Being Tiffany’s caregiver for 17 months caused me to feel a deeper love than I ever imagined possible. Before she was sick I thought I loved her deeply. I had no idea.
This picture is Dec 14, 2014 right after church in Katy, Texas. Two weeks before Tiffany’s body succumbed to cancer. She passed away on Jan 1, 2015. My sister Alissa took the photo and captioned it appropriately “A Love Through the Ages.” Tiffany true to form turned and kissed me just as the picture was snapped. She brings a smile to my face.
As I recently contemplated this deep love and it’s source I felt a desire to express it by writing a letter to Tiffany.
I thought I knew what love was when we met at sixteen and were instantly best friends.
Over these 32 years I have been amazed at how that love has grown never imagining how deep it would and could become.
I loved you more when you said “yes!” and we got married.
I loved you more when your belly was about to pop five times and you were so excited and I was so nervous.
I loved you more when you gave birth five times and over the pain smiled with joy and love at the life you brought into the world.
I loved you more when you were tired at the end of the day and I’d come home from work and you were sitting on the couch out of your mind and drained of energy and our children still running around like crazy and you apologized for not having dinner ready and I gave you a kiss and said “let’s go out to dinner!”.
I loved you more when as you were still asleep after a colonoscopy the doctor with sad eyes and a grim expression invited me into a private consultation room and showed me the images of a large tumor completely blocking your colon.
I loved you more as we cried together alone in the hospital room and I said through tears “it’s all so overwhelming” and you looked at me with compassion and tears in your eyes and a tube down your nose and nodded your head.
I loved you more when we found out the tumor was colon cancer which had already spread to your liver and you responded by writing down all the things you were grateful for.
I loved you more as we sat day after day in the infusion rooms and you smiled and chatted with and befriended the other patients encouraging them and sharing your love and faith.
I loved you more as your body became too weak to ride your bike and you looked at me with sadness but acceptance and I helped you put the bike back in the garage for the last time.
I loved you more as you were determined to walk through the door into the grand room where our son was getting married and 60 friends and family were already seated and I helped you get out of the wheelchair and held your hand and steadied you as you made your grand entrance into the room and walked to your seat of honor with a grand smile on your beaming face.
I loved you more as your body was shutting down and you asked for me to drive you around to look at the Christmas lights one last time and you looked out the car window without saying anything deep in your own thoughts.
I loved you more as I lay next to your side in our bed at midnight as the New Year rang in as the fireworks exploded in the sky around us and your breathing gently slowed and you quietly took your last mortal breath.
I loved you more as I felt your spirit freed from your body and fill our home and my heart with the most incredible love I never imagined I could feel.
Yes, I thought I knew what love was back then. 32 years later now I know.