Photo by Kate
As I looked into her eyes, my breath was drawn away. I couldn’t believe that such joy and love could be contained in such a small person. It was beautiful.
She looked up into my eyes. Never had someone been able to reach so far into my soul as she. How was she able to do this? I had no power to resist her. I was at her mercy, yet, she was full of mercy.
She was young and she gave me such a rush of energy that I felt like a kid again. It brought a small smile to the corner of my mouth as I looked down at her. She had such depth of love in her soul that I could never be that loving to others.
It was magical. The kids would group to her and surround her and just release who they were inside and laugh until it became a contagious disease spreading around the room. What was her power? What did she posses within that lured people into liking her? It had to be her insatiable appetite of love. She genuinely loved everyone.
I felt unworthy to look down in her eyes as she brought a smile up to me from the depths of love below. It was unfair for her. She deserved better than me, yet she chose me to be my wife forever.
It was my daughter’s sixteenth birthday yesterday. It was hard for me to accept that my baby girl was growing up on me. It seemed like just last week I was rocking her to sleep at night. I remember holding her in my arms and looking down into her eyes and thinking that this had to be the most beautiful person on the face of the planet. Now she was on her way to taking another step for herself away from me. Why does she have to go?
She turns eighteen in a week. She looks so much like her mother each day she grows as a young woman. It pains me more each day to think that she will be graduating high school soon. Why has the time gone so fast? Where have the days gone?
She will be twenty two in five days. I never thought I would be wearing a suit again. The last time I was in a suit I was accepting the hand of the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth. Now all these years later, I’m the one giving away the hand of the most beautiful woman on the face of the earth. Tears of joy are raining from the eyes that witness her marriage today. My face hurts from smiling continuously for hours. How was she able to affect everyone this way? Where did she get all this joy and love? It had to be her mother.
She was twenty six when she brought her first child into the world. I received a call late in the night and I rushed to the hospital to be there for her just as I always had been. The road seemed to twist and turn more than normal that night. It began to rain and the road quickly became slippery. The rear-end of the truck slid sideways as I hit a pocket of water and began to hydroplane. I thought to myself, “Please Lord, let me live so that I can see my daughter’s face one more time.”
I awoke to a dimly lit room. I heard a constant beep of the machine hooked up to me. Was I in the hospital? What had happened?
That was when the nurse came in the room. “You’re awake. I thought you never would wake up. You’ve had people worried sick about you.” I soon drifted asleep unable to control my eyes.
A damp cloth being brushed against my forehead brought my eyes open again to the world. Where was I now? What was going on?
I looked around trying to get my eyes to focus on the face in front of me. I thought I saw my wife there in front of me. I blinked hard against the blur. It couldn’t be her, she died so long ago.
It was her. My vision returned to me and I reached up a hand to her face so full of youth and excitement. It was then I noticed the tears running down her checks magnifying her freckles and adding a sparkle to her eyes.
“Daddy. I’m so glad you came back to me. I thought I would never see you again.”
It was my daughter. She looks so much like her mother that it pains me to see her face. Her mother was always smiling and full of joy. My daughter had that and more.
“You’ve been gone for so long.” She whispered in my ear as she hugged me tightly. She cried into my shoulder for hours. What had I done to deserve this?
“Thank God you came back to me. I want you to met someone.” She left the room and soon returned with a small girl with deep blue eyes and a shyness that brought a smile to my face. It reminded me of when my daughter was young and shy.
“Daddy, this is my daughter.”
“She’s just as pretty as her mother. How old is she?”
With a pain that cut deep, “She’s four.”
The shock of her answer set in. Four years. Four years of her life I had missed. I was unable to be there for her for four years? How could it be?
My daughter came back to me and gave me a hug that would set all others to shame. She loved me regardless. She never gave up on me. That was love and it lived within my daughter.
I was the luckiest person alive.
I started to cry. I could no longer hold back the force of emotions. I lost control and sobbed the tears of grief and pain and loss. I felt that I had let her down. I wasn’t there for her.
I held her fiercely. There was only one other person that loved me this way and she was no longer with me.
“I’m sorry honey. I let you down.” It was hard to choke out the words. I had been defeated in one of the most critical times of my daughter’s life. I had let her down.
“No daddy. Don’t say that.” She was now crying uncontrollably as well. “You have never let me down.”
“But I was lying here for over four years! How is that not letting you down?” It came out much harsher than I intended. I cared for my daughter so much. She was all I had left.
“When we were going through your things, I came across this.” She dug into her purse and pulled out a letter. She handed it to me, “Did you know that mom left this for you?”
“What are you talking about?” It was in her handwriting. I recognized it the moment I laid eyes on it.
To the Most Loving, Considerate, and Compassionate Husband in the World-
I have always loved you from the moment I first met you. I thought that I was the most lucky girl in the whole world to be noticed by a tall good looking guy like you.
I have always had a dread in the pit of my stomach that one day I would no longer be with you. This breaks my heart to think about.
To be apart from you for one day is more than I care to think about. I can’t imagine not spending the rest of my life with you.
But should the unthinkable happen, I just want you to know this; I love you more than life itself.
When the time comes that our daughter asks about me, I want her to know who I was through your eyes. No one else knew me better than you.
I love you always and forever.
With a heavy heart I look back into the eyes of my daughter. She has the same eyes as her mother. Her mother lives in her through me.
“I’ll tell you every thing you could ever want to know about your mother. She was always full of joy and happiness, just like you. There was never a day that she wasn’t smiling. When it was hardest for me, that was when she was always by my side, just like you.”