Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart.
Forty-four years ago today I committed my life and all that I am wholeheartedly to you.
I had no idea what that meant, really, all those years ago. No comprehension of the joy our commitment would bring—two precious sons and four grandchildren, soulmate friends, meaningful ministries, experiences beyond my greatest imagining. Nor did I begin to envision the pain. Ministries ended. Wounded relationships. Losing our Robb.
The nightmare week that Robb died culminated in his memorial service; my emotions that night ranged from a bottomless well of pain to shock, anger, joy. Amidst all that, one memory calls me often to re-live its fraction of existence. We’d just taken our seats and the reality—the in-your-face actuality of what we were there for—pressed onto my shoulders like a wet, heavy shroud. Blindly, I reached out for you, Sweetheart, to clutch at your hand and as always, you were there immediately to enfold me in your strength, the reassurance that you had a firm hold on me. And then you raised our clasped hands to your lips, pressing a kiss on my hand. In that instant, everything else fell away: the ocean of grief. That place, the people, everything around us. The entire world vanished and once again, it was only you and me, Sweetheart. Surrounded and filled with the love that we share, blessed by our God. You gave me one tender, holy moment to treasure at the core of so much pain.
You’d never kissed my hand before that, and haven’t since. So that when I think back on the trauma of that time, the simple purity of those few seconds pushes to the forefront: You redeemed our twinkling of time, wrapping it like a gift. My heart swells with love for you again and I will forever be thankful for you…the gift from God that you are to me.
I love you. Once more I say to you, “I do.” I give my entire being to you, wholeheartedly. But it’s no longer a naïve love, a giving without understanding the cost that life has and will continue to demand. Still, in the midst of future unknowns—pain and joy-filled—I face them knowing your reassuring hand is near. I reach out to you again, cradling, treasuring this remembered sweet tenderness in my mind and heart. One holy moment.