CHARLOTTE – Every love story has a unique beginning.
For the Mareks, it started on New Year’s Eve in 1952, a day Ruth Marek, 90, likes to remember because her friends set her up on a blind date. It was the day she met her husband, Joseph, 94.
They fell in love and were married a year later.
Ruth and Joseph Marek, now residents of Waltonwood Cotswold, moved to Charlotte from Bloomington, Ill., to be closer to their son after Joe was diagnosed with dementia.
“I noticed the forgetfulness about a year ago, and the hardest part is knowing that it won’t get any better,” Ruth said. “At first, I thought maybe I would be able to take care of him on my own, but it became more difficult as each day passed. It is hard not waking up next to him every morning, but I go see him and have lunch with him every day. We still live together.”
Ruth stays in assisted living, while Joe is in memory care. He remembers much from the past, but struggles with short-term memory.
“It is comforting to know that he is getting the best care possible,” she said. “Sometimes we just have to except things the way they are and be happy.”
Throughout their 64 years of marriage they experienced a lot, including the loss of their daughter Erin and their 23-year-old grandson, but they have been blessed to have one granddaughter and two great-granddaughters.
Ruth says one of the most important things in marriage is communication. She believes it is essential to handle difficult conversations and address issues as they arise instead of holding them in.
“Ruth and Joe have such a beautiful relationship together,” said Leah Nash, executive director of Waltonwood Cotswold. “It is heartwarming to watch them spend time with one another in our community.”