Spirit Crushing Loneliness
Today is the day I’ve been dreading for a few weeks now. It marks the 13th anniversary of my first date with My Love. We were one of those sickening couples that marked the anniversary of everything – first date, engagement, wedding, kids’ family days, etc. I think it’s because we always knew that each significant event in our lives only existed because God brought the two of us together and we knew it from the start. As long as we lived in the town that we had our first date, we marked the date by going to the same restaurant we first met at, then driving to a mega church here in town where they have an obscenely large light display, and we finish the evening with a piece of pie at a different restaurant. These activities were actually interspersed over two days that original weekend that My Love came to meet me for the first time. Sometime I might share the story of how we actually “met” while living in two different cities, 11 hours apart, but not today.
As I think back on that evening, I still have to laugh a bit when I think about my husband. This man, whom I had only talked with the phone, was so painfully shy during those phone conversations. Yet as I left my car and walked toward the entrance to the restaurant, I saw him standing there waiting for me. Even though we’d never exchanged pictures, I knew it was him, and he me. Before I could cross the parking lot, he yelled “wait, wait” and went running back to his rental car. As I reached the sidewalk, he came walking toward me carrying a dozen long-stemmed red roses and was wearing a Minnesota Vikings cap complete with long yellow braids. The poor guy didn’t want to step all the way out on that limb if I was going to stand him up, but he’d promised me he’d wear something “Minnesotan,” so he left it in the car just in case. I knew at that moment, I’d marry him. And we had a beautiful marriage.
The last week or so, I have felt a spirit crushing loneliness for him. I think about that first date, and what I most remember is that although the restaurant was incredibly crowded and we had to sit in a booth at the back of the bar, I don’t remember ever noticing there was anyone else there. The way he looked at me, I knew I was the only person in the room he noticed. Oh.my.word! He had the bluest eyes and from that day onward, those eyes only ever looked at me with the deepest love and tenderness. Even when I was being impossible, or insecure, or trying to push him away, he would just look at me with such love and understanding. We talked for hours that night, the next day, and the next night. All the awkwardness of our phone conversations disappeared in my presence. I knew I’d found my soul mate.
My husband was always a very chivalric man. Some would say “old-fashioned” but I loved it. By the end of our two days together, he’d told me he wanted to move to my city so that he could “court” me. I told my dad on the phone a day later, “Dad, he said he wanted to ‘court’ me. He talked courtship. How can I not love a man like that?” Courtship had always seemed to me to be something very serious, something leading to marriage, not simply dating “to see what might happen” or “to see if we’re suited for each other.” His words and offer made me feel safe, cherished, and incredibly special. No man had ever made me feel that loved, although I have to admit, in general I wasn’t one to give my heart to just any old guy who smiled at me and asked me out.
I’ve gone out to My Love’s grave a couple of times with my children, but today I decided to go out there by myself. I just needed to have some connection with him. Today I was the one who brought a dozen long-stemmed red roses. I also brought an ornament with me to leave there that had very special meaning for me. The Christmas right after I met my husband, my aunt came for a visit. She brought with her a Christopher Radko ornament that was a big, green frog. She gave it to me and said, “I hear you’ve kissed your last frog.” Yup. I had. Every year that ornament is one of the first to go on the tree. I don’t think I will ever be able to look at it again without my heart breaking. It’s better to be with him. The last frog I kissed turned out to be my Prince Charming.
~ The Reluctant Widow