This is Terry, My Valentine, on Mother's Day, 2008
Valentine's Day.......a day of love, romance, expressions of endearment .....a time to tell that someone special just how much you love and adore them, how you can't live without them, how you would swim the deepest oceans, climb the highest mountains, cross the darkest forests.........just to be at their side today and every day! Really??? How many of us have really put our love to that kind of test? I'd lie for you, I'd die for you, I'd do anything for love............or so the song says. But, have we ever really stopped to think about that? Sure, it sounds great, but is it true?
On our last Valentine's Day together, my very sick husband muted the T.V. (an accomplishment in itself since that only happened when something really important was about to be said), called my name to get my attention (no need, honey, you muted the T.V. for me!) and said very lovingly "Happy Valentine's Day. I love you" (then of course he promptly turned the volume back on!). I sat for several minutes watching him and thinking that, so many times in the past, I have taken those words for granted.
I always knew he loved me (well, on most days anyway!), and I always knew he'd be there for me..........at least I thought I did. Yet on that day, as I sat looking at him so tired and weak and knowing as he did that our days together were limited now, I saw him in a new light, I felt his love in a different way, I understood his commitment more completely than ever I had before.
When he proclaimed his love for me, his face was tired, his body was weak, but his eyes shone with the adoration only a lifetime of loving someone can create within a soul. It develops over years of loving and laughing and crying.....facing victories together with triumph and losses with courage.....years of knowing the absolute joy of contentment just to be in the presence of the one you love and years of facing disappointments and knowing it will be okay because that
person is there to face it with you.
When we were young and in love, I was so infatuated with him, so enamored of his looks and his laugh......his ability to stand firm without being cruel or overbearing. Everything he did was perfect as far as I could tell, even when he scattered his dirty clothes from one room to the other or left the toilet seat up or forgot to brag about the fine meal I had just made him.
Then, with time, I began to see little cracks in his armour of perfection, but it didn't lessen my opinion of him or make me love him less. Quite to the contrary, I loved him even more because he was human and there was real hope that he could really love me for the rest of my life.
When I wanted babies, he said no because he wasn't ready. Then, when the doctors told us we probably weren't going to be able to have babies, he cried so many nights begging me to forgive him for ever putting it off and begging God to let us have a baby. Unfortunately, that was never to be, but the fact that he was so obviously suffering over it made me know that he wanted it just as much as I did. So, together we made it. We survived childlessness because our souls were one.
When I suffered digestive ailments, he did not understand and was upset because I wasn't able to do or go as he wanted to. Then, when the doctors told us that my ailment was incurable and that some had died as a result of the complications, he cried and begged me to forgive him and begged God to heal me and let me live to be with him. We made it through all those years because our souls were in agreement.
When his accident occurred and he was hospitalized for 5 months and was permanently disabled, he was angry and disappointed. He cried and begged God to let him be "normal" again and to be able to go back to work to provide for our little family. Although that was not to be, he came to an acceptance of his new "normal" and our life was happy and fulfilled once again. We made it
through all of that because our souls sought the same thing, contentment and acceptance of our new lifestyle.
Now, he was facing the battle of his lifetime, the battle for his life. He was weak and tired, but still going to God for peace and understanding........no begging this time......just prayers for strength and courage. What he didn't already understand is that he was the most courageous person I had even known. He had more strength of character and more ability to persevere than I had ever seen in anyone else.
I got frustrated with him, yes. I got angry with him, certainly. But, we would make it through this battle because our souls sought the same thing, God's will for our life. I was yet to figure out how I was supposed to go on without him, but I knew I would because I knew he had already asked God to give me that. The adoration that glowed in his eyes has and always will mean that he puts me first when the chips are down. Sure, we've shared romance, giggles, passion, laughter, anger, disappointment..........the whole gamut of human emotions. All the good was better and all the bad was easier because we shared it all.
So, I've come to the conclusion that today I am thankful for love, REAL LOVE.......not just cute little hearts and flowers, sweet or sexy lingerie, or romance and passion, but that thing that lives in your soul that makes you one with another person. My heart is a muscle that pumps blood to my body, it's already diseased and someday it will die. My soul, however, is an eternally living entity that cannot die and cannot know the ravages of the flesh.
That's what our love is, separate from the ravages of the flesh and never-ending. What an awesome and precious gift God had given us to nurture till death and beyond! And so, now that my love is with the Lord, I sit alone and lonely, yet knowing I have been so much beyond blessed to have known the love of this wonderful man. Although he is no longer with me physically, he will never leave me for he is a part of my soul, my innermost being. As long as I am, he will be with me.
Happy Valentine's Day in heaven Terry! You know more now about love than I can even comprehend, yet in my soul I know we have already had that, yet could not fully appreciate it. I know that now you comprehend and appreciate it and are waiting there for me.
"If you get there before I do, don't give up on me. I'll be there when my chores are through, I don't know how long I'll be. I'm not gonna let you down, darlin wait and see. But, between now and then, till I see you again, I'll be lovin you......Love, Me."
Left: Terry & Di, June 14, 1975 and Right: Terry & Di, March, 1997