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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Brush with death renews couple’s devotion to each other

After 57 years of marriage, Carolyn and Graham Mesecke, no longer take a single day with each other for granted after Graham suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest in 2016.

The pair say the scare not only brought the retirees face-to-face with losing each other, but also served as a reminder to cherish the simple joys of life and love.

“I knew something was wrong so I called for an ambulance and started getting ready to do CPR,” Carolyn said.

“I remember telling the operator I thought he had died.

“When you realise you could’ve lost him, it changes your outlook on life. Now we are just so happy to both be alive and enjoying life because we are still here together.”

Graham agrees, saying, “Ever since then, we’ve had a different approach to life. We recognise how lucky we are to be here together”.

The couple on their wedding day.

The couple have met in 1960 when both were aged just 16, after Graham joined Carolyn’s church.

Now aged 80, they have now moved into a South Australian retirement village – Levande Ridgehaven Rise – and say they spend their days focused on each other and their individual interests.

“We found it very comforting to move into the village and find so many friendly people. We’ve enjoyed it here very much and felt so welcome as soon as we moved in,” Graham said.

“The number of 80th birthday cards we’ve both recently received from all the people in the village has been so heart-warming.

“We enjoy the friends we’ve made and going to many different events, such as the social club, happy hour and Monday night ‘port and talk’ in the hall.”

When asked about her advice for a long and happy marriage, Carolyn said: “You have to know you’re not always going to get your own way.”

“If you want your own way all the time, that is where marriage can fall down. You have to pick your battles!” she said.

“Apart from loving each other, you need to be good friends and enjoy doing life together.

“Don’t take anything for granted and also have some independence in your lives.

“You can follow what you love to do and also do things together.

“I don’t ever have to worry about going out and leaving Graham behind because he has his interests, and I can follow mine.

“Our interests are different but he’s always there to support me. I couldn’t do it without him.”

When asked about his advice for a long and happy marriage, Graham said: “We share everything, it’s always been ‘ours’ not ‘mine’.”

“Be prepared to listen and compromise,” he said.

“You do get to a place where you know your place – allow the other person to do what they’re best at.

“Respect and let them make decisions where they’re the expert. But if you disagree, speak up.”

They have three children and three grandchildren.

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