Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Beautiful Dream~~~A Beautiful Life

Early Tuesday morning, I had the most beautiful dream.

I dreamed of my dear Terry. He was so virile and strong, walking straight, laughing, joking, talking............the Terry I remember BEFORE the illness took over. It was WONDERFUL! How uplifting to see him once again able to stand up and walk across the floor; no brace, cane or walker needed. He talked with a clear mind and a strong voice. His hands were strong and steady, just as they had been that first time he took my hand in his own so many, many years ago; no more shaking and dropping things. He laughed heartily with gusto, eyes twinkling with that glint of devilment that I had seen so many times before.

THIS was Terry, MY Terry....the Terry I fell in love with and shared a life with. THIS was the man who had bowled me over at the first look. He was confident and handsome, clearly a catch by any standards! His hands were large, yet his touch was so tender and gentle. His eyes revealed a heart of gold that had been refined by the fires of life, even at his young age. It would take me years to learn just how much refining that gentle heart had seen. He had the rough edges girls like in their men. No man is fit for a husband unless he needs your special touch! Even at the tender age of 15, I knew he was THE ONE, the one I would spend my life with.

That first meeting was on May 12, 1973. He called and asked me out on a blind date. We had a mutual friend who had suggested he call me. I was SHOCKED when my parents agreed for me to go! This couldn't possibly be MY parents who had just said yes to a blind date?! We had a wonderful time together. We laughed, we talked; he ate and I watched! The night flew by and it was time to go home much sooner than either of us wanted. He walked me to my door and kissed me gently on my cheek. He asked if he could call me again. I nearly burst in order to keep from shouting from the rooftop "YES"!!!

On July 27, 1973, he asked me to 'go steady' and wear his ring. (Yes, I am old and we did still 'go steady' back in the good old days!) Of course, I said yes and was happier that I had dared dream I could be. The days, weeks and months passed blissfully for me. I could not have been happier. I was so young, yet I knew beyond doubt that Terry and I were meant to be together for life. I loved him and I knew he loved me. We did casual things together and found unbelievable happiness in each other's presence. Although it has been a few years since he had attended church, he began to come with me to church every weekend.

On a particular Saturday evening in May, 1974, we were to attend a church function together. I had not heard from Terry all day and that was very unusual. It had been months since we had been apart on a Saturday unless he had to work that day. I knew he wasn't working on this particular Saturday. We were due to leave my house for the church function at 6:45 p.m. At 6:40, Terry came screeching into our driveway as though he were a bat out of hell! He jumped out of the car and ran up to my door. He apologized profusely for almost being late and said he would explain after church.

That evening was so totally miserable for me. I could not for the life of me guess why he had been so late, and even more, why he had not called all day. All the worst scenarios played through my mind as we sat at church. By the time we headed home, I was about ready to have a panic attack! We drove home all but silently......still no explanation for the day's events. When we got back to my house, he parked the car and we walked in. He joked and kidded around with my family for a while and then said he had to go back to his car for something he had forgotten.

It was Saturday evening, May 4, 1974, about 8:30 p.m. I was standing in Mommas kitchen helping her get some snacks together so we could watch T.V. Terry walked into the room with this strange look on his face, yet with a bright smile. He walked up to me, took my hand, dropped to one knee and pulled out a box from his pocket. He opened the box, revealing a beautiful diamond engagement ring with a lovely gold wedding band! I started to cry and so did Momma!

He pulled the engagement ring from the box, held both my hands in his, looked up at me with tears streaming down his face and said "I never knew what love was until the day I met you. You have given me more happiness in this year since we've met than I had known in all the years before. I love you with all my being and never want to be without you in my life ever again. I don't have a lot to offer you, but I give you my heart and devotion for all eternity if you will agree to be my wife. I adore you Di. Will you marry me?" ( I can still recite it word for word because I seared it into my brain as he spoke the words and then wrote them down as soon as I had the chance! I NEVER want to forget those words.)

I dropped to my knees in front of him and fell into his arms bawling almost uncontrollably and repeating "YES!" "YES!" "YES!" over and over again. I was crying, Momma was crying, Terry was crying, Daddy was crying and my sisters were crying and laughing and jumping up and down squealing! Terry slid the ring on my finger and it never left my hand until years later when I had surgery. At that moment in time, I thought I could never be happier. Terry made sure I was wrong.

