When you lose a spouse you tend to replay so many things in your mind. Could I have done anything differently? Should I have made a different choice? There are so many “what ifs” that float through your mind.
There is one choice that I’m absolutely positive about though. And that is my choice to marry Greg! We met in ’95 when I moved to a new city for a job straight out of college. I wasn’t looking for a man, in fact I was trying to avoid men as I had just come out of a bad relationship. Greg told me later that several years previously he had prayed & told God he was lonely & would like someone in his life, but was leaving it in God’s hands. He said the moment he saw me he knew that I was the answer to that prayer. He always said it couldn’t have been clearer if there had been a neon sign over my head.
I had no such neon sign, so I was blissfully unaware, for awhile anyway. Then I started getting the idea that Greg liked me. Little things like him trying to get my attention by shooting rubber bands over the cubicle at me, or teasing me that he was going to “poke me with a fork” to get me to talk to him. I was terribly shy & still trying to avoid men in general so I playfully rolled my eyes & kept on with my day.
Then one day we were working together, unpacking boxes of books & putting them on shelves. I guess I let my guard down a little since we were working together and because he was joking around & teasing me. I remember lots of laughter between the two of us & before I knew what I was doing I had smacked him on the leg with the back of my hand for some little joke he had made. I was surprised with the sparks that flew between us, the chemistry that was suddenly in the air. Where had that come from?! It was right then that I quit running away from him.
He waited until his temporary job with my company ended and then he asked me out on a date. We had Chinese food & his fortune cookie said something about his love life was about to improve or something like that (we kept it for years & I’m hoping to find it someday so I can remember the exact wording). He looked very pleased with himself & I blushed all different shades of red when he shared it with me.
Our relationship took off, but it wasn’t without trials or questions. Greg was 10 1/2 years my senior. Was that ok? He also had diabetes and his blood sugar was prone to many highs & lows. If you’ve ever lived with or been close to a diabetic you know that this can not only be stressful, but also life-threatening at times. Is this something that I could live with long-term? Was I willing to accept the risk that his life might be shorter than mine?
As I prayed about our relationship and fell in love with Greg I knew that the age difference wasn’t an issue. We might like different music, but other than that I didn’t usually think about our ages. As for the diabetes, I decided that it was something I could handle. Something I could help him with. And any risk involved, I was willing to take. Really, we all take on risk when we love someone, we just don’t usually stop to think about it.
Six months after we started to date, on my birthday, Greg proposed to me. He had wanted to take me to the mountains & give me a romantic view for the occasion, but for some reason I was feeling like a home-body & didn’t want to go. (Of course I had no idea why he wanted to go at the time! Talk about kicking myself later!) He couldn’t stand to wait for me to get in the mood for a ride to the mountains, so he popped the question in my apartment. No matter the view, it was a wonderful moment & I happily said yes. I remember that day like it was yesterday, even though it was 20 years ago, today.
I made a choice that day, although really the choice was made months earlier as I dated & fell in love with Greg. Was it the right choice? No doubt in my mind!!
We got married 6 months after he proposed to me. We married on the anniversary of our first date, which was just the start of 16 years of a wonderful marriage. Like all couples we had our ups & downs, but we had our roots in Christ, and there was never any doubt in my mind that Greg loved me. In fact, he adored me! I hope that there was never any doubt in his mind that I felt the same way about him. He was my heart & I miss him every single day!
When Greg’s health was bad he would sometimes tell me he was sorry I had to put up with his disease. When he was in the hospital the last time, dealing with kidney failure & heart problems, I remember him telling me he was sorry again. I told him it was ok, but he was feeling so guilty that he told me he should have never brought me into a marriage with all his health issues. Just the idea of never having him in my life hurt me. I wanted him to hear not only my words, but also my heart, so I took him by the hands, looked him in the eyes & told him I’d do it all again in a heart-beat. I meant it then, and I mean it now. Even knowing the pain of losing him I would do it all again! Because the love he gave me was worth the risk, worth the pain. I thank God all the time for the chance I had to experience that love & to love him back!
The Son shines even in our valleys,