The love of my life left the earth about 8 1/2 years ago, but I am still discovering things about him, about myself, and about my relationship with him. I keep an ongoing letter in my data base and add to it when I think of something I want to tell him.
Often what I want to tell him is "thank you" because when I hear about someone else's conflicts with a spouse I realize I could have had their problem but didn't because of his good relationship skills.
For example, he was a fabulous stepfather. He never told me what to do as a mother. He never criticized my children. He told me that he saw himself as a person who could support me as a mother and that he intended to be a friendly adult in the lives of my children and grandchildren. He gave us all a lot of encouragement and love and zero criticism. He made us laugh a lot.
I've always said that one of the things I love in a man is an ability to keep his mouth shut. Occasionally he would make a polite request for me to stop talking about something (usually an unresolved problem I was wrestling with) when getting up and leaving the room didn't work.
When I got mad at him, he would say things like, "Remember me? I'm on your side!" Or, "I don't understand why you're so upset. Please tell me what you want me to do." Very reasonable. Usually bumped me right out of my upset and into problem solving.
I really did know he was on my side. I counted on that. For the most part I was sure he wouldn't take advantage of me knowingly and that he thought I was pretty close to perfect. (He must have thought that because he never voiced any judgments of me.)
I always felt respected as well as loved. That surely made him easy to live with most of the time.
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