To my dearest wife: Congratulations on another milestone in life!
You have brought me many joys and much "rest in your love." All your family and those of other friends, who have known you, join together in singing:
"Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all."
I delight in you and never tire of your blessed Presence. You refresh my soul.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning said it best:
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise;
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith;
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death!
I DO !!!
This I wrote to my beloved wife on the occasion of her 83rd. birthday last February. I can add to that excellent love poem what the Apostle Paul said, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you," Jeanette. You are no longer with us in the flesh for you are now walking the streets of "Jerusalem the Golden," rejoicing in your reunion with your dear parents and youngest brother and my parents who have preceded you. There must be dozens of other friends of yesteryear to greet in that happy land. And surely the angel choir around the throne of Christ has welcomed you into the alto section, where you loved to sing from early college years to your golden years.
Though you are no longer present in body you are still present in spirit in every room of our valued home. I used to thank my God everyday for the constancy of your love. Truly you exemplified each of the four loves the Greeks spoke so warmly about. We began with the love of friendship when we lived across the alley from each other as I roomed in the home of the absent pastor and chaplain in Harrisburg, Illinois. But we soon discovered that we were developing that intimate love that led to our marriage in that church. From that eros love you gave me five wonderful children, who are now such a comfort to me in your absence.
During those eventful years of their growing up in our home you demonstrated the kind of stogie love that gave special care to each of our five. And through it all, as you experienced the agape love God has showered upon us in His own Son,our Lord. For you have given that gracious and undemanding love to all kinds of people in our several churches and neighborhood friends. That love was the capstone of the life you gave to me that we might richly enjoy the oneness of being that no other can give.
You have, indeed, been my complement, not only my "better half" but, yes, even my better three-quarters. Your leaving us last week has left me, my family and a host of friends at grievous loss. But we take comfort in the multitude of "precious memories," as the old-time song has it, and truly "rejoice at every remembrance of you." I do still love you and will always love you in the innermost secret place of my broken heart.
Most of all I look forward to our reunion on that happy shore when God shall call me to our everlasting home. Goodbye for now, my darling Jeanette.
Your devoted husband.
Last Updated: February 11, 2001