|This picture was actually taken about a year after we met.|
We got up at our usual time, around 7 a.m. Momma cooked breakfast, we ate and started our day's chores. Momma, my sisters and I cleaned the house, did the laundry and ironing. Daddy plowed the garden and tended to the farm animals. My sisters and I worked together and got the grass mowed. Everyone showered and we were off to do the grocery shopping.
This was typically the night we had supper at the little local drive-up cafe; they made the BEST burgers! For some reason, Momma didn't want to eat out so we purchased our groceries and went home. Also a bit unusual was the fact that we had no other errands to run. Knowing we would be getting home early, I was planning to shampoo my hair. It was before the time of blow dryers (well, I didn't have one, at any rate!) and drying my hair took several hours.
We got home and Momma started to prepare supper. Around 5 p.m., the telephone rang and I answered. A male voice came from the other end, one I did not recognize. He asked "May I speak to Diane, please?" I answered "This is Diane." He proceeded to say that he was Terry Chandler and that he was a friend of one of my friends (he mentioned her name), that she was dating one of his friends and had suggested that he call me. He went on to ask if I would like to go out with him THAT NIGHT!
I told him I'd have to ask my parents and that he should call back in about 15 minutes. I asked Momma and she said "Ask Daddy". Well, Daddy was out walking the pasture and I had no idea where to find him! I ran out to the pasture and, what luck, he was right there within eyesight! Just any ordinary Saturday. I told Daddy what was going on and told him Momma had said to ask him. He said it was ok with him if it was ok with her.
I ran back and told Momma what Daddy said. She asked 1000 questions and I told her what I knew, which was very little. She finally said "Well, if your friend knows him, then he must be ok. Tell him you can go if you want to go"! Now, the REAL problem presented itself....my hair! I had showered before the drive to do the grocery shopping, but I hadn't washed my hair. Now, I was going to be meeting a new guy and with dirty hair!
The phone rang and Momma answered...she said I shouldn't look so eager! Aren't Mommas ALWAYS right?! Terry went through the whole thing with her and asked her if I wanted to go, she said that I did. He then asked her if she and Daddy were ok with that. She said they were. He then asked to speak to me. He told me he could be there in 30 minutes to pick me up, would that be ok? I asked for an hour and he said that would be good and that our friends would be with him. Any ordinary Saturday? Hmmmm, not quite!
I tried on everything I owned looking for the perfect outfit; I put my hair in every conceivable style trying to make it look presentable. I ended up just tossing it on my head and saying well, if he doesn't like it, he doesn't like it! Time was nearing for his arrival and I was more nervous than I had ever been in my life!
About 5 minutes before he was scheduled to arrive, we saw a car pull into our drive. Momma sent me to the back of the house. I heard the doorbell and heard Momma answer the door. There was some talking and then she called me to the living room. Terry was standing just inside our front door, he looked a bit nervous too! Thank the Lord! Momma introduced me to him, our eyes met and I knew I had just looked into the eyes of the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
His eyes were kind and caring, his face was gentle and his manner was quiet and respectful. There was pain in his eyes, pain that had been there long enough to become comfortable in. I knew instinctively that I could trust this man and that he would protect me. Any ordinary Saturday at our house had just become the most important Saturday of my life.
That was 38 years ago on this date. Standing in our living room on that day, I knew I would love Terry and that he would love me and that it would last forever. I would like to say that I had been a spiritual person and had prayed earnestly for the Lord to send the right man to me, but it would be a lie. I had become a Christian at the age of 11 and I tried to live pleasing to the Lord, but just hadn't learned that God had a plan for my life and that I should be praying about being in his will and His plan. I honestly don't think I had ever prayed one prayer regarding that issue. I was 15 and not at all thinking about marriage. But God.....
God had a plan for me and for Terry and He knew those plans intersected at that moment in time and that He was placing us together to bring us into His plan. I am so thankful the Lord placed Terry in my life. Loving someone for 38 years is but a splinter in time when compared to eternity....our love now lives in eternity. Terry always signed any card, note or letter written to me with "I Love You, Forever and Always". Indeed he has.
For so long after he went home, I couldn't remember a lot about the last days of his life. I could remember what happened, but not what he said. It hurt me because I wanted so badly to remember, it just would not come to me. Then, just a few weeks ago, I began to remember things he had said to me during those last weeks of his life...specific things.
Just before he became unconscious, he called me to his bedside. He had been doing that, but wouldn't say anything after I got to his bedside. I would check to make sure he didn't need anything and be sure he was comfortable and then I would just sit with him until he would dose off to sleep again. That last time he called me, he simply called out "Di" and I went to him. He looked up at me and seemed to want to say something but couldn't quite get it out.
I did my best to comfort him, but he would not be comforted. After several minutes, he squeezed my hand and whispered "forever and always". Tears began to pour across my face. I kissed him and said "I know, you love me forever and always. And, I love you, forever and always." He never uttered another syllable after that, nor did he ever open his eyes again. That was on Saturday before he went home in the early hours of Monday morning. It was not any ordinary Saturday; it was the most precious and extraordinary Saturday of my life since May 12, 1973.
Every time I remember it, I cry with thankfulness to the Lord for helping me to remember it and for the love He blessed me with for all those years. Terry was not a perfect man, he had many faults. However, he loved the Lord and he loved me, so much so that he would have gladly given his life for the Lord or for me. I am so thankful God always knows what we need and gives us the desires of our heart, even before we know what they are.
Terry, I love you, forever and always, and I will see you again in heaven.
Commit your way to the LORD,