I just came across this obituary of a married Catholic couple, Lou and Patricia DeMuro, who died on the same day after 62 years of marriage. It’s a real old-fashioned love story.
It is a very touching story. The simplicity in which this couple approached life and each other is inspiring. Their contentment with what life offered them admirable. This couple’s story should be what every person should be looking for when it comes to love and marriage. They offer two key ingredients to falling in love and a successful marriage; approaching life with simplicity and contentment.
Sadly, too many people complicate the process and get too demanding when it comes to their expectations of another person, making it almost impossible to find such love. The more qualifications necessary, the less likely to find happiness and share such a life.
It’s also important to realize that they had very humble beginnings and lived a humble life. They were not angry or frustrated about their financial situation. They were accepting of it, made do, and were thankful for their blessings. They were also very young. That helps too. When you marry young, it gives you more years together. And the more years you have living together in marriage, the less selfish you become.
But this couple have more to teach us about approaching love and marriage. They had an earnest desire to make each other happy and feel special. They did not take each other for granted. Let’s see how the reporter described their life from the research:
- Their life together had few frills but many laughs.
- They would sing the 1950s hit “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?”. They listened to the soundtracks from “South Pacific” and “Mary Poppins” hundreds of times. The louder their kids sang along, the more the DeMuros smiled.
- They were a tag team when it came to raising their three kids. When Mr. DeMuro got home from work, he was a hands-on parent, so Patricia DeMuro could head to her night job.
- They did everything together.
- They lived in a two-flat with relatives upstairs.
- The children went to school across the street at Our Lady Help of Christians. They’d come home for lunch.
- When the family moved in 1968, Mrs. DeMuro brushed up her secretarial skills and landed a job at AT&T. Mr. DeMuro was an order filler for Motorola and worked at a cutlery firm.
- They would take bus tours and cruises to Alaska and the Caribbean, along the Mississippi River and through the Panama Canal.
- They loved going to Massachusetts in the fall to watch the leaves change colors.
Laughed a lot, basic living, enjoyed their kids (loud kids made them smile!), sang corny songs, made home-made sausage, hands-on parenting as a team, living with relatives in the same house, kids went to Catholic school, she worked to help bring in money, he worked two jobs, simple pleasures. They did everything together.
Now let’s see how their kids describe them and their life with their parents:
- They remember Dad barbecuing and getting the biggest kick out of watching the kids play.
- The homemade sausage was so good, it spoiled them for anything else.
- Their parents roller-skated, bowled and played pinochle together and even used his-and-hers lawnmowers to mow their grass side-by-side.
- Mom was really in tune with their schoolwork. She was there all the time. She slept while they were at school.
- Sundays meant pot roast for dinner.
- They were always asking them ‘How ya doing? Are you OK?’ Always checking up on them. They were encouraging.
- Dad enjoyed taking his sons golfing at Salt Creek Country Club in Itasca.
- The family liked hitting Wood Dale Bowl and watching Clint Eastwood spaghetti Westerns at the old Thunderbird Theater in Hoffman Estates.
- Dad would do the shopping and mom the cooking, making homemade ravioli, manicotti, pizza, pineapple upside-down cake and Italian cookies.
Togetherness, availability, genuine interest, hard-working, tender moments, frugality, attentiveness to the children’s needs.
What stands out to me is how happy they were, and more importantly, how happy the children were. Their children felt they had a rich life growing up. They certainly were not poor. Pot roast on Sunday is very middle class. They were careful with their money. And I’m sure they were “savers” and had money due to their being careful with their money and not reckless. They lived within their means, but still did special things. It was not a life of extravagance.
Another thing that stands out to me is that the things the children point out are all have to do with how the couple interacted together at a friendship level. It does not seem that either one dominated the other. The mutual respect seems to be what the children took from their relationship.
It really goes to show that bonding as friends with a mutual respect of each other is a key ingredient to success in marriage. Each person is free to be themselves, yet has a desire to do things together and be together. Seeking someone you can have that kind of bond with goes so far beyond age differences, physical attraction, child-bearing requirements, and the many kinds of things single people allow themselves to get so caught up in.
And this couple took the plunge. They saw in each other someone they wanted to be with; a suitable partner. They did not question it or ponder too deeply about if this is the one God had in mind. They did not reject the other in hopes of finding someone better. They probably gave it no thought at all. Since they were both people who approached life with simplicity and were not hard people to please, they knew how to be content and appreciate what they had. I’m sure this prepared them well for finding the kind of love in another person.
On her deathbed, Mr. DeMuro was brought in to see Mrs. DeMuro. He said “Hi Babe,” and she said “Lou, I love you. I had a wonderful life. I’ll see you in another place.” They lived in such close union with each other in that bond of love. So it was fitting that, at the end, they died together, succumbing within hours of each other from a multitude of ailments. Lou had leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and was in hospice. Patricia had diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure. In the end, they both needed others to care for them. But their desire was always to take care of the other, especially each other’s hearts.
It is not dumb luck or a fluke that they cherished each other for 62 years and still felt so close after all that time. They gave themselves completely to the other, and wanted to, and found joy in it. If we all would approach life with simplicity and as content people, without over expectations and qualifications about the people who come along and whom we date, we just might end up with a life of love as Lou and Patricia DeMuro shared.