Today I am blessed to celebrate nine years of marriage to my wonderful, handsome, God-fearing, supportive, talented husband Doug. So this is for you, honey. I love you with all of my heart, “forever, and ever and always…”
I knew on our very first date that I was going to marry you. You were so “together.” So chivalrous. So intelligent, and funny. So interesting. So mature. So UN-like any other guy I had ever dated. You were a Christian, most importantly of all, and you had a great job and your own home. You knew what you wanted out of life, and weren’t afraid to get it. It seems like so long ago, and at the same time, it seems like yesterday.
I remember coming home from Chicago that weekend with the stuffed blue fish. I remember you later telling me that’s when YOU knew you were going to marry ME. Thank God for stuffed blue fish!
It’s been a journey, hasn’t it? Making the mutual decision that I needed to quit my job because of my health. Going into the hospital 6 weeks after we eloped for a simple MRI and ending up on a helicopter to U of M and not coming out for over a month. Going back to Ann Arbor less than 10 days later, half dead. I was so upset that I wasn’t going to be able to have our big church wedding that coming February like we had planned.
When the doctors told us that I had one of two diseases, neither of which were curable, one of which was degenerative and terminal…I have to be honest with you. I think 80% of men who had been married for the 13 weeks we had been would have cut and run. You certainly didn’t sign up for taking care of an invalid at the ripe old age of 29. You didn’t know I would be disabled, probably for the rest of my life. You didn’t even know at that point if I was going to live. And yet, you just stood by my side, holding my hand, and making me love you more and more every second.
You slept on the couch for six months while I was in the hospital bed in the living room…waking up several times a night to take care of me…to suction my trach, reset my breathing machine. My heart is so full right now I can hardly breathe. You are one of a kind, honey, and I pray I never take that for granted.
The day of our big church wedding one day before our first wedding anniversary was the happiest day of my life. I know we were already married, but I had been so looking forward to the big to-do. The big dress, the flowers, you at the end of that aisle, the big party…the huge celebration of LIFE.
You are the biggest answer to prayer that I have ever seen in my life. Without either of us knowing, God was preparing you for every skill you would need to be my husband… and then some! From decorating my trach band for the wedding so it would match my dress, to rigging up my tube feeding with a fishing pole, to fixing my suction machine with an earring wire in the middle of the night! You are McGuyver and Daniel Boone all rolled into one. Truly my knight in shining armor.
So much has happened since then. Ups and downs, ins and outs. Not knowing from one minute to the next how my health would affect any situation we encountered. You handled it like a champ. You still do. You’re my rock. You keep me sane. You help me hang on to hope when I just don’t want to take another step.
Thank you for putting up with my disease. Thank you for recognizing I am not JUST a disease. Thank you for being a wonderful husband and father. Thank you for loving me just as I am.
I love you so much. I love you more every day, every month, every year that goes by. You are my best friend, and I can’t wait to spend every day of the rest of my life loving you.
Sonnet 116 William Shakespeare
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixèd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.