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'I Was a Moron . . . and Yet You Stayed'

Our columnist continues his "If I Died Today" letters.

These past few weeks have been stressful for me and our family as a whole.  I won’t get into the why but what I can say is that if it were not for my wife, I’m not sure that I could have handled it. Her demeanor in the midst of our little storm has given me pause to reflect on her character and her meaning in my life. And I would be remiss if I did not include her in my “If I died today” letters. So honeybunny, this one’s for you.

My Dearest Tori,

For you sweetie, there is only one thing I want you to know if I died today.

I Love You

From that moment on Grandpa Harold’s front porch on February 15, 1998 when our lips first touched I knew that you were to be the love of my life. I loved you from the very start.

I remember the first moment I saw you. Sitting on the couch in my dorm lounge; cut off shorts, t-shirt, hair pulled up in a ponytail. I thought, “Wow, she’s really cute.” But it would be another 2 years before we started dating.

I watched you date another and how well he treated you. During that time I struggled in my own relationships. But those hurtful relationships only served to make me appreciate you all the more! When we began talking out of mutual heartache my heart reacted to you like no other.

Those long phone talks that lasted all night . . . I’ll never forget how I longed to reach through the phone and hold you. I so wanted to protect you, to just wrap you in my arms and shield you from any more pain. I yearned for you.

Our first date, Applebee’s and Good Will Hunting, was so easy going and relaxed. I could let down my guard around you. No pretense was needed with you. Although, I’ll admit I felt like a total goob when I started tearing up in the movie. But no guy can watch that scene with Robin Williams and Matt Damon and not cry! I didn’t want that night to end. And when you stood on the bottom of the back deck stairs, looking at me as it rained, I ached to kiss you but was scared of what it would mean for me.

Our first road trip, borne out of the reappearance of an ex, was a divine appointment. Holding you at mid-field on that high school football field in the middle of the night I knew that I was falling for you. Those moments leading up to our kiss and my epiphany were sweet and slow, teasing us until just after midnight. The instant our lips touched I knew you were to be my wife and me your husband. 

In that moment I felt my life’s purpose. I was to love and serve you all of my days.

And from that moment until this moment I have strived to do that. Some days I have failed miserably and others I rocked it! But I must confess I have been far more blessed by you than the other way around.

You could and probably should have left me at any time during those first two years. I was a moron.

I didn’t care very much about myself. You saw that. The chemicals and alcohol I put in my system spoke to that. The dead end jobs, late nights, and constantly being broke told of a person living outside their story. And yet you stayed.

You stayed when I got myself fired, you stayed when I drank too much, and you stayed when those chemicals caused me to act a fool. You stayed.

I don’t know why you did, but I will live my life in praise of that fact. Were it not for you, I would not be here today. I don’t believe that I would be dead or anything overly dramatic but life would be plenty grey without you in it.

God spoke to me through you. He spoke of love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace.  Through you I have lived in a way that would not be possible otherwise.

So if I died today I want you to know just one thing: I love you.

I love you endlessly and completely. I love you to the point of hurt. I cannot picture my days without your presence. You are my sunrise and sunset. Your love I covet more than any other. Your smile lights my life and your tears darken my days. Just a word from you could send me marching into the fires of hell or flying to the heights of heaven.

I am a better man directly because of your love. I am who I am because you did stay and I will live my life as a testament to that. 

From that first day to my last I will love you with every cell in my body. With all that I am, I am yours. 

Honeybunny, you are the single greatest blessing God has given me. Through you I have seen God’s great beauty and I desire to spend all minutes in that beauty.

Please know that there are not enough words in any language to write all the things I could. You hold my heart in your hands, and there is no other I would rather hold it.

You and me together, we could do anything.

Forever and desperately yours,

Joe

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