I want to begin by thanking those of you who have sent feedback. It is good to know that what I have been learning and continue to be taught has an impact beyond myself. That’s how each experience in our life should be, you know? A lesson learned we can share with one another. The last time I shared with you, I spoke about the healing power of forgiveness. For Jaime and me, it brought about a new aspect in our relationship. I fell in love again with my wife and it was sweet. We said things to one another and looked at one another in a way that we hadn’t in a long time. The truth is we had taken each other for granted. So, rather than cultivating a deeper love for one another, we both were focused on improving ourselves. I can tell you that there is no educational pursuit, no life-long goal more important than daily falling madly in love with your spouse. This is what I learned in the 6 months I had to say good-bye to my beautiful wife. My doctorate was put on hold, the job I had longed for and sacrificed time with my wife and daughter I let go, and it was only then that I saw clearly who my first love had to be. Long before endless nights of research and writing – long before I sat before panels and school boards to seek the coveted administrative promotion, there was the girl who had waited to win my heart. Our early years of marriage were full of reminders of that pursuit. And then we lost our way. Yet, something wonderful happened in the final 6 months of our marriage. Through forgiveness and sacrifice, we found our way back to one another. I still have a majority of the love notes my wife wrote to me when we dated in high school and then again in college. But I can say that I treasure the words we spoke, the laughs we shared, the times we cried, and the moments we prayed together for 6 months more than that box of memories from long ago.
The Saturday before Jaime was gone, the attending doctor at the hospice explained that in light of Jaime’s increasing pain, they recommended sedating her. I knew what this meant. Jaime would fall asleep and never wake up again until she was standing in Heaven for her eternal assignment. I agreed and asked for five minutes with her before I headed home to take care of Felicity. I kissed her baldhead and said, “I love you and I’ll see you later.” As I walked out of the room, threatening myself not to cry, the nurse said, “Make sure you say everything you want to say. She won’t be able to speak with you after today.” Jaime did communicate with me the day before she died, and that is another story. However, I was able to respond, “There is nothing left to say. We’ve been talking for 15 years. We’ve said everything.” I speak from experience when I say, that right now is when you need to say how you feel. I was a husband who, like other husbands, assumed my wife knew I loved her – knew that she was my world. And Jaime knew that I loved her. But we both desperately needed to return to that moment in time when we not only knew it we showed it. I don’t mourn for what I didn’t say, because thankfully I had the opportunity to speak from the depths of my heart and release my bride with there truly being nothing left to say. What I do miss is being able to pick up the phone and text Jaime, or sit with her late at night and talk about the future. There have been moments when I sit in the middle of the night and just talk to her (I know that probably scares some people!). Rest assured, I don’t personally believe Jaime hears me. And it’s not the same as her getting excited over the job opportunities that are ahead, or the latest crazy statement Felicity makes. I have accepted that our conversations ended three months ago and that the next time I chat with her will be in heaven. Until then, I move forward and stand on tiptoe for my next assignment. What a privilege to share our story, as I journey along the way.