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I loved you like
I’ll never love another
With the wild heart of the young
But it took until now to uncover…

…oh if I’d only known it then.

~ Meine/Shenker (recorded by Karla Bonoff)

I was reading a forum for widows/widowers and they asked if there was one question you could ask your deceased partner, what would it be?

Mine would be “Do you have any idea how much I loved you?”

Because I honestly don’t know that he ever did really know.

He felt safe with me long before he ever got sick. He trusted me completely because he knew I was loyal and would never let anyone or anything harm anyone I loved. And I went to bat for him over and over again (esp against crazy exes). He knew, always, that I was in his corner and when he got sick he told people I had his back. He knew that. He really knew that.

But I really don’t think he ever really knew how deeply and completely I loved him. He always seemed surprised when anyone of us did anything special for him. I’m not sure, before he met me and my kids, how much anyone did do for him. It didn’t seem like much. But we all adored him. And I’m not sure he could ever wrap his brain around that.

But I don’t know if he knew, really, how much I loved him. Because I’m not sure I knew how much.

Just the other night I was in the basement looking for a cover for something. I kept opening drawers and boxes, which I hate to do because it seems like I’m always finding something that I never knew existed or that Michael packed in some hilarious way.

And yes, it happened again. I uncovered an envelope full of photos I had not seen before. They were all of him from a tiny baby to about 12 years old. They all showed the same thing: a smiling, happy person. A dear, sweet, special soul. And I sat there and cried and cried and cried.

There was one when he was about 12 where he was waving to the camera. I was sure that no one was waving at him. It was a thing he did. I have no idea why he did that. It was like a reflex with him. If someone waved on TV he would wave back. I teased him about it. I told him that my grandparents waved at people on TV but they were in their 60s when they got their first television and weren’t quite sure that the people they saw couldn’t see them. I would say to Michael, “You do know they can’t see you?” and he would laugh. Even in Nick’s wedding photo with the whole family, he’s waving. It was a thing that was so cute I couldn’t stand how cute it was. It slayed me every time.

So to see the photo of this awkward 12 year old boy in shorts and shoes with the wave, killed me. I actually waved at the photo and then broke down in tears. I miss his little waves so much.

I’m sure he never knew how endearing those waves were to me. Because I never really knew.

I’m learning more and more each day the depth of my love for him. It seems boundless and endless. And the weight of it seems crushing when I come across something like an innocuous photo of him waving.

Waving.

Waving.

Waving.

I don’t think he ever knew. I know I didn’t.

I have been doing so well lately as in feeling healing kicking in…going some days without a tear.

But music seems to move me. The other night I burst into tears hearing Who Knew by Pink and then today it was 100 Tears Away by Vonda Shepard and Cross My Heart by George Strait. Very different songs but each evoking so much.

I sobbed at each of these 3 songs.

I know that part of what moves me is that I know that Michael loved me truly and I loved him. What he gave to me…wanting to make all my dreams come true…caring for me and loving me with all his heart and soul is something no one else ever would or could and what I gave to him…loving him over the years…making him laugh and feeling secure and that I was there for him unconditionally…walking his last miles with him, carrying him, caring for him and being there as he died in my arms is the greatest thing that two people could ever ever do for each other.

And I love that I could experience that but I miss him so much…