Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Love Letter Campaign: I Loved You Before I Met You

Dear Randy,

The day after Valentines Day will mark the 12th Anniversary of the day we met.

“I loved you before I met you” Our Song – holds  the perfect words to describe my love for you. “I saw your face in my dreams, I felt the warmth of your embrace, I saw the love in your eyes”. 

Year after year as men came and went in my life – I did not recognize them. None had the familiar face and the warmth in their smile that came with the man in my dreams.  Not until you.  Not until that cold and dreary morning - February  15, 2000 when standing in the pouring rain I reached out to shake your hand – and looked up into your eyes for the first time – and there you were – the man I had dreamed of all those years.  There you were standing in front of me.  And that moment I knew…you had finally arrived.  I say it was love at first sight – but actually I had been in love with you long before our eyes finally met. 

I had given up on love.  Thirteen years of marriage to a man that I never felt love from. Nine years of dating,  seven of those on and off  with a man who was incapable of commitment and unable to say the words “I love you”.  I was waiting for you.  Another disappointing Valentines Day - and then there you were.  You were my motorcoach driver for the VIP group that I was taking to Reno for a customer appreciation event.  My customers had all met you – and loved you.  My little old ladies - “Blue Hairs” as you so fondly referred to them, wrote letters requesting “Blue Eyes”  to be their driver.  But somehow  you had eluded me ………until that rainy morning.  I tended to my customers, and you to your driving, but I just couldn’t get you out of my mind. Sitting behind you for the four hour drive across the mountains – so close I could reach out and touch you – yet so far away.  Was it just my imagination, or did you hold my hand just a little too long as you helped me off the bus!
.  That touch was electric – and warmed me to my core on that cold wintry day. 

I had already made plans with friends for that evening, and as you dropped us off I said goodnight and laughed about you being single. I said that I had someone “in mind for you”  and to my disappointment you smiled and said that would be nice – when could you meet her.  I meant me. Later that night when my friends and I parted, I  called to tell you that I had left something on the bus. You were staying across town at a different hotel but said quickly – I’ll be right there.  You must have flown – no more than I got out to the front entrance of the hotel then you were there.  Smiling at me and asking “what did you leave on the bus?” Embarrassed by my boldness I answered – “YOU” .

We talked and laughed for hours.  I can still remember the smell of your leather jacket, and the scent of your cologne.  And your eyes, your face, your hair, so new and yet so familiar.  The exact man that had been in my dreams for all those years. 

The next day, you and my fifty VIP customers dropped me off at the Reno airport.  I had another group that I was meeting to escort on a trip to New York City.  One hundred eyes were upon us as you helped me off the bus and I waited on the sidewalk for you to bring my suitcase - and then, blind to those 100 eyes you hugged me good-bye. 

As I flew across the country, I wondered what the future would bring.  You were a “driver” and I was the Regional Sales Manager.  Not the best combination for a relationship, and not one that the company we worked for would look kindly on. 

Six days later I arrived with my group at the airport in San Francisco.  My 13 year daughter and my mom had been on the New York trip with me.  As I scanned the baggage claim area for my driver --- there you were.  My heart stopped.  What would my daughter think of you?  She had not liked one single man that I had dated in nine years.  As we walked towards each other your arms went around me – not in a quick friendship greeting – but a powerful, make my knees shake and my heart tremble kind of hug.  The kind of hug that made my daughter and my mom take notice.

  “Who IS THAT? My thirteen year old demanded.

“Just the driver”  I replied.  Hum, was her response.

To my surprise the bus was filled with drinks and snacks. “Oh I knew that it had been a long trip and thought it might be nice for the passengers”.  You nonchalantly whispered. You were  right.  46 people and our flight from New York had been cancelled that morning – and finally 12 long hours later we had arrived in San Francisco and still had a four hour bus trip home.  A nightmare of a day was putting it mildly.  But instantly you made it better. I was amazed by your thoughtfulness. This wasn’t the kind of thing that drivers did.

We talked all the way home.  You told me of your twelve years in the Navy, your career in aerospace, your aspirations of making the Senior Golf Pro tour until an injury killed your dreams.  After your third marriage ended you decided to come home to your roots in Redding.  The thought of 3 marriages scared me – but you explained them all away. 

