By Amy Henderson – HelloCare Journalist
This world we live in is a bit bonkers.
It’s no wonder than as a society we seem to crave love stories, the bigger and more epic the better.
We’re inundated with movies that in one way or another explore what it is to love and be loved.
We’re given superheroes loving other superheroes and somehow trying to make it work, we’re given love affairs spanning galaxies and millennia, it’s all seems rather dramatic and lofty, far above the clutches of us mortals.
But sometimes, just sometimes, a story comes along that is rooted firmly in reality, with every gritty detail it is to live and be alive in this world, leaving us speechless.
Your heart realises that this is it.
This is what love is.
This is the story of Carl Gacono and his wife Mary Jane.
This story is found in the routine.
No one is battling interstellar creatures come to destroy cities or our super secret science lab.
This is a story of a man loving a woman, a family loving a mum, where circumstances are much closer to home, where the thing battled against cannot be seen or touched but the difficulty is so very real.
And every action by Carl Gacono breathes a love that is so precious and epic, because it’s not happening in the stars, it’s happening every single day in his home on earth.
Mary Jane Gacono was diagnosed with dementia ten years ago.
And since that day Carl has stood by her every single day.
Since the day they learned of her condition, Carl has been for her anything she has needed.
Nurse, companion, friend, he’s done it all because there’s nothing else in this world he would rather be doing.
From making sure she takes her medication, to eating all the right foods he’s been there to make sure she’s ok, to make sure, to the best of his ability that she is protected from pain and confusion and worry.
On one particular occasion however, Carl had to leave his wife.
He needed to go to a doctor’s appointment and leave Mary Jane in the hands of their daughter Becky, who had looked after her mum before.
It’s here that Carl’s dedication and kindness to his wife takes on epic proportions that speak of a love we all crave.
When it came down to the hands on caring of his wife in her morning routine, he couldn’t just leave his wife in the hands of his daughter, he had to explain every detail of his wife’s morning routine so that she wouldn’t feel shocked or worried at any point.
He spent over ten minutes explaining to his daughter which bracelet goes on each wrist and in what order, “Don’t forget the bracelet with the heart goes on the left with her watch.
The other two bracelets go on the right.” He outlined which jewellery was to be clipped on and what to put on over her head.
He took his daughter to the bedroom to show her the clothes that Mary Jane would be wearing today.
He explained down to the pair of socks that she liked, because they were soft and Minnie Mouse styled.
Becky was so touched by her father’s care, especially after showering and dressing her mum, “I’m exhausted. Is it time for you to lay down for a rest mom? Oh, wait — that would be me that’s ready to lay down. I am wondering how my 88-year-old dad does this every morning.”
Carl’s approach to loving and caring for his wife is a beautiful and real display of what it is to love in this world.
What it is to love in this world that is broken and confusing and painful.
He meets Mary Jane’s ailing health and needs with devotion and tenderness.
Using the difficult and painful paint he has been given, Carl is painting a breathing portrait of what it is to love.