…and that’s a great thing.
When I met his father, I was blown away by the love he demonstrated for his wife. Actually, he called her his “bride.” 26 years of marriage and he still called her his bride.
Matt’s dad died when Matt and I had only been dating nine months. He died one week after my 18th birthday. The last time I saw him was my surprise birthday party and I remember that night like it was yesterday.
Matt and I were at his house with his dad and brother. Matt’s mom came home from work, exhausted because managing a nursing home and running a nursing staff for the nursing home was an exhausting job. I remember my mother- and father-in-love dancing around the living room and Mike saying something sweet about “his bride.”
My birthday party that night was incredible. We ate at Quincy’s (best broccoli soup and best yeast rolls in the world) along with many of my friends. After the festivities I rode with Matt’s family back to my house where they dropped me off. Mike (Matt’s dad) kissed me on the cheek and it meant a lot.
That kiss grew to mean a lot more to me a week later when we found out Matt’s dad had passed away in the night. Matt was staying at my house with my family (it was innocent…we were NOT in the same room!!) because we were attending a Youth Conference that weekend. My parents woke us both up in the night and drove us to Matt’s house.
When Sybil met us at the door and told us Mike was gone, the first thing I said was, “He won’t be at my wedding.” The next thing I new I was in the living room… worst night of my life.
We miss that man and the father he was, the father he would have continued to be, and the amazing grandfather he would have been to our four boys.
But, the beautiful thing is that I can see Mike in Matt. Every day. In the way he treats me as, not just his wife, but as his bride. The title of this blog post and the desire to write it came to me while we were running together a few weeks ago. See, when we walk (or run) on a sidewalk he forces me to the inside edge, as far away from the cars as possible… something he does to protect me, to show me he loves me, and it warms my heart. It makes me fall in love with him again, every single time. It reminds me of the love I saw between his parents. He really is turning into his dad, and that’s such a wonderful thing! Today was our colors casing ceremony. It’s military ceremony in which the unit’s flag is cased before they deploy. In theater the unit uncases the flag and it is flown there during the time in they are deployed. Before they head back home, they case it again and once back home, it’s uncased. That means it won’t be long until these solders are doing what they’ve trained for down range. This means that the butterflies have settled into my stomach and they are causing my heart to beat much more noticeably. My heart isn’t racing, but I can feel every single pulse. Almost like it knows that part of it will exist on a different continent for an extended period of time.
Below is a picture of Matt praying during the ceremony. Here is our beautiful American flag and our unit’s flag, which has already been cased. And here we are with both of our flags! Old Glory and 1-227’s cased colors.Matt’s dad doesn’t get to witness the amazing man his son has become. He doesn’t get to witness the four amazing men we are raising. But I believe when we are reunited in heaven there will be some amazing words of sheer joy passed from father to son. This man makes me proud. This man is turning into his father and in a way that I can honestly say that I prayed for when I witnessed the love between his parents. I know I am the most blessed woman on the planet.
This made me cry.
Beautiful words, Jennifer.
I am sitting here just choked up with tears slipping out of the corners of my eyes. What a tribute to Matt’s dad, and a tribute to Matt, and what a wonderful thing for you to notice and write this sweet, sweet blog post about. This is the best one yet 🙂
Well said Jennifer!
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