Imagine yourself lying sick, broken, weak and powerless. Who cares for you when money won’t fix it, sex is not possible and good looks are useless or gone? Who sits faithfully by your side?
This is one of the defining questions we ask in our book Loving In the Grown Zone: A No-Nonsense Guide to Healthy Decisions in the Quest for Loving, Romantic Relationships of Honor, Esteem and Respect, in order to help people to differentiate between authentic, healthy, resilient love, and fleeting infatuation, sexual attraction and other things that may accompany love, but are not love itself. Our point: Having a mate who can afford to provide the lifestyle of your dreams, satisfy your desire for material things or fulfill you erotic fantasies is of little to no value when facing the true meaning of loving “in sickness or in health… till death do us part.” This is why we so strongly advise that you not be impressed by the desire to lay with you, or the willingness to pay for you, but the commitment to stand with you.
For a powerful, real and moving example of this kind of commitment, read Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s by B. Smith and Dan Gasby, with Michael Shnayerson. The couple’s impassioned call to action against the scourge of Alzheimer’s is also a sterling example of resilient, Grown love in the face of adversity and insurmountable odds.
Before I Forget follows the journey of Barbara “B.” Smith’s battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s (the type that afflicts those younger than 65), while chronicling its impact on business, family and their love and marriage. Smith is internationally known as one of the first black high-fashion models, and later, the star of a cooking and lifestyle empire, including three namesake restaurants, a magazine, a nationally syndicated television show, books and bedding and other licensed products sold at Bed, Bath and Beyond outlets. Gasby, a media sales and television producer, has been the driving force behind the B. Smith brand, fiercely and loyally managing the business and negotiating the deals that made her a household name. Together, the married couple of more than 22 years (a second marriage for both) were all but unstoppable partners in business, love and life—until Smith became one of the more than 5 million Americans ambushed by Alzheimer’s disease, for which there is precious little in the way of treatment and no cure.