This year brought both great happiness and great difficulty. Yet, you remained ever positive. It was just your nature. You wrote in your Christmas letter to me: "Wow, in 2018, we experienced great joy in our lives with the birth of our third grandchild, Sam!", then went on to brag on our children and grandchildren. You ended the bragging with "I am so glad that I was there for this birth, and now, I know, I will be there to watch them all grow up." I so wish that were true!! We both held out hope until the very end.
It wasn't until late in the letter that you said, "2018 did bring many challenges with my health..." Yet, you didn't stay in the negative with health. You again looked at the best by continuing with, "but through those difficult times our relationship grew stronger to levels I did not think possible. You stood by me like no wife could or would; you took care of me as though I was your child and I guess I was! Through eight surgeries, an ICU scare, countless doctors appointments and thousands of dressing changes you were there and you did it all for me! You held my hand and reassured me I was going to be alright. I have to say I did not always believe that, but wow what love and support you gave me. I guess you really took 'through sickness and health seriously.' I am not naïve enough to think that you were not struggling through these difficult times. You held strong; you fought through those thoughts of your life without me, I know and I am sorry that I put you through that mental anguish. You advocacy for me was and is something I became dependent on. So many times, my first thought was - wait until Suz gets here, she will take care of me and the many crazy situations that we were put through - fighting with hospitals, doctors, and nurses always seeking the best care you could get for me! Being my nurse in the hospital and at home. I know you were put in situations as my home nurse that you had doubts about. I never did, and I always believed in you and knew that you if you didn't know something you would learn it to a degree that my nurses and doctors would envy. All this while maintaining a remarkable career. How can I say thank you for 35 years of marriage? A love that knows no bounds, a relationship that grows every day. To know I am going to grow into my senior years with such a caring wife, a loving family brings me great happiness."
And, you remained hopeful with looking toward the future: "So, yes, 2018 was a 'Wow' year, but let's try and keep the excitement down in 2019. We know, going into next year, I am probably going to have three or four more surgeries, no big deal. Life is great. I have you. I have our children and our grandchildren to lift me up. I see the light at the end of this health tunnel - and the light, like our lives together, is incredibly bright. This because of you! Thank you so much for being my wife, my life long companion, my nurse, my friend, my rock and most of all my life. Your loving husband."
I still can't read those words without tears. You were such a gifted writer, because you wrote from the heart. I can only hope to be half the person you were!! I so with we could have grown into our senior years together and seen the light at the end of the health tunnel.
Still, as you wrote, 2018 was good because Sam was added to the family. Lauren and Tony chose your middle name as his middle name. You appreciated that.
The eight surgeries you mentioned in your letter were actually surgeries and hospital stays:
Feb. 2018 Hidradenitis Suppurativa Removal
Mar. 2018 Hidradenitis Suppurativa Removal
May 2018 Fainting Episode resulted in hospital stay
Apr. 2018 Hidradenitis Suppurativa Removal
July 2018 30 days of antibiotic infusion (Had to go daily for infusions with Infectious Disease Doctors)
Aug. 2018 Hidradenitis Suppurativa Removal
Sept. 2018 Hidradenitis Suppurativa Removal
Oct. 2018 Pacemaker