“Still Mine”: Growing Old Together

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Still Mine is a wonderfully quiet romantic film about a couple in their very late eighties and a husband who will do anything to care for his wife of 61 years…including going to jail for providing a home for her.

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  The film opens with signs of the wife’s illness, it’s never mentioned in the movie what the illness is but she has some form of dementia. She leaves a pot holder on the stove that catches fire, luckily her son comes for a visit and puts it out. The two oldest of their 7 children voice their concerns about the mom’s health but the dad fans them off…
   At on point Craig (James Cromwell) sits with his wife Irene (Genevieve Bujold) one cold evening and tells her that the water in the toilet froze the night before and that it might do the same that night. As they sit at the table, Irene just stares and Craig tells her that the house “…may no longer work for us…”

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Irene makes him promise that they won’t move until they “have to”…
  At 51 years old and married for nearly 18 years, I truly appreciated the look of love in this movie. Hollywood is producing less and less realistic romantic love these days and even less, full grown adults in love. So, when Irene said “I want to see you…”  “Take off you clothes old man…”  my brown face was flush! as I watched the clothes slide from their aged and wrinkled bodies…there they were naked and in love. They embraced each other with tenderness and my heart warmed with the thought of my wife and I at that age.
   When you hit 50 most Americans head to the hospital for a colonoscopy, when your 20, most Americans thinks they know everything (or at least act like it). When you’re 25 you realize you’re not a teenager anymore and you despise those older than you, because you know you’re getting older. So, most 25 year olds make jokes about their parents being Old.  When you hit 30, you know for a fact, that the clock will never turn back!… when you are 50, you have lived long enough to know that life will soon end and if you are married, then you have enjoyed a wonderful life with someone, while marveling at the aging process. And boy oh boy is it a process!…

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    Irene gets worse and Craig panics when he comes home to see that she’s not there. He searches the town for her and later finds her smoking a cigarette on the beach.
     There was an accident earlier that cause him to move forward in building a new home for them on a small plot of their 2,000 acres of farmland. Unfortunately, government regulations and bureaucracy put a stop to it…but Craig could care less, their home didn’t work for them anymore. Finding Irene on the beach doing something she hadn’t done in years, smoking, propelled him to continue in his defiance against the government bureaucracy. That’s what I lifetime of love will drive you to do.

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   After nearly 18 years of marriage, like Craig, I can’t remember nor imagine life without my wife. We met as adults in good health. Now we giggle as we listen to the other’s bones crack from arthritis,  but we don’t laugh at the pain and swelling. We stare in each other eyes a lot longer these days and every touch of the hand, speaks unspoken passionate love to one another. I’m now a diabetic and she has blood pressure issues. There was a time when I could eat a bowl of 5 alarm chilli and she could eat 2 slices of pizza…Now, I can barely look at anything hot and she can’t eat more than half a sandwich and a salad. I used to love Italian food with mountains of pasta. Now I’m cool with a chicken salad and a kid’s size fruit snack. Life changes, so does the life you share together, but the love continually grows.
      We spend a lot of time figuring out how to care for one another’s health these days as well as enjoying quiet moments alone. I often wonder what life will be like when we are 65/70 years old. My dad is 78 now and in really good health, he bowls in a league and regularly work’s out in the gym. He also jumps rope, granted, he’s not as quick or strong as he was 20 years ago but I see and know very little people my age that can do what he does.  In the movie, Craig is 87 when he builds the house, alone; for his ailing wife.
   If I have even a fraction of their health and strength at that age it would be awesome! As far as love and passion for my wife goes… I try to get home as fast as possible to see her face each day. I love just sitting next to her. I love reading books with her, I love cooking for her, I love praying with her… I’m glad that God provided me with someone to walk through life with.
    Still Mine, gives the audience a different look at love in a different stage of life. A stage where fancy designer names are irrelevant. A stage of life where you find no need to talk every second of the day and where silence doesn’t scare you “I there something wrong with us, are we breaking up? !”  It’s a stage of life where you’ve spent a lifetime together and all that matters, is just being in the room with your best friend. The world needs to see more of this kind of love on display…

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    Getting older shouldn’t be feared, despised or looked at as the end of love, life and passion… because it isn’t!  It just looks different…

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