When Everything Turns to Dust
Following her will, Jacqueline Kennedy was buried beside her first husband, John Kennedy. When it came out, gossip about her will spread around the world:
“Jacqueline was such a snobbish woman that she chose to be buried by the side of a husband who was famous and powerful.”
“In western countries, you know, a woman that marries several husbands should have the surnames of each of her husband’s in her name. I wonder if it was possible to engrave ‘ Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ on her tombstone? Or was her second husband’s name removed from her name?”
“If so, Onassis was really a poor fish to end up alone.”
“Did they say Onassis was buried next to his former wife?”
The gossip reminds me of a story about a female colleague of mine.
When her husband was dying, he called her to his bedside and told her, “You like to have your hair and fingernails done every week. Don’t stop dressing up after my death. No man loves a slovenly and untidy woman.”
The husband then summoned his sons. “After my death, if your mother finds a man who loves her, you shall support it.”
With those words, he breathed his last breath.
Two or three years later, she had met a man who was also widowed. Before marriage, she said to me, “I told him I’d marry him on the condition that I should be buried next to my former husband when I die.”
“Did he agree?”
“Of course,” she laughed. “He was in high spirits, too. He would have said it, but hesitated to broach the subject. He also expects to be buried next to his former wife when he dies.”
In marriage, being a partner is more than just being a “loved” one. Especially for the remarried couples, no one knows whether there is a past love buried in his or her heart.
I encountered an old professor who had been in a long and loving marriage. However he remarried shortly after his wife passed away. Many people blamed him for “moving on” so fast. It seemed his past true love had suddenly evaporated into a “false feeling.”
Finally, a student asked, “Professor, which one do you love more, your new wife or the former one?
The professor just answered with a smile: “Since her death, my love has followed her.”
What a feeling in such a short answer! There are many people in the world who probably bury their love for the rest of their lives at the moment when their first love fails or when they are young and widowed. Even though they are still living, they are just living a routine and boring life. What is left in their heart is only reminiscence— no love anymore. Their love may be calm and sustaining, but will never blaze and burn again.
When I finished my essay entitled “My Beloved Forgotten for Years,” I showed it to my wife. She said, “How can you lie in the same bed with someone every day, but the one you love most in your heart is another person?”
She was probably suspicious of my intention. Just then I said, “Think about it, if I suddenly die some day, and after a while you find a man and you two are married, who is the most beloved one in your heart— that man or me?”