My grandparents were married for over half a century, and played their
own special game from the time they had met each other.  The goal of 
their game was to write the word "shmily" in a surprise place for the 
other to find.

They took turns leaving "shmily" around the house, and as soon as one of
them discovered it, it was their turn to hide it once more.

They dragged "shmily" with their fingers through the sugar and flour
containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal.  They smeared
it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio where my grandma 
always fed us warm, homemade pudding with blue food coloring.  "Shmily" 
was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot shower, where 
it would reappear bath after bath.  At one point, my grandmother even 
unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave "shmily" on the very 
last sheet.

There was no end to the places "shmily" would pop up.  Little notes with
"shmily" scribbled hurriedly were found on dashboards and car seats, or
taped to steering wheels.  The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left 
under pillows.  "Shmily" was written in the dust upon the mantel and 
traced in the ashes of the fireplace.  This mysterious word was as much 
a part of my grandparents' house as the furniture.

It took me a long time before I was able to fully appreciate my
grandparents' game.  Skepticism has kept me from believing in true 
love - one that is pure and enduring.  However, I never doubted my 
grandparents' relationship.  They had love down pat. It was more than 
their flirtatious little games; it was a way of life. Their relationship 
was based on a devotion and passionate affection which not everyone is 
lucky enough to experience.

Grandma and Grandpa held hands every chance they could.  They stole
kisses as they bumped into each other in their tiny kitchen. They 
finished each other's sentences and shared the daily crossword puzzle 
and word jumble.  My grandma whispered to me about how cute my grandpa 
was, how handsome and old he had grown to be.  She claimed that she 
really knew "how to pick 'em."  Before every meal they bowed their 
heads and gave thanks, marveling at their blessings:  a wonderful 
family, good fortune, and each other.

But there was a dark cloud in my  grandparents' life: my grandmother had
breast cancer.  The disease had  first appeared ten years earlier.  As
always, Grandpa was with her every step  of the way.  He comforted her
in their yellow room, painted that way so  that she could always be
surrounded by sunshine, even when she was too sick to  go outside.  Now 
the cancer was again attacking her body.  With the help of a  cane and 
my grandfather's steady hand, they went to church every morning.  But 
my grandmother grew steadily weaker until, finally, she could not leave 
the house anymore.  For a while, Grandpa would go to church alone, 
praying to God to watch over his wife.

Then one day, what we all dreaded  finally happened.  Grandma was gone.

It was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my grandmother's
funeral bouquet. As the crowd thinned and the last mourners  turned 
to leave, my aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members came  
forward and gathered around Grandma one last time.  Grandpa stepped 
up to my  grandmother's casket and, taking a shaky breath, he began 
to sing to her.   Through his tears and grief, the song came, a deep 
and throaty lullaby.  Shaking with my own sorrow, I will never forget  
that  moment.   For I knew that, although couldn't begin to fathom the 
depth of  their love, I had been privileged to witness its unmatched 

S-h-m-i-l-y: See How Much I Love You.

Pass this on to some of your friends and tell them how much you love
them, for there may not be another day that you will talk to them.

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