Huffpost Weddings
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Doug and Leslie Gustafson Headshot

To My Wife at Valentine's Day

Posted: Updated:

There is nothing like a close brush with death to wake you up -- to life, to what's important, to the real meaning of your journey here on earth. In December 2010, I nearly died -- or at least, was about to. I had problems with my heart, resulting in a high-risk surgery. It was completely unexpected.

After near death and experiencing such extreme vulnerability as a man, you begin to wonder. Not like pondering or daydreaming. We all do that. I mean gut wrenching, soul shaking stuff -- the kind you can't just let go of, that wakes you up in the middle of the night and stirs your heart in ways you aren't used to. Keeps you awake.

Keeps you wondering. About who you really are. What's most important in the days ahead -- assuming you're granted more life. And wondering about those you love.
On this Valentine's Day month, I'm mostly wondering hard about my wife. How she's coping with this heart-defected guy and what she'll do if I leave the stage early. For I'm now having more symptoms and the docs are going back in to take a look just a few days away.

So I'm faced again with whether I'm sick, whether I'll live longer and all that good stuff. But mostly, I'm worried about those I love and what I hope and pray I'll leave my wife in terms of memories. And how she'll move on.

So here are my hopes for my soul mate and best friend. Should I exit early and start the more eternal chapter of my life.

I hope, with all my being:

• You will move on. Really move on. That you, my love, will gather your unshakable faith in life and God and continue your brilliant journey ahead. You are such a light to those around you and I think you're beginning to see that. You carry womanhood so well. Others who know you are so blessed by your engaging mind and sculpted spirit.
• You will find another to love for you are so worth loving, such a light to others and so deserving of being cherished again. I'm the luckiest husband in the world but I'm not irreplaceable.
• You continue to let others see your irradiant heart, your amazing smile and your contagious spirit. You shine so bright. You make such an incredible difference to those blessed to know you.
• That wonder and awe will fill you up, replace moments of loneliness and doubt and take you to new heights. For God, life and the amazing creation we see all around us always reminds you of how much there is to live for.
• You vacation often, to places that inspire you and remind you of the incredible gift of life we've been granted -- as short as it really is.
• That you will never forget me but somehow move on to the next chapter with hope and courage, knowing life hasn't ended but simply taken a turn in another direction.
• That you will realize that I've loved you deeply. Not because I'm so capable of loving another, but because you are so lovable and incredibly beautiful in body and especially spirit. You are my best friend and I don't think there is any way I could love you more. Take credit for all of that. You're an amazing woman. Amazing.

So those, my love, are some of the things I hope for as you move on in life. Chances are, I have more years ahead of me and we'll continue to spend shining and even riveting days in our shared future. Where we continue our love spree and dedication to our faith and the amazing intimacy we share. It's so fun to love you, know you and spend time in life with you.

And I hope the news is good and that this Valentine's Day is one of celebration and rejoicing. Where we are thankful to have another day and we reflect on the days we'll share ahead. But no matter what happens -- now or in the future -- know that every day with you makes me smile and brings me joy. Every day with you is Valentine's Day, as our hearts beat together and we ponder the wonder of love, of deep connection and how blessed we are to have each other.

So let me say, Happy Valentine's Day. It's a day of heart reflection, of looking at the love we have like a snapshot in a really important photo shoot. And a day to ask about the status of our hearts. Mine may be a bit out of kilter, but in terms of love and hope, it beats wildly for you. You're the love of my life.