NEWINGTON, CONNECTICUT - 02/20/2018: My grandmother, Maria Durao, stands in the doorway of her home in Newington, Connecticut.
She and my grandfather, Ramiro Durao, have lived in the quiet suburban home since 1980 after immigrating to Hartford, Connecticut, and raising their children. The home was built the same year they married, in 1959.
Even in his deteriorating health, my grandmother refuses to move her husband to an assisted living center and plans to care for him in this home until she is no longer able to. Most neighbors know them and occasionally check in.
Recently, I learned that my grandparents' marriage had many flaws and my grandfather was not the perfect husband I always thought he was. This revelation about their unpassionate and imperfect marriage has led me to see my grandmother's caretaking and sacrifice in a different light. She continues to care for a husband who did not appreciate her and while his memory fades from dementia, she has to live with the pain he once caused her and she does it with a sense of strength, purpose, and commitment.