Twenty years ago tonight, I asked Tara to marry me. I was supposed to wait for Valentine’s Day but I didn’t. It was a Friday night and we lived 500 miles apart. I drove from Columbia, Missouri. She drove from St. Paul. We met in Nevada, Iowa. I regularly took my scripts from Don Williams’ songs and “I spent my last ten dollars, bought her a second hand ring.”
I remember the feelings very well. To be near her, to express my love to her, to walk with her, talk to her; it’s all I wanted. For what I knew then, I loved her completely. Throughout our marriage times have come when those feelings surge. Each time a new high water mark for our love. Over the last few weeks, these feeling have again flooded me and this time the levy has broken. For what I know now, I love her completely. I cannot wait to grow old with her. One day I’ll say, “For what I knew then, I loved her completely.”
I have always dreaded gift giving, and tomorrow is Valentine’s day. I usually start feeling bad at least a week in advance of her birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s day, knowing I will fail at providing a gift. I often call my brother who is a great gift giver, just to get ideas. I did that today. His ideas were too hard so I just decided I would keep feeling bad. The surprise she will get tomorrow is a big dose of chemotherapy and being stuck in a hospital bed. She deserves a bit more than that, I know. But she has my heart.
After chemo tomorrow, we will have to stay one more night, maybe two. Tara is able to eat more every day, although it doesn’t always sit well. She is becoming more mobile to walk around and sit up on her own. She still hasn’t gotten rid of the chest tubes, which are so uncomfortable, but they will for sure be gone by the time we leave the hospital. We are told that the progress is good. God continues to be faithful in providing joy in the midst of this trial. We can’t wait to be home.