Itâ€™s hard to believe today marks the second Valentineâ€™s Day since you left this earth. How I wish you were still here. How I wish we could be building a family we often talked about during our brief marriage.
Thereâ€™ve been many sleepless nights since that second week of 2007. Iâ€™ve sometimes found myself hugging a pillow in what served as our marriage bed.
Part of me still wishes this were all a dream or some practical joke and Iâ€™d have one huge sense of relief. But Iâ€™m well aware itâ€™s all real.
Throughout the last few months, Iâ€™ve often debated with myself whether I should remarry. Judy and Ron, your mother and stepfather, have thanked me for taking great care of you during the time we were together – and theyâ€™ve given me their blessing should I remarry.
As you know, each of them has been widowed at some point in their lives – and they obviously moved on. Iâ€™m especially grateful to Ron for sharing with me his story of love and loss. He lost a wife when she was 34 years old – same age as you.
In addition to experiencing two consecutive Valentineâ€™s Days, Iâ€™ve been through birthdays, yours and mine; our second wedding anniversary; the fifth anniversary of our first lunch date; a Thanksgiving and a Christmas without you.
In that time, Cindy, I know youâ€™ve spent it reconnecting with your father, Marvin Houdeshell – as well as Dr. Larry Kennedy, who had great vision for William Carey University. His vision brought you to the neighborhoods I call home – which eventually would bring you into my world.
While youâ€™ve reconnected with Marvin, Dr. Kennedy and other loved ones who left this earth, Iâ€™ve networked with many widows and fellow widowers – one of whom has since remarried, another is about a month away from hearing the wedding bells toll again. One of those widowers shared with me these words from the Mitch Albom book The Five People You Meet In Heaven.
â€œLost love is still love. It just takes a different form, thatâ€™s all. You canâ€™t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around the dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your pardoner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it. Life has to end, love doesnâ€™t.â€
Wise words, indeed. But, Cindy, I know youâ€™ll agree these words are even wiser. These are the words you shared with me when times were tough for us — the words of Jeremiah 29:11.
â€œâ€˜For I know the plans I have for you,â€™ says the Lord, â€˜plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.â€™â€
The Lord certainly meant no harm in that second week of 2007. I still agree with your belief He brought us together – because He was tired of seeing us as loners. As a friend further analyzed, He knew your time on this planet would be relatively short – and He wanted us to love each other and enjoy our marriage to the fullest. This way when He called you home, youâ€™d be home happy.
Cindy, to be honest, Iâ€™m out of words – save for a group of half a dozen words. These half dozen words we often shared throughout our 19-month marriage and the many weeks and months leading up to our joyous wedding.
I love you, always and forever,