Nothing is more inspirational than a wonderful love story.
My grandfather met my grandmother when she was working in a neighborhood shop. He pursued her, she resisted, until he won her heart over with his charm (as was told to me by him) and they fell completely in love (told to me by both).
She was from a Jewish family, he a Catholic from Puerto Rico and they were forbidden to marry. Being the determined and passionate people I idolize them for being...they eloped. I would make them tell me this story over and over when I was little, memorizing every word. The ultimate fairytale. But unlike most fairytales that end with the loving couple riding into the sunset, their unreal love took place in an all too real world. Their love survived economic hardships, years of separation from war, breast cancer, and so many other challenges life can throw even the greatest of optimists. And yet I remember even as their tale was coming to an end, the look I caught them sharing with each other and the commitment each had to be there for the other was nothing less than inspirational. My grandmother left this world first, and without his love to keep him on this earth and true to form, my grandfather joined her several weeks later.
The lifetime love however, is mine for them. There are no two people who have defined my life more than they did. My most fuzziest and cherished memories involve being in their small home surrounded by their enormous love and endless life stories. They taught me the most important lessons I have learned, which is to have the confidence to follow your heart and how to survive life's challenges with grace. They are with me every day. The way they moved, the sound of their voices, the way they laughed, how his fingers slid across the strings when he played guitar, the way she sang when she thought no one was listening...the way they lived.
I miss them every single day, but they left me with the most priceless of gifts...my sense of self.