I remember listening to her newest album when I moved to Georgia twenty-one years ago. I thought her voice the most unique and pleasing ever. I really felt her music. The following year, I enjoyed her contribution to the Titanic soundtrack, but my favorite experience with Céline had been in the Barnes & Noble cafe when I was just seventeen. I’ve loved her music ever since.
When I found out much later that she was married to René, her manager and a man twenty-six years her senior, I felt even more of a connection with her. My husband, Stephen, is twenty-seven years older than I am. We met the same summer I listened to Céline’s music in that cafe.
Our relationship felt different from the start. I remember feeling a sort of magnetism to him. While I wasn’t having romantic thoughts about him because I still had a boyfriend in my home state at the time, I was feeling drawn to Stephen. Months went by and even though I loved spending time with him, I never felt like we were friends, it was…different. There was a closeness that I can’t explain. I loved him before I even recognized it as love.
He had all but sworn off women at the time I first met him because he’d been married twice before and both women had done him wrong. The first had abandoned him with the kids and moved to another state because she wasn’t happy. The second decided to cheat on him with a guy who was supposed to be his friend. So he was not looking to be in a relationship, not with me, not with anyone.
Neither of us could stop what we were feeling, though. As tough as it was to be “okay” with our age difference, we just could not be apart. And once we were both honest about our feelings for each other, there was no denying our destiny to be together. It was a really intense time in my life, in the best possible sense of the word. It might sound like it was a fling, but it wasn’t, and we are still together today, twenty years later.
I’m not sure why there aren’t more couples like Stephen and me, like René and Céline. There is something special about the combination of an older man who is past the irresponsible years and a young woman who is mature and open to being guided and loved. The only sadness I feel is the reality of our physical differences. He will be old before me, that is true. And I know we will not be able to do things together that we would have if we’d been closer in age. But the benefits of his having gained wisdom and love through the years have made him an amazing husband, and a man who I have cherished spending my life with.
Céline lost the love of her life while she was in her forties. But then, many MANY people lose their spouse before old age sets in due to accidents, illnesses and war. We cannot control life. Being with the person you love for as long as you can is a beautiful thing. We should cherish the moments we have. It seems cliche but it’s true, we are none of us promised tomorrow.
People lose loved ones every day. Their brother or sister, a grandparent, a cousin, their spouse, their child. I am not sure why but it’s been becoming clearer to me lately that our lives are indeed fragile. I don’t doubt that God has His mighty hands at work, no. I’m simply recognizing that we are to enjoy each other, bless each other, LOVE each other
while today is still today.