Friends describe love's endurance after alcoholic husband's death
Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall - and George H.W. Bush’s “thousand points of light” speech - two young American women became close friends while serving in the Peace Corps in Hungary. Lisa Jurkovic and Sophia Forero were assigned to the same village for their two year stints. And during their stay, Lisa met another Peace Corps volunteer named Nick. Recently, Lisa stopped by the StoryCorps booth to talk with Sophia about the impact Nick had on both of their lives.
“Didn’t you meet him playing volleyball?” Sophia asks. “Do you remember looking at him and thinking he was kind of cute?”
“Black hair, fabulous green eyes,” Lisa says. “He was absolutely the life of the party. He was the one who wanted to go out for pizza afterwards. He was the one who gathered everybody together. If somebody felt bad, he made that person feel better. I liked how honest he was, and open, and friendly. He always made sure that I was happy.”
Lisa and Nick spent every weekend together, travelling by train, to meet one another.
“When did you realize this person was someone who was going to be special to you?” Sophia asks. “Two months in,” Lisa says.
“Was there anything in Nick’s behavior that made you think that the road with Nick might be difficult?”
“Nick had a very hard time enjoying anything without drinking.”
“When you married him, did you ever imagine that ten years into your marriage he would become more withdrawn or as withdrawn as he became?”
“I don’t believe that anyone sets out in a marriage predicting anything like that. I’m 46 now. It’s easy to look back. And at 24 the heart wants what the heart wants.”
“That’s really true, isn’t it?” Sophia sighs. “For the last three years of his life, he was slowly just drinking himself to death.”
“It became impossible for him to be in the house,” Lisa says. “He refused to seek help for eight years. And he was a liability. He was wrecking cars and it couldn’t go on.”
Sophia says, “And you basically made the decision in order to make sure that your children…”
“…were safe,” Lisa finishes.
“Do you ever really think about how much courage that took? Are you able to process that?,” Sophia asked.
“It had to happen,” Lisa responded.
“I know, but do you realize how important it was for your children? He drove me crazy like a brother, but there’s a part of me that really loved him,” Sophia recalled, “And there’s a part of me…I just wanted to shake him and say: Just do this! Why can’t you do this?”
“Because his pride would not allow it,” Lisa says.
“You know that you loved him very much,” Sophia says. “You know that.”
“I still do,” Lisa says.