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You were from Texas, I from Massachusetts.
Geographically, we couldn’t have come from more different places. I’ll admit your home state wins for best barbecue, Mexican food, and how can you not love a smoked sausage and cheese kolache from Shipley’s for breakfast? But, that extremely hot humid weather? You can keep it.
You and I met at Bed Bath & Beyond in Florida. I noticed you at work, you noticed me. Those after work group outings to Bennigan’s evolved into something more. And one Sunday night that question from you, “Was I hungry?” was a really creative way of asking me out. At the Olive Garden, we were so entranced in our own conversation (and the bottle of wine), we were unaware they were closing the place down!
Four months later, standing at the kitchen counter of that first apartment we had together… I looked at you sitting across the living room on my broken down bachelor sleeper sofa. I said, “I love you”. You said it back to me. And it made me very, very happy.
I was a bit gun shy about marriage. With your signature strength, tinge of sass and forthrightness, you gave me the kick in the ass that I needed (and you deserved). A year later we were married. Surrounded by friends and family. It was a beautiful, blue sky Colorado day complete with a brief, good luck rain sprinkle at the end of the ceremony.
Your wedding dress… it was stunning and you beautiful in it. You and I had initially gone shopping for your dress, and you quickly pronounced all the toule and lace dress designs of the day, ugly (no surprise). One day after yet another futile shopping trip, I suggested you cut the best features of several dresses in bridal magazines and create your ideal dress. We took that pasted together dress to a local dress shop in Greensboro and they went to work.
We created a life, family and love story together. And what a story we wrote. We had our daughter, were adopted by our cat, and adopted by our dog Lilly.
We lived in Florida, Texas (twice) and North Carolina (twice). There was something about both these last two states that we loved. In the end, North Carolina won out. You said it was the seasons (there are four, with Fall being your favorite) and a bonus! No Gulf of Mexico humidity.
11 apartments, townhouses, and homes. Each made more beautiful with your skill (and some help from me). You had the vision, I was your handyman.
We had a beautiful love for almost 24 years. Full of deep conversations (and light ones, too), rarely having a fight. We grew together, encouraged one another, respected, supported even learned from each other.
We knew each other more deeply than any other person on the planet. I am grateful for the chance to meet you, know you, care for you and love you so completely.
The poet ee Cummings wrote:
“I carry you heart with me, I carry it in my heart.
i am never without it
anywhere i go you go,my dear;”
And in that spirit, I will carry your heart with me. I know I will never be without it. Anywhere you or I may go.
Today, we are again surrounded by friends and family like that beautiful wedding day in Colorado. We are here to celebrate you, the beautiful person you are, the people you loved and who loved you.
You are now at peace, my love. Free from pain, frustration, and that bastard brain cancer. For all of that my mind is joyful, my heart a lot less so.
I love and miss you, Ang. My love, my honey, my hun.