Last fall, when my father was in his final stages of cancer, he was admitted to hospital. My mother took him there. He was too weak to walk, and sat in a wheelchair. It was their 55th anniversary that day, and she kissed him, and wished him happy anniversary. They were both fully aware that very soon they would be saying their final goodbyes.
I was not present, but I could so imagine the whole thing. A heart-wrenching image – two old people, married that long, living through their final days together.
I wondered what did they feel for each other, how would they cope these last moments. And suddenly I realized I was repeating a Shakespeare sonnet in my mind. It fit the situation so well, and made me realize how words written hundreds of years ago were still current, and how well they still conveyed the same emotions I am sure my parents felt.
It was Shakespeare’s Sonnet 104.
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were, when first your eye I ey’d,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turn’d
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burn’d,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah! yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure and no pace perceiv’d;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion and mine eye may be deceiv’d:
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred;
Ere you were born, was beauty’s summer dead.