A Promise Kept. Such a simple phrase. In a short little book. With a lifetime of meaning.
My husband’s grandfather already had Alzheimer’s when I met him. I only saw Grandpa twice. I only saw a shadow of the personality that was his. But Grandpa’s military photo from the 1940’s? That smile is the same as the one I see every day on my husband’s face. I often wonder how like his grandpa he is.
When I vowed to love my husband “in sickness and in health,” I was thinking of things like Alzheimer’s and old age. I didn’t know that “sickness” would come in the form of a welding explosion and a broken leg just two months after we were married. Or how clearly I would see my husband’s love and commitment displayed to me throughout the months of morning sickness and exhaustion of pregnancy. But God gave strength for each day.
A Promise Kept is a beautiful story of love and commitment that you have to read to fully appreciate. It is the true story of J. Robertson McQuilkin, a man who gave up all the achievements he’d made in the world just for the simple joy of keeping his promise to love and cherish his wife in sickness and in health.
A Promise Kept. “A Vow to Cherish.” Stories about Alzheimer’s still tug extra-hard at my heartstrings. There’s always the thought in the back of my mind that it is something we might face someday.
But I can rest in the knowledge that God gives grace for A Promise Kept.
Yes, I read about it in a little book by that title. But I’ve seen A Promise Kept in the lives of people I know and love.
I watched each Sunday as week by week, Dan and Dorothy’s roles were reversed. Dorothy became the driver and the caretaker through Dan’s battle with brain cancer. Now he is homebound, yet they listen to taped sermons and send their love and prayers to their church family. Not only are they proclaiming God’s faithfulness, but they are counting the blessings that have come to them through this trial.
I saw the love still lighting Bob’s eyes as he watched Pauline, the redheaded love of his life, frail and weak in the last days of her long fight with brain cancer. I’ve been the recipient of cards Bob sent, carrying on his wife’s tradition of annual greeting cards. He wanted my girls to have some teddy bears from Pauline’s collection—and each time I see those twin Disney Pooh bears, I think of the love they witnessed.
I hear the joy in Allegra’s letters as she speaks of caring singlehandedly for her sweetheart of so many years, whose only lucid moments in his struggle with Alzheimer’s come when he prays or speaks of the things of the Lord. This 82-year-old little lady says that caring for her husband is “a ministry which the Lord has given” her—along with that of managing the translation and publication of her books proclaiming His truth in many other countries.
I’ve seen these people keeping that promise, “in sickness and in health.”
A Promise Kept is the story of only one man, just one marriage—but it captures the essence of so many other stories, so many more marriages, that will never be recorded in books. Read A Promise Kept. Give it to someone in your life who is living out their vows. But be sure to keep a copy to re-read from time to time. It will make you pray for the grace and strength for A Promise Kept: “In sickness and in health…’til death us do part.”