When I met the woman who was to be my wife, I had two lists. One was things I did want in a mate and one was things I did not. Those lists are buried at the Shelby County landfill now, as I threw them out once I got to know her.
So, it’s somehow unnerving to be asked by a friend who lost his wife several years ago if I’m good with making lists. (Yeah, it’s something I’m great at; I just don’t always follow the lists I make. ) He went on to say that he wished he’d made a list of things to say to his wife while she could still hear them. So, that thought has been rattling around in my brain, and leads to the following.
Open Letter to My Wife
First, know that I love the hell out of you. I don’t believe I actually understood love until you came into my life. You taught me what love is, in all its good and bad, breath-taking and mind-blowing moments.
Second, I trust you wholeheartedly and I am awed and humbled that you trusted me enough to give me your power of attorney in the days leading up to your surgery. I’m going to use the authority you gave me to make the best possible decisions for the good of our family over the coming weeks and months.
Third, we have some truly amazing friends. One of them took me to minor med, waited with me for the 3+ hours that took, bought us (the cats and me) some groceries, paid for my prescription, and gave me enough home-cooked food for several meals. Another one came over with food and more groceries and cooked some of the food for me so I could eat it before she left — and her mother sent two gifts, as well. You already know about our friend who sent a very generous gift via paypal last month that saved our bacon on several matters. We have some awesome friends.
Fourth, for an introvert, you’ve managed to become well-liked by an amazing number of people. Hundreds of people offered support when I posted a status update on Facebook after your stroke and a similar number did so on some of the previous posts. I know you don’t want to live out your life online, so I’m trying to keep Facebook updates to a minimum, but so many people ask about you that I’m forced to provide what information I feel is not too personal.
Fifth, I miss you. Not having you around to share my day’s events or clever-cat/silly-cat stories with has been hard. I keep finding things that are amusing, amazing, or interesting and think “I should show this to Barbara” but I can’t. Not getting texts from you or having conversations with you has left a hole in my days and nights.
Sixth, I blame myself for not being there when you had your stroke. If I had gotten myself to minor med when I first took sick and gotten my meds, I could have visited you some of the days between Christmas and December 30. It may be irrational, but I harbor this notion that I could have been there and made sure you got the care you needed before the window closed for the available interventions. Please forgive me for not being there when you needed me most.
Seventh, I will always cherish the Christmas dinner we had together, there in your hospital room. You pushed me to get the traditional food and we shared it and had a pleasant time together. That memory is only made more poignant by the texts we exchanged on the day of your stroke about disposing of the food that was still in the refrigerator “except my cake,” you said.
Eighth, I am sorry for every time I slacked off when I could have been working on building up my business and bringing in more money. I know that it hasn’t been easy to be as financially stressed as we have been for so long. I won’t say that I’m going to do better, as you’ve heard that from me too many times. So, I’ll just do better and let that say all that needs to be said. (Yeah, I know you saw what I did there. )
Ninth, everyone who knows you says you have a fighting spirit. We need you back. Everyone we know is praying for a full recovery. You can beat this situation. Please keep fighting to get better.
Tenth, I don’t know how I’ll make it without you. Who else but you can give me grief about all those things that I give myself permission to ignore? Who else sees through my B.S. and calls me on it? I’m a better man for having you in my life, even though I’m sure you’ve wondered many times over the years whether you were insane to be married to me.