*Originally written in a letter on March 2, 2008. It has been edited for privacy.*
It seems as if death has made you a widow of one of the greatest men I will ever know. You are left behind with the memories of a man who was as meek as a blade of grass but as true and beautifully moving as an entire field of them waving in the wind. Your gentle husband was taken from this life too soon. There are many who feel sorrow and emptiness without him here. I think of all the times I should have called, mailed a card or stopped by for a visit. I hate myself for not taking two hours and making the drive to see him when he was ill. He deserved so much better than he got but gave so much more than he had. We all miss him. You were spot on when you said that lightning struck when the two of you got together. You were perfect for one another. You were the type of couple that made other couples, envious.
I want to tell you how much your sweet husband meant to me. I hope the words will reach you. I hope they will represent the place of pureness from which they come. I love this man. In the most respectful way I can express, I miss him and all the things he taught me. All of his lessons will remain with me forever.
If I were quiet, I could learn a lot from your husband. His words were no more than a whisper but powerful. God was benevolent to have this man in my life as a guidance counselor. God's plan was perfect. I was far enough away from my family to be considered on my own, but not quite ready to do fly. So God gave me, my second Dad who was my dearest friend.
He was wood over water. He was my bridge to independence. He was safe and gave me confident steps when life's rushing water could've easily swept me away. He was a gift from God and I thank Him for the honor of calling him friend.
*The lessons of taking care of your home*
My first trip to Home Depot with him was an education. A lot of things became an education when I was with him. He showed me a rather useful piece of molded plastic which fits neatly underneath a washing machine. This simple and quite inexpensive purchase would mean no more surprise leaks for me and no more panicked Saturday morning phone calls for him.
There was so much he taught me about home ownership and updating a space on a budget. I learned about the “repeat” in wallpaper from him and at first I didn't care, his patience explained why he *did* care if I was going to choose the pattern and *if* he was going to hang it. Remember when he suggested that I go shopping with you while he installed the chair rail, paint and wallpaper in my dining room? He said I was more helpful doing that.
*The lesson of taking care of your money*
He took me to Fidelity Investments and taught me the importance of a Roth IRA. I saved $1500.00 for my initial deposit. He picked which fund and as I signed the forms and they took my check, he said “Tell your money you’ll see it in about 50 years and tell it to bring it’s friends.” I checked on that investment the other day, and it's doing what he said it would and I am so grateful for his help.
*It's a big world - Go see it!*
My husband and I learned to love the adventure of traveling. You showed us sights we would have never seen without his planning, organizing and budgeting. We been from Mt. Washington to Mt. Zion and the dam(n) tour at the Hoover Dam. We’ve flown to Tampa to have dinner at Bern's for the hell of it. We’ve driven across a covered bridge in New Hampshire because I told him I always wanted to. We've ridden horseback outside of Las Vegas and been to the beach at St. George Island.
*The lessons of being a friend*
He was a better friend to me than I ever was to him. I am not sure why he took me under his wing and guided me through those first years of being on my own. You both were so good to me that I never felt like I alone. My whole family told me how lucky I was to have a friend like your sweet husband. He was like my second Daddy, although I never saw him as older, just wiser.
On my way to work one morning, a van full of construction workers ran into my car. Although I wasn't hurt, I was rattled and frightened. A witness notified the police, but my first phone call was to your husband. He arrived to the accident scene faster than humanly possible and stood there with me and as the officer wrote the report. The policeman asked if he was my dad, but it was too much to explain who he was. He's my dear friend, my confidant, my teacher, and my financial guru. He’s my handyman, my traveling atlas, and my daily newspaper. He was my guardian angel.
There are so many wonderful things I could write about this man. I have more memories of him than words. Not that many people are blessed enough to have a friend like him. He was a special person and I didn't deserve him, but God's grace let me know him anyway. I'm not sure why he put up with me all those years, but God must have given him the patience to do so.
He was extraordinary.
He was a treasure.
He will be painfully missed.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of his and your life.
He was my wood over water.
Psalm 91:11 - For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.