Valentine Day Love Letter
42 years ago, last August, I walked into a senior government class at Haworth high school in Kokomo Indiana. Setting close to the front was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life. I resolved almost instantly to ask her out on a date. It took two months of trying to get her attention before I felt comfortable asking her out. When I finally did she said no, and thus started a 42 year romance that continues to this day.
I have to admit that the first part of the romance was all mine. I was smitten by her beauty and charm. Over the next two years I asked her out twice more. And twice more she said no. Each time clarifying that she would probably prefer that I not ask her out you anymore. I did not listen. As time went on her life changed and it turns out I was the second guy she called after she broke up with her boyfriend.
When she called I asked where she wanted to go on our first date. She said a movie (still our favorite entertainment) and afterward the local ice-cream place called the ‘Cone Palace’. What guy would not be taken in by the allure of a cheap date? One year and two months after she called me, we were married. I was 19 and she was 20 and we were off on a big adventure whose result seemed uncertain.
Life with Chronic Conditions
I don’t know that either of us understood what life would be like to be married. Neither of us had ever lived outside our parents’ home and neither of us knew enough about life with chronic disease. We discussed diabetes a lot after I proposed. Yet being married, having children, and living with a chronic condition seemed terribly scary. What I never counted on was how tough Sheryl is and what she will endure to stay married to a man she loves.
Even if we had been ready for the first chronic disease nothing could have braced us for adding RA. Now 16 years after RA entered our lives we keep going, keep living and keep loving. This June we will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary. Those words make it sound easy. It has never been easy. Marriage is hard work every day. I have found that lasting marriage is picking one up when the other one falls and staying focused on what we have in common which is more than what we have apart.
Is often said an attraction is based first on visual cues, but that true love is based on what is in a person’s heart. Some say that love is about finding commonality rather than seeking division. I suppose that is true to a degree. What I have found however is far more interesting and that is in a lasting marriage, two people must celebrate what is important to each other. The one thing that has kept us married is not our commonality rather it is how we deal with differences. Those of us who live with chronic conditions knows how difficult it is to manage our disease, let alone support our partners. I am so happy I have a partner who regards my conditions as ours, and yes sometimes she regards them as more hers. Sheryl is a person who loves me despite and sometimes because of what my body has dealt us.
42 Years and Still in Love
I could never have imagined the life we have led 43 years ago when I first saw that beautiful woman in government class. 43 years later I still see her as that beautiful woman sitting there. I still adore that she is thrilled with a cheap date, the bargain movie, diet root beer and each other.
42 years seems like a long time, in my mind however it has happened in a flash, and 42 years later I still love you Sheryl with all my heart.
Happy Valentine’s Day Sheryl