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Today is my first husband’s birthday. He passed away after a short battle with cancer June 2015. This letter is a tribute to him and to our love.
To my dearest Bradley,
Today would have been your fifty-seventh birthday. Since the boys and I can’t celebrate it with you, I hope Heaven is throwing you a huge party instead. Keep an eye out for the kiss I’m sending heaven bound just for you.
It hard to believe your battle with cancer ended nearly five years ago. Your absence has left a big hole in our family. There’s a hollowed look in the boys’ eyes. I do what I can, but it’s not the same. They need you, their father. I wished I knew how to fix the loss created by your death, but I will entrust it into God’s capable hands.
Speaking of our sons, you would be so proud of them. I remember how often you worried about the obstacles they faced in finding the right career. You wanted their road to be easier than yours. Maybe even to surpass your success.
So, you set high goals by expecting each one of them to get an education in an area of study most likely to offer employment. And, each summer you insisted that an internship experience was a must.
I want you to know these standards have paid off. Each of your sons has a good job that they love. Uncommon these days.
Our oldest son is sick, though. Do you know that? He too has cancer. He’s wears a brave face but I can tell he’s worried. I am too.
Oh Brad, I wish you were here. I could use a hug right about now. I need to hear you whisper in my ear that everything will be alright. I need you to tell me all of our sons will have a long and bright future.
I miss you terribly, my dear best friend.
Do you remember the night we fell in love? How once we met we became inseparable? We knew from that moment on we had something special.
And when we said our vows to one another, we accepted we were in this together. We didn’t base our love on a flimsy, shallow, and fickle feeling, but instead on a steadfast commitment to one another. And, it stood the test by weathering tough times and lean years during our thirty-one years of marriage.
You told me you believed you were the luckiest man in the world when you found me. You said when you married me, you married up. I want you to know I felt the same about you too.
Someone recently told me that relationships come and go but the bond one has with one’s children is enduring. Hogwash!
This belief is all too common nowadays. Many couples expect their spouse to make them happy. But, that’s not how it works. Such expectation only guarantees disappointment.
We knew to do it differently though. Instead of looking for me to make you happy, you made it your mission to bring me joy, just as your happiness became my concern. Although this other-focused commitment may have cost us some of our daily preferences, we discovered a secret in our regular practice of self-sacrifice.
We learned we didn’t need to go looking for happiness. It found us.
I am who I am today largely because of you. Your faith and belief in me allowed me to climb higher than I’d ever dreamed and to go further than I’d ever imagined.
So, dearest Bradley, on this day of your birth, I’m very thankful for our wonderful thirty-one years together. Your love has made me more.
All my heart,
Previously published on Medium
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Photo credit: KKMcAvoy