You were scheduled for another trip that would take you away for a few days, but promised to call when you got home.  True to your word you called and invited me to dinner.

How could something that felt so right also feel so wrong?  We were both seeing someone else – for you a relatively short term relationship – and she lived  three states away in Colorado.  And I was seeing a man that I had dated on and off for nearly seven years.  He had recently accepted a position in a City three hours away. 

We talked about us – about our possibilities – about our feelings. We were in agreement that if we were to proceed to explore a relationship we would both need to be free. 

To pursue you and the unknown, to see if what I felt in my heart after such a very short time of knowing you, presented me with a very big decision.  I would have to end a relationship with the man who had stood next to me during the most difficult time in my life – my son’s losing battle with cancer. 

After knowing you only three weeks – and only seeing you a handful of times I choose YOU.

We became inseparable when our schedules allowed.  Andrea adored you. On our six month anniversary the three of us were driving to Chevy’s for dinner.  My dear daughter commented on the Full Moon, suggesting that it would be a great night for a proposal.  Embarrassed, I hushed her.  At dinner you pulled out a blue velvet box, set it on the table and proposed to US.  WE SAID YES.  Two months later we had a beautiful Wedding – everything feel into place so easily, just like it was meant to be. Andrea my maid of honor, and your son your best man.  My dreams had come true.  I was happier than I had ever been.  I felt loved as I had never felt loved before.

The first few years were wonderful, everything that I could have imagined. Then suddenly our dream ended when you developed some medical problems and were no longer able to work.  It seemed repercussions from your two tours in Vietnam over 40 years ago had risen out of nowhere and were now threatening to ruin our lives.  Not only your diagnosis of diabetes and accompanying complications from your exposure to Agent Orange, but also the invisible wounds of  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Our bed was filled with the horrors and nightmares  of Vietnam.

Suddenly I was living with a stranger – I did not know that man – how to talk to him – how to help him. I had no idea what had happened to my beloved husband.

I had no idea what was happening to you or to me.  We both went through the gamut of emotions.  Fear – anger - depression.  Time after time I questioned if I could continue to live with this stranger who had intruded into my life as an unwelcome visitor.  If I could continue to hang on – to wait for the man that I fell in love with to return.  But suddenly – there you were, a small glimpse of the man that I feel in love with.  Reminding me that you were worth waiting for.  I had,
already waited all of my life for you.  And then as quickly as you returned, you would disappear again.

The years have moved from love to fear to anger and back again.  But always back to love.  Lately, you have been so much better. You have worked so hard to get better.  I hold my breath, afraid to get too comfortable, to forget the stranger that still looms inside you.  But these last weeks have been so wonderful.  We have laughed again, held hands and cuddled on the couch.  You decided we needed to get away – we played golf, we had fun…it was reminiscent of our honeymoon.  It was wonderful.  Your physical pain is still there – but your heart and mind have returned to me. 

The final icing on cake was when you hung up the telephone and said,
“The boys asked me to play golf tomorrow – but I told them that I go to church on Sundays – that is my day with my wife, and we always have lunch with her family”. 

You complemented me on my hair, on my dinner, you seem happy … despite  your pain.  I hope and pray that you are here to stay.  I thank God for the progress that you have made.  But even if the stranger returns – my heart will remember YOU – and why I loved you before I met you – and love you with all my heart today and always.

Happy Valentines Day My Love,



I Loved You Before I Met You

Maybe it's intuition
But some things you just don't question
Like in your eyes, I see my future in an instant
And there it goes,
I think I found my best friend
I know that it might sound
More than a little crazy
But I believe

I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life

There's just no rhyme or reason
Only the sense of completion
And in your eyes, I see
The missing pieces I'm searching for
I think I've found my way home
I know that it might sound
More than a little crazy
But I believe

I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life

A thousand angels dance around you
I am complete now that I've found you


This blog post is part of The Love Letter Campaign... a project started by FamilyOfaVet.com to encourage those who love a hero to write a letter sharing their story (where they started, what they've faced together, and why their love endures). It's not just for spouses, but also for parents, siblings, caregivers, and friends. It's about telling the "rest" of our stories... stories that continue despite PTSD, TBI, and the challenges of life after combat. To share your love letter or find out more about the campaign, visit http://www.familyofavet.com/love_letters.html.

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