Frances Cochran made my dad's life joyful for his last eight years. That was reason enough to love her, but I also loved her as my friend. She was a very special lady. (Picture is from my dad's 85th birthday party.)
My mom and dad's marriage was as close as you can get to an arranged marriage without really being one, and both my parents related the story of how my dad was 35 years old and hadn't married yet, and how, when he met my mother through a family friend, my grandmother thought she would be a good daughter-in-law. So she bought an engagement ring and told my father to give it to her. He did. Even though he wasn't in love with her. He grew to love my mom, he always told me when he related the story, but their marriage had many rough spots. Still, my father was a man of honor. He made a commitment and he kept it for 48 years.
After my mother died my dad was lucky enough to meet Frances who turned out to be the love of his life. She made him feel young again. And I love that my father's commitment to my mom was rewarded with a new and amazing relationship with this wonderful woman.
When my father fell in love with Frances, around 1992, he was like a kid; he was head over heals. He couldn't stop talking about her, bubbling over with happiness, proving that love can happen at any age. He was 82 at the time.
One day, after Dad and Frances had been together a little while he said to me, "Let me ask you a question. Did you ever shower with either of your husbands?"
I stared at him. I said, "Let me stop you here, Dad. I'm glad you're having fun but that's just a little too much information for me." All I needed was an image in my head of my 80-something father romping in the shower with his 70-something girlfriend.
My dad and Frances were together about eight years, lived together for about seven, and I never saw them fight, never heard a harsh word between them, never heard them complain publicly or privately about each other. They were utterly compatible and content. My father was never happier than he was when he was with Frances. She was everything he ever wanted or needed.
After my father died in 2000 Frances was still part of my life. I called her weekly and visited two or three times a year. For the last five years my Bill made the trip with me and, happily, they liked each other very much. It always brought a smile to my face to see them together.
For the last ten years Frances went through a lot physically, but she was a trooper. She didn't complain, she never had a "poor me" attitude, she coped with what she was dealt. She was an inspiration. She was a lovely lady and a blessing to all who knew her. I love her, and will miss her very much.