Mailis | Aged 90
Beckenham | November 2015

Originally from Finland, Mailis moved to London in her 20s, intending originally to stay for one year to learn English and work as a nurse. Her plans changed, however, when she was visiting the coast where she met her first husband, Ronald, in 1951. Her limited English language skills didn’t deter him and for nearly a year he wrote endless missives of love before proposing marriage in 1952. Mailis accepted, knowing he would be able to provide a good life in England for them. Her fond memories of their white wedding and romantic meeting are tempered with recollections of his extreme jealousy. Despite the regrets, Mailis found happiness in raising her children and, finally, after 26 years, when her final daughter flew the nest, so did she.

Mailis began a new life, finally meeting her first true love, Grahame who, at 70, was 15 years her senior. It was the early 1980s and, now aged 55, Mailis explains how she fell in love for the very first time! Concerned that a second marriage would end in unhappiness, Mailis was apprehensive about marrying again. Fortunately Grahame didn’t share her worries and simply continued to propose until Mailis agreed! They were blissfully happy for 20 years, enjoying life together says Mailis, almost as if they were one person, crucially without a hint of the jealousy that blighted her first marriage. To Mailis, the two marriages felt so different, almost like night and day. Perhaps most surprisingly, despite experiencing love so late in life, Mailis said their love went completely unspoken. Incredibly, although so happy together, they never said “I love you”. It wasn’t until when finally Grahame lay on his death bed in 1999 that Mailis recalls her parting words to her late husband, “I love you, please don’t go”.

Despite their differences, Mailis and her first husband remained friendly right until he passed away in 2014. She believes he couldn’t help his jealousy and considers it almost like an illness, which ruins families and relationships.

To find out more about Mailis and hear her parting words to Grahame watch the video below: