A few good men (and women)
April 24, 2013 10:52 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for stories, personal and otherwise, about men and women showing extraordinary devotion, faithfulness, honesty, and integrity in relationships.

About a week ago, I listened to a story by the late comedian Mike DeStefano about how he took care of his wife while she was dying of AIDS. The top-to-bottom love he expressed for her in it just destroyed me. I was bawling. It made me feel good and optimistic about relationships in a way that I hadn't felt in years.

In light of recent depressing news about philandering alt rock gods, I'm looking for more stories like this. Stories where people are the best version of themselves in their relationships, rather than the worst.
posted by sockomatic to Human Relations (16 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
I can't tell if you're interested in fiction, much less science fiction, but you're coincidentally describing a core attraction of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's Clan Korval stories in their Liaden Universe. We're talking tears of joy territory in appreciation of the characters' utter devotion to each other, and they achieve that so consistently you have to hope the married co-authors are drawing on lots of personal experience.

But another work of fiction much closer to your example is the almost clinically realist tear-jerker Us by Michael Kimball.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 11:23 PM on April 24, 2013

I'm more interested in non-fiction stories, but I'll happily accept sci-fi and fiction.
posted by sockomatic at 11:28 PM on April 24, 2013

I think the end of Before I Say Goodbye, which was written by Ruth Picardie's husband and sister after she stopped being able to write and then died, may have what you're looking for. Perhaps also the entirety of Borrowed Time, which is a wonderful non-fiction love story.

FWIW while Mike DeStefano's story is heartfelt, I don't think it's extraordinary. I think it's a love story the kind of which is played out every day, commonly but privately. Certainly these three stories are ones I have seen play out in my own circle of friends and family, with deaths from cancer and Alzheimer's and AIDS, and I don't think we're a group of extraordinary humans.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:45 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

The story of Edie Windsor & Thea Spyer. A Very Long Engagement is amazing.
posted by knile at 12:05 AM on April 25, 2013

The People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 12:06 AM on April 25, 2013

Michael Haneke's Amour. While his films generally do not increase one's faith in humanity, they are very good.
posted by tavegyl at 12:14 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

One of, if not my all time favorite, stories of devotion comes from Robert Fulghum in All I Really Needed to Know I Learned In Kindergarten. It's the story of Charles Boyer.
posted by FlamingBore at 12:38 AM on April 25, 2013

It's not really dramatic or anything and thankfully does not involve incurable illness, but my parents have been together since they were in high school. They started dating around 15 or so, married at 19 and now at 69/70 are still together. Us kids skyped with them for their 50th wedding anniversary and Dad said it just gets better and better. I get kind of a lump in the throat when I think about it, and am very proud of them.
posted by Athanassiel at 1:13 AM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

John Bayley's memoir of his wife, the writer Iris Murdoch is exactly this. He writes about how he met her and fell in love with her, their life together over decades and then the long years looking after her when this formerly whipsmart independent woman suffered from Alzheimers. A brave smart man and a beautiful book.
posted by stevedawg at 1:26 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Isabel Allende's Paula is a memoir written by Allende for her dying daughter. It sounds a bit like stevedawg's suggestion, except the story is not about Paula herself but about her family. I haven't read this one of hers yet (she wrote The House of The Spirits, which I did read) but the reviews on Amazon might help you see if it's what you need.
posted by ipsative at 5:38 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, for fiction: atm I'm reading George Saunder's Tenth of December and it's awesome - rather explicity, each story is about an individual acting with extraordinary integrity in very strange situations!
posted by ipsative at 5:43 AM on April 25, 2013

John Perry Barlow tells a great personal on This American Life. I won't say any more than that because I don't want to give anything away. It's in Act III. You can listen here or read the transcript here. (I recommend listening if you can, because Barlow's a good storyteller not to mention Ira Glass.)
posted by alms at 6:31 AM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

The most amazing such story I have ever read was about Lewis Puller's wife, Linda Puller, after he was very badly wounded in Vietnam. It is recounted in his autobiography "Fortunate Son".
posted by procrastination at 7:02 AM on April 25, 2013

Roger Loves Chaz
posted by MsMolly at 7:47 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]

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