40 Years Today

May 15, 2022

Dear Larry:

It was 40 years ago today at 12:00 noon when our lives changed forever.  We were married in a very private yet elegant church service with only 18 people to witness us pledge our lives to each other.  When I woke up this morning, my first thought was about us and that day and that on this day I have to do what would have been our 40th wedding without you.

Our dear friend asked me this morning if I would share some of the great things that we had so he could still believe that real love does exist.  This simple yet compassionate request brought our years together flooding into my heart and soul.  Memories accompanied by tears and longings.

Every time you passed me, you made a point of touching me.  I soft touch on my head or shoulder, squeeze on my arm, stroke to my cheek.  This was an action of trusting intimacy that we always shared.  Don’t forget that I am here.  I never forget that you are.

When we were alone together, you gathered me in your arms and softly kissed my forehead.  It was warm and protective and left me with the security that your arms were always around me and that my world was insulated by your devotion to me.

You had an instinctive way of standing back and letting me do me.  It was an unspoken empowerment as well as a statement of your respect for me in the arena of our business.  However, you were always close enough to catch me before I fell and never shamed me for mistakes and misjudgments I may have made. 

You hated obligatory holidays.  Rarely did you give me any gift or card on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.  Your reaction was, “She is not my mother” and the day would pass.  We even stopped exchanging anniversary, birthday, and Christmas gifts.  We opted for experiences together.  Most of our anniversaries were spent on the beach in Jamaica…..just you and me….with no other distractions.  But you never stopped showing me in very unexpected ways that you cherished me.  Roses would appear on my office desk for no reason.  I would find a little box with a beautiful piece of jewelry on my pillow.  You would have me open the glove box in the car to get your sunglasses and there would be airline tickets for our next adventure together.  Not obligatory.  Voluntary.  Voluntary is so much better! 

You set a silent standard in your life.  There were things you would not tolerate around you or us.  Lying.  Stealing.  Dishonest practices.  Disloyalty.   Cowardice.  You felt no need to lecture others on their behavior.  You lived by this code and had no problem eliminating the people who could not live by your standards from your life….and our lives.  This was such a lesson for me.  I want to fix it. I want to heal it.  I want there to be a final chapter before I close the book and walk away.  You didn’t.  None of that mattered to you.  I think your way is much less painful.

It was evident to anyone who encountered us that we were a solid team.   You always had my back…..even when I was wrong.  I was aware that you were the solid and unshakable foundation of our relationship.  You were our strength.  You were steadfast.  You were dependable.  You released me to fly on my own yet held the rope to be able to pull me back in.  I feel ungrounded now knowing that I must maneuver this world without the safety of you pulling me to the safety of you. 

You have been gone now for 4 years.  I don’t think that there is any way to “get used to it”.  I think I have just become numb.  There is no way of missing the hole left behind by your huge presence in this world.  I am so proud and humbled by seeing the lives that you touched and profoundly changed.  Some appreciated it and some have yet to discover the reality of the opportunity they neglected to seize.  Know, my love, that the person whose life was changed most profoundly by your presence, was me.  I am forever a much better person because of you.  My life was enriched during the 35 years that I had the honor of being your wife.

Today, I know that I cannot control the tears and will honestly make no effort to.  This is our special day, and we will celebrate.  On these days, I make myself shift to a mood of gratitude.  I am acutely aware of the rare gift that we shared together in our married life.  Few couples get to experience the rare and intimate relationship that we had, and I am thankful to our God for giving that to us.  Being human, however, I crave more and miss your touch, your kiss on my forehead and your presence every moment of every day.

You are not physically here, but I feel your arms protecting me.  Happy 40th anniversary, my love.

Your wife,

P