2 years ago, on this day, you were here with me.
You were sick, yes. You couldn’t run with our kids. You couldn’t lift your CrossFit weights. You couldn’t even turn on your side in the bed and face me at night.
But you were here. With me.
We spent the day together, visiting with friends who came by, but mostly sitting next to each other, savoring the sunshine that streamed through the windows on that freezing January day. If I close my eyes, I can feel the way the sun’s warmth landed on my back as you looked right at me and reminded me that you loved me. As you told me that you’d always loved me, every single day.
I knew it. I knew you loved me. I knew you loved me when we were cuddled up in the shack on the beach in Vietnam, escaping the pounding rainstorm outside, and you turned to me and said it for the first time. I knew you loved me in those moments after Claire’s birth, when you came to my side and choked out those words with tears streaming down your face. I knew you loved me that night we had one of our biggest fights ever and you begged me to forgive you and told me that no matter what, you loved me.
Two years ago was a terrible day. You were so sick and all I could do to relieve your pain was to bring you ice and cold towels and warm blankets. You didn’t complain. You knew it was the end, and I knew it was the end, but we thought we had more time to say the things we wanted to say.
But of course, we didn’t.
And yet – we had that day. Yes, there were a friends who came in and out. Yes, hospice showed up at lunch. Yes, our children were around in the afternoon. But really, that day was mine with you. Just us, even if there were other people who came and went. I never left your side for more than a minute. We were a unit on that day.
Sometimes, in the darkest moments I’ve had, I reach back to that day when we sat in the living room. I might be in a terrible place because I’m reeling from a really poor choice with a man or stressing about something with the kids. I might be at my wit’s end about one thing or another and I might think that I just cannot keep living a life without you.
But then I remember what you left me with. I remember that you wanted me to know, for sure, how you felt. I didn’t know you were going to die the next day, even though we knew the end was near. But we knew time was short.
By the next day, you were more out of this world than in it. And by that evening, you were gone. But that day – the day before you died – that day was ours. And you made sure to tell me about your love for me, one last time.
You told me that you had always loved me, every single day.
You didn’t have to say it. But you did anyway.
Image Credit: Stefanie Harrington Photography.