these together.
By together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry They may have happened again to I have one friend, who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I was get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something like that. Me and my dad. We like to play spy together and I wish her out. I it J a c k, p o t. Yeah now run nice, I'm same is risky. The digital possessed her for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at annoyed times that come slash, games, we're back its love, the podcast, a magnet, Were body
Been three years since Robert Saint, a essay was published just a few months after he wrote it. He and his wife. Back into their home. In Raleigh, we were in touch with in January of two thousand sixteen, and we asked him what he thought of the poor. Miss couples make to stay together in sickness and in health of must. I don't think it's a realistic one. In all situations we think Sometimes two people have made the wrong decision, or sometimes two people grow apart. I think what's happening with me and my wife I'll always make sure she's taken care of, but sometimes that growing apart happens much more suddenly and drastically You expect six months after that conversation Rob made it. If decision he does I did to move his wife into an just living facility. He this email shortly thereafter weeks after the move, there's a good deal of guilt, even though I think I
the least bad option and would do it again. Houses empty, but its full, of reminders of my wife. so many of my habits and routines are no longer needed. I don't have to come here from work at a specific time so that the professional caregiver can leave We have to set aside an hour in the morning and in the evening to help my wife's start or end her day and so forth. I am torn inside trying to balance what I think my wife would have wanted as she to be and what she will wants or needs now as a very different person. How do I choose for her with our marriage? Having turned from a partnership into a guardianship We heard from mom again this past March, here's what he wrote. My wife is doing well in the assisted living facility. I admire the people
care for her now, especially knowing how difficult it is, I'd thought that, with the passage of time, I have a better understanding of dementia, of my condition and if I. ship, but I am still adjusting. I can imagine myself saying I am adjusting a year from now. I might keep repeating this for the rest of my life. I suppose that's the nature of things, We got one more update from Rob just last week he and his wife cell, We did her birthday with one of their old rituals. They arranged flowers, I bring flowers, Rob wrote. colorful and pretty a bunch as I can find at our local supermarket. I prop up a vase.
My wife's lap, a hundred daisy or a carnation or arose after have caught the stem on a good day, shall grasped the flower and put it in the vase on other days. I'll guide her hand. I say these flowers are Jim for you, aren't they beautiful? Sometimes she agrees. Yes, Robert sentiment he's a computer science professor, at North Carolina State University, coming up, Dan Jones on why Rob's essay felt deeply personal to him.
Given its leaders are currently standing on the precipice of the biggest fundamental shift that we have seen in decades, the status quo is out the window. Things are not going back to the whether they were. I really feel an orange climb, where the hosts of built for change a new podcast from censure on built for change. We hear from business leaders about the urgent challenges companies are facing as they step into the future, we're talking about the changing workforce, sustainability, new technologies and so much more subscribed a bill for change now, so you don't miss an episode. I love following my boyfriend and I often play following me together by together, I mean sitting next to each other playing individual. and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed We may have happened again. You can. I have one friend
who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words, then I was get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something like that me and my dad. We like a sponge together, and I wish to out that it a c k, p o t, I panicked yeah nice. I'm same is risky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at an why times. Dot com, flash games. we can't always imagine ourselves in the situations that these modern love essays bring to light, but Daniel Jones Edit. The column for the New York Times says: Rob's essay immediately felt all too real. I'm the same age as he is, and my wife pretty much the same age as his wife? It did just put that question straight at me.
I think, I'm in the prime of my life and my wife is too What would happen if I were the one who slipped off into that pool or if she were the one who slipped off into that pool and We are still going to live for another thirty forty years and the hey Robert. Just spell this out. It's it's just really. The of a challenge to the There are the reader to say like how would you handle this and you might want to think about it because It's not an isolated event up thanks to Peter Gallagher, for reading Rob's essay, you can see him in the Netflix Series Grace and Frankie and in the film a bad moms Christmas
in theaters in November. Modern love is a production of the New York Times and WB. You are Boston, NPR station is produced erected and edited by Jessica, Alford, John Parody, Emory Seaward Sin and Kate and Oak additional sound design by Matt read the idea for the modern podcast was conceived by these had told him. Saddlers our executive pretty serve Daniel Jones is the editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show music for the past courtesy of a p dot m. I'm a party will see you next week.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-17.