After all we'd been through together, I would dedicate Penned Without Ink to my husband, my college sweetheart, the man who protected me, my best friend who would do just about anything for me.
As Barry struggled to recover from a traumatic brain injury back in 2003, his condition progressed from the dark of a coma to gradually becoming more active and more aware of his surroundings. Pretty soon he recognized me and our daughters when we came to visit him in the nursing home. We saw him progress from preschool level activities in therapy to more advanced exercises. He had a habit of getting stuck on a word or phrase but kept marching forward with each new day. As time went on, he called me on the phone from the nurses' station. And one day he wrote me a love note on a scrap of paper, now one of my most prized possessions.
I kept my secret quiet as I wrote each chapter and then the final draft. I word-smithed those few lines over and over. They had to sound just right. They had to express my heart. They had to somehow show him how much I loved and appreciated him.
My kind and gentle husband who loves God and his neighbor . . .
My wonderful friend.
I love you.
But he passed away before the book came in the mail. Before the manuscript was edited or even submitted to the publisher. I never got to tell him.
All I could do was change the verbs to past tense.
The bitter-sweet day Penned Without Ink found its way to my mailbox, I could only imagine what it would have been like had he still been here. Would I have pointed the dedication page out to him or let him find it on his own? Either way, I can see his smile . . . feel his hug as he reached for me. "Good job, hon." he would have said.
Instead, I opened the package alone.
The yawning divide between the living and the dead is so permanent. Does he know? I took my secret to the cemetery and had a good cry. I realize Barry isn't there, but it satisfied something deep inside me. Someday we'll walk the golden streets and I'll tell him my secret. Perhaps he'll smile, reach for me with a hug, and say, "Good job, hon."
And I'll lay my head on his shoulder and whisper, "I couldn't have done it without you, Babe."
Two broken and restored people with a story . . . for the glory of God.
Penned Without Ink: Trusting God to Write Your Story is available on Amazon.com.
There are no words, Sarah. Precious.ReplyDelete
Tears are brimming. This reminds me of my memoir, "Bethany's Calendar," that I wrote ten years after she died of a brain tumor. I dedicated the book to her but, unlike you, I never planned on writing her story. God planted that seed in my heart and in obedience I plowed through the writing. I know that your book will bless many. ((HUGS))ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing a bit of your story, Elaine. Your memoir couldn't have been easy to write. Glad you "plowed through" though. Many times, I typed through my tears as I wrote PENNED. Blessings . . .Delete
Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing your heart, Sarah.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Carol. Best to you today . . .Delete
So sweet, Sarah! I am so sorry that Barry could not share this with you. I know the loss is huge! Looking forward to reading my copy soon ;-).ReplyDelete
Sarah, I can “see” the smiling, gracious, loving countenances shared between you and Barry as I read your blog. Thank you for your testimony: two broken and restored people with a story . . . for the glory of God. And your willingness to share, though sometimes with/through tears. “Love you!”Delete
Thanks so much, Jan. Your words are an encouragement - and yes, even through the tears. Sending my love and prayers . . .Delete
God bless you as you carry on with what God and your dear husband would want you to do!ReplyDelete
"Carry on" - a good way to say it. Grateful for new opportunities. Blessings, Norma.Delete
Precious. I understand. My husband died in 2014, only a few months after Breathing on Her Own was released. I trust God in this...as I know you do. but it is a journey. My prayers are with you as God directs your path. I know the book is part of that.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing a common experience. It is a journey, yet grateful for God's presence along the way. I wish you the best in your writing.Delete