Saturday, May 29, 2010


The painters are not coming during this long, holiday weekend, so I decided it was time to face the two back bedrooms where all the "stuff" is  still under tarps.  I have tried to justify the fact that I have not culled through the piles in those closets in the 10 months since I lost D. But I will now have to confess  to myself that it was just easier to avoid those final spaces. Last fall when the pain of loss left me raw and brittle, sorting through just one box could take an entire day. I wasn't ready to dispose of anything that had D's handwriting on it. I wasn't able to examine things without working up to the Ugly Cry every time.

Today? Well it was very different for two reasons:

1. Looking through some of D's things made me happy. Very happy.

2. I actually was a little mad at him because one closet was stuffed with his college textbooks. Like this elementary teacher could use 40 year-old copies of "Plane Trigonometry With Tables", "Engineering Thermodynamics With Applications", or "Basic Electric Circuit Analysis". (If you should need dated information on these subjects, let me know and I can fix you right up.)

During today's archaeological dig, I found a letter from D dated Valentine's Day 2003. It was the week before his first cancer operation, where they removed a tumor that wrapped around his entire femur. We had agreed to write each other letters...just in case. 

I've shared enough of the Sad with you over the last ten months. Will you allow me to share The Happy found in his letter to me? 

"As I sit down to write this note, I have many things running through my mind. Being diagnosed with cancer has certainly put a new priority in my life. I suspect there will be many changes due to this, however, one thing that will never change is my love for you. It is one thing that you can depend on for as long as I live. I know that I can depend on your love, too. For that I thank you.

"Ever since the  first time I met you, I knew you were special and that God sent you to me. It took you a while to see that same vision, but you eventually did in a big married me. Thank you. You have been my soul mate and best friend since the beginning and my love for you continues to grow each and every day. To have you as my life partner is an answered prayer that I would put in the category of miraculous. You fill my voids with positive loving support, encouragement, and prayers. We understand each other without speaking, we feel the same hurts, we celebrate the same joys, and we wish for the same future. We are one.

"Thank you for challenging widens the path upon which we walk. Thank you for talking when I don't. Thank you for supporting me in all my endeavors, no matter how crazy they may seem. Thank you for wanting to be with me even when it is is not very exciting. Finally, thank you for loving God.

"This Valentine's Day is different from all the previous ones in that I feel more loved than I have ever felt before. I also feel more love for you than I have ever felt for anyone, ever. It is this love that will sustain us through the trials that we will see in the future. It is this love that will provide the beautiful future that we dream of, and it is this love that God will continue to grow in us as the years go by. You are the only person that could fulfill my dreams and show me what love truly bring me joy.

"With all my love, D."

The final boxes (and textbooks) are heading to Goodwill, but I am reminded over and over that it is not the "things" that defined my marriage to D. It was our hearts.

"Three things remain: faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love. " I Corinthians 13:13


Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

It is amazing how our lives seem to be running on parallel courses right now--even right down to the old college textbooks. I was very much like you in the first months. I couldn't even throw away a receipt where Vann had purchased something from Lowe's. Everything that he had ever touched seemed special and sacred. Thank God we seem to have finally reached a place where we can get on with our lives, keeping the memory of our dear husbands safe in our hearts instead of in things.

Susan Ramey Cleveland said...

BTW, that is my very favorite verse from the Bible. In fact, that entire chapter is dear to my heart.

Lynn said...

What a treasure to have that letter! It is a testimony of your love for each other.

melanieb said...

That is the best, best verse. :) And yes- I expect to see you ladies over this July for a fun day in San Antonio. Happy beginning of summer to you!