Heaven, Hell, and the Wilderness

Dear David,

I tried to find a card.  Impossible.

By the time I think of it, the card isles are jammed.  You have to stand on tiptoes and read over the shoulders of complete strangers who are willing to throw an elbow to get what they want.  And for what?  Some insipid sentiments written by somebody who doesn't know what we've been through together, who doesn't know the whole story, who can only guess at how we really feel. 

Do you remember Valentine's Day 2000?  I know you do, if only because I rehearse it every Valentine's Day.  But, I find that I have to talk about it, because it is the evidence of my love, my insides outside.

It was a Monday.  You had left me the night before at my parents' house to head back to San Diego for work.  I was sick.  So past sick.  It felt like if I didn't hold tight to life I might just float away.  I was pregnant with Savannah and my body was not happy about it.  I had been prescribed a new medicine and didn't find out until evening that I was allergic to it.  I could not control my jaw or my tongue.  They called it a distonic reaction.  The top half of my face wanted to face the opposite way of the bottom half of my face.  I could not control my own muscles.  My mom desperately drove me around town trying to get me some help.  Everywhere we went people just stared.  We even ended up at an herbalist, and if you know my mom you know how desperate she must have been by then.  Unfortunately, this only made me throw up black and green.

When it started to get hard to breathe she took me to the emergency room.  When my brother arrived to give me a blessing he said, shocked, "What's wrong with her?"  And the nurse quietly asked, "Is she usually normal?" (Clearly not.)  Eventually they got me the Benedryl I needed and I gratefully went back to just throwing everything up.

And this was only one day in our story.  One day of the many difficult ones.  One day of the many joyous ones.  Can you see how much I love you?  I hope you know it has all been for you.  For us. 

When we got married, I had high hopes for a perfect life.  "Welcome to heaven," and all that.  But as you know, it has mostly been a difficult stint in the wilderness, and even at times, brief moments in hell.  I didn't know.  I didn't know all that we were saying "yes" to.  I am so glad it is your hand I am holding in this lone and dreary world.  I would have quit just outside of Eden if you weren't there loving me despite, encouraging me even though, cherishing me inspite of, staying regardless of, and fiercely loyal anyway.

I love you.  In heaven, in hell, and especially in the wilderness.

Love, Ap