October 1941Last October, my grandparents celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. At nearly 97 years old, they spent the better part of their lives together. Their marriage weathered challenging times in our history like the Great Depression, multiple wars, and unrest that many today wouldn’t have stood a chance against. After all those years, being in the same room as them, it was impossible to miss the love and adoration they held for each other.

So when I flew down from Iowa to visit my grandfather’s bedside, I leaned in close and listened intently when he began describing their relationship.

There aren’t many out there like us. We shared so many great years together and though it was work, it only got better with time. Hannah, always be loving. Be gentle. Be kind.

How simple. I felt like I’d been let in on one of the best kept secrets of our time. Of course he was talking about his marriage, but his words ring true for life as well as relationships. Imagine if despite opposing views and differing opinions, the whole world could agree on upholding those three simple values. No doubt, it would be a better place.

My grandfather passed away last week surrounded by family. He was a wise, simple man who was loved by many. In the words of my father, “Until his last moments, he was lucid and eloquent, calm and content, fearless… and curious.” When I look back, I know what I will remember the most about him is those six simple words. The instructions to happiness:

Be loving. Be gentle. Be kind.