Unconditional love is a beautiful thing. But what happen if our memories fade away, would our hearts still be forever linked?
Pat Testa first met Carmela when he was 16, while he was working as an usher at the Embassy movie theater in Newark, New Jersey in 1937. Carmela, 17, used to go there to catch a movie every Thursday evening.
Their love blossomed and they got married at St. Lucy’s Church on April 16, 1939.
After 78 years of marriage, their wedding photo still hangs next to Pat’s bed. Even now, 97-year-old Pat still loves his wife deeply, and says she is beautiful, despite the fact that she has lost her memory of who he is.
Pat still calls her wife affectionately as Millie, and holds her wife’s hand, even when Alzheimer’s disease has stolen her memories.
“I just believe that I’ve got to be with her,” he says.
Their marriage has not always been smooth-sailing. The couple, who outlived their two daughters, have braved through many difficulties along the way.
Their biggest tribulation came in 2007, when Carmela started to regard Pat as a complete stranger during a doctor’s appointment. At that stage he knew she had Alzheimer after a diagnosis from a neurologist.
Things got worse when she called the police several times to report about this “stranger” in the house. She began looking for her husband even when he was right in front of her. Henceforth, he was compelled to sleep in a separate room.
Even though Pat now isn’t able to live together with Carmela due to her condition, he still sees her every single day if he is able to.
“My first thought is of her every day,” he said.
Despite the fact that they don’t talk much every time they are together, deep down in their heart of hearts, they are forever linked.
“We just sit around, and sometimes, you know she’ll come up with some kind of a story, and I’m a good listener. That much more you can do because of her condition,” he said.
During the days when she remembers him, she will ask him for a kiss. During the days when she forgets him, she will sometimes tell him to go to hell!
It is hard to love someone unconditionally. It is even harder to dedicate your love and devotion to someone who forgets you. But, the strong love between Pat and Carmela Testa is a source of testament to couples that true and lasting love does exist!