Dear Nate

It might sound a bit cliché for me to say that five years ago today, I married my best friend.  But it’s true.

And maybe saying that I can’t imagine life without you seems like just the right expression to use.  But I can’t think of anything more appropriate, except to say that I love you more than anything.

You are such a strong man.  I am always amazed by your faith, by your patience, and by the love you have — not only for your family and friends — but also for me.  You genuinely care for people in ways that others most often don’t.  And in more ways than one, you are a true hero.

You’re my hero!

The past five years have truly been amazing.  We settled into a cozy apartment, before buying our first home.  We adopted fur-babies.  We traveled, and saved, and planned.  We enjoyed everything from local theater to movie nights at home.  And even though neither of us would say that marriage is easy, I know we both would say it’s wonderful.  And worth it.  And even better than we ever could have imagined.

Of course, it’s not just the good that defines our time together, even if — when I look back — I can honestly say that it’s the good that stands out the most.

If I could erase the memory of your week-long stay in the ICU, following your third — and worst — assault, I would in a heartbeat.  It breaks my heart to think back to how much you suffered.  Each day was filled with so much pain and fear, and I still cry when I think back to how hard you had to fight for your very life.  But yet, even then, I could see sparkles of light in the promise of tomorrow, in the occasional light moments we shared, in the love we were shown, and in the miracles I saw happen.

And even though the memories of that first week are — in particular — painful, I thank God that I was able to be there for you… and with you.

And I am grateful for what I learned, because although the past year was tougher than anything we could have ever imagined, it was also victorious.  God reached through that pain, and He brought healing.  And through each struggle, we celebrated together.  I will never forget how my heart exploded with pure joy the day we were slowly able to walk — hand in hand — down a neighborhood street together.  I had thought we might never walk together again, and yet there we were.  It was a slow shuffle, and — by the end — you had to lean on me.  But in that moment, you may as well have climbed the highest of mountains.

It was one of the many challenges that you faced and overcame.  And it only brought us even closer together.

And even if you do have some difficulties now from the numbness in your leg, you are here to share each day with me.  I sleep with you beside me at night, and you hold me when I need a hug.  (I just can’t imagine not ever feeling your arms around me again).  I listen to you sing, hear you whistling while doing dishes, and we laugh together.

And, as always, you join in with me when I’m being silly.  🙂

You’re there with me for the simple, every-day moments just like before.  And that in itself is a miracle that I cherish more than anything.

I guess maybe you don’t realize how much you love someone until you’re forced to face the very real possibility of saying ‘goodbye’.  And maybe in that difficult moment, you can choose to run, or you can choose to hold on even stronger than before.  I’ve learned that you and I — with God on our side — can get through anything.

Thank you for holding onto me, because there is no one else that I would rather face tomorrow with.  No matter what comes, whether it be tears, laughter, for better, or for worse, it will be you and me… together forever.

I am SO excited to see what God has in store for our future.  🙂  Because if it’s anything like the past five years, I know that it will be amazing.

Happy 5th Anniversary!!  And here’s to many more.

I love you SO much,

Nicole

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4 thoughts on “Dear Nate”

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