Love for a lifetime


My great-grandparents were the kind of people that anybody would have wanted in their family. Hugely respected, greatly honoured and widely beloved. They had almost all one could desire, including fortune, faith and humility. They even lived to a goodly age. Great-grandpa to 99 and Great-grandma to 86. But could two people seriously remain truly in love for all that time?


I have their letters from when they started courting after the Boer War. In beautiful handwriting their courtly language speaks of youthful dreams and sweet hopes for the future. Those were hard times, so shortly after the war. After seven years of engagement, he wrote to her that his finances are now such that they could finally get married. It proved to be the happiest of marriages for over 61 years.


On their 60th anniversary great-grandma shakily wrote her last letter to the boy she married:


“My dearest life companion. I feel so grateful unto our Heavenly Father for the privilege that we have been able to walk the road of life hand-in-hand for so long. Words cannot express how much you have done for me and the children and what you meant to us. The Lord has been very merciful and good to us. To Him the glory and thanks for all your love and sacrifice for me and the children. I wish you, my husband, God’s choicest blessings on the little bit which lies ahead. Thank you very, very much from all our children and your life’s companion, Bess Labuschagne.”


She passed away the next year. Old and evidently still very much in love, for scribbled across the top of the letter was added: “If I had to have my life all over again, I would have chosen you again as my life’s companion. – B