I’m not normally comfortable sharing things like this… but today is our five year wedding anniversary and I wanted to take this opportunity to honor my husband, Brett, for how he’s served me while I’ve been sick.
So I decided to publish the love letter I wrote for him this year.
As I sat here, thinking about our wedding day 5 years ago, I felt as though my heart might burst from all the emotion welling up inside me.
It was such a beautiful day… and yet it almost breaks my heart to remember your beaming smile and your heart full of happy dreams for our new life together. Neither of us could ever have imagined what a hellish future awaited us.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was very brave of you to make those vows and commit yourself to me so completely.
“For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.”
You had no idea that it would only be worse and poorer and sickness for so many years.
It’s not that we expected life to be easy or free of trouble. We were mature enough to realize that life was not a fairytale but we certainly didn’t know everything was going to fall apart so quickly and so catastrophically.
I’m sure you never could have imagined that in only a few short months, you’d be pushing your strong ballerina wife down hospital hallways in a wheelchair. But you made your promise and you kept it. I never doubted for a moment that your commitment was forever.
I already admired you so much on that joyous day but it can’t even compare to how much admire you now. There was so much more tenderness, bravery, and greatness in you than even my enamored 19-year-old-self could see.
You said you would love me no matter what, but now I’ve seen you do it. Even when I lost everything that first drew you to me—my spiritual strength, my mind, my physical vitality, my outward beauty, my personality—you loved me faithfully. And you fought for me with everything you had.
Thank you for reminding me that God’s strong hand was still holding me when I felt lost and confused. Thank you for continuing to spend time with me when my mind was no longer able to engage in thoughtful conversation. Thank you for helping me get to the bathroom and back to bed when my body was failing me. Thank you for seeing the beauty in me when my long hair was thinning and I had gained so much weight.
Most of all, thank you for believing that the real me was still in there, even when the sickness was all you could see. Thank you for buying me stuffed animals and watching Veggie Tales with me when I was too fragile to be a grown-up.
Thank you for sitting with me while I screamed for hours in a state of utter panic when the infection was eating away at my brain. Thank you for massaging my feet every night just so that I could forget the intense physical pain long enough to catch a wink of sleep.
Thank you for coming to all my doctors appointments and taking notes when my brain was too sick to even understand what the doctor was saying. Thank you for spending all of your savings to get me better without even batting an eye. Thank you for working so hard to figure out a way to be a full time caregiver and still make enough money to pay for my treatments.
Thank you for recognizing when a situation became an emergency and taking decisive action. Thank you for being strong for me even when you were scared. Thank you for doing the right thing even when you were angry. Thank you for choosing me and our marriage over everything else.
You gave your life for me over and over again. You were so brave! Your courage and love made me want to keep living. You kept the hope in me alive.
And just look at how far I’ve come now. There’s no way I could have done this without you darling! You’re my hero. And as our lives move toward “better and richer and health,” I can’t wait to use all of that extra happiness and strength to serve and love you with all that I am.
Life sure looks different than we imagined. There’s so much loss and brokenness that we still need to process but I have no doubt that we can build something really beautiful out of these ruins.
Remember that song we used to listen to when we were dating? It’s even more fitting now…
“Out of these ashes,
Beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see it with our own eyes
Out of this darkness
New life will shine
And we’ll know joy is coming in the morning”
I love you forever,
By the way, Brett and I made a beautiful PDF of my favorite resources for suffering souls. I created the content and he made it look fancy with his superduper graphic design skills. It’s available for free to my email subscribers. Click here to sign up and receive 5 Resources for the Suffering Soul.