We spent the next year planning our wedding and my high school graduation. We were ecstatically happy and couldn't wait to be married and begin our life together. The year was gone in a flash and our wedding day arrived. We repeated our vows before a full house of family and friends on the evening of June 14, 1975 at Brints Chapel Baptist Church, only 3 miles from the farm where I had grown up. As I stood at the altar with Terry and the minister spoke the vows... for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others until death you do part...I looked up and Terry and thought "do I really love this man enough to stay with him until I die?" The doubt lasted a fleeting second and I said "I do".

When I stood at that altar and repeated those vows, I only thought I loved Terry. It was such a young and innocent love, not yet tried by the fires of life. As the years passed, those fires sometimes burned more fiercely than we thought we could survive. We kept our faith in the Lord and dedicated ourselves to making our love grow. We committed ourselves to settling our differences by the end of each day, never going to sleep with anger or bitterness unresolved between us. We kept that promise to each other and to our Lord. In over 33 years together, we never went to sleep angry or bitter or with unresolved issues between us.

So many times over the years, our love was tried. We faced each trial with a knowledge that our faith would sustain us. Although we strayed from our commitment to the Lord in our early years together, we never strayed so far away as to forget who God was and how much we needed Him. Coming home to our Lord after our sojourn in the far country only served to strengthen the bond of our love for each other. The years passed, the trials came, the storms blew in our lives just as they do in every marriage. We never gave up on our Lord and He never gave up on us. I never gave up on Terry and he never gave up on me.

When the final storm came, I knew without doubt that indeed, I loved this man and I could and would be by his side till death parted us. The journey was not an easy one, nor for the faint of heart. The days and nights were long and lonely. The hours sometimes seemed to last for days and yet many of the hours seemed to be only seconds in passing. Each minute is a treasure I will hold in my heart till eternity passes. One of the greatest blessings of my life was to have shared those last months with Terry. To be there when he was no longer strong or able to care for even his most basic needs was an opportunity to love him in a selfless manner. To give without expecting anything in return, yet to receive more in return than I could have ever possibly given.

As in much of our life together, the final days were spent mostly alone, just the two of us. We talked, we laughed, we cried. We remembered those precious days gone by. Then, when the end was growing ever nearer, our family came in and helped to carry us through that last dark valley together. As he breathed his last breath, I stroked his face and his hands and whispered reassurances of my unending love for him and encouraged him to reach out to Jesus, who was waiting to take his hand and lead him to his heavenly home. I slipped the oxygen cannula from his nose, kissed his warm lips one last time and stroked his face as he struggled to take that last earthly breath.

A fleeting second in time separated his earthly existence and his heavenly entrance. Incredible, assuring, calm peace immediately flooded his room as his soul slipped from the bonds of his earthly body into his immortal home. Just as He had been for all of our years together, the Lord Jesus was there with us and for us and carried our love through that last opened doorway into immortality. I raised my hands and praised Jesus for taking Terry home with Him. His struggles were finally over and he was at rest and at peace.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Psalm 116:15


Raggedy Girl said...

I am crying. A beautiful post.
Roberta Anne

Joy's Pam said...

Me Too! I love how the Lord gave you this dream, seeing Terry restored, what a blessing! Thank-you for sharing your story Diane! Lord Bless you!!!

Love, Pamela

Karen said...

Thank you so much for sharing such a personal thing with all of us. I truly hope that my marriage can be half of what you and Terry had. You are an inspiration to me and so many others. I love you and thankful God brought you in my life through the internet!

bj said...

wELL, sweet Di, I am squalling so hard I can barely see to type this note to you. I am so glad you posted this as I can just FEEL the relief it has given to you..just to say it all.
The gift of seeing Terry well again,in your dream, of course, was straight from GOD, to help you know Terry is well and happy in his Heavenly home.
I love your sweet spirit, your courage and your sense of humor...I love you!I was so thrilled to see that you had been to visit me today and I hope you will come back every chance you get....

The Eppers said...

Oh Aunt Di, I am just crying! I love when you share stories of the past because it is part of my heritage. In the past week I know have heard, "Well hey Blonde Bombshell" at least a dozen times. My heart really does break for you because I cannot fathom the emptiness that you feel. I hope sharing these stories it therapeutic for you, because I know they are for me. I love you! Can't wait til you come to visit!