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Before I started tapping on this keyboard, I opened my wallet and pulled out his picture. I keep it buried not only within the folds of my wallet, but buried deep in my soul, my memory, and deep within all the stuff that makes me – me.

I’m not like this – pushy.  But I saw him across the room and I couldn’t take my eyes off him.  For heaven’s sake, I wasn’t a kid.  But his look, his mannerism, his seeming ease and confidence.  I was hungry to know him.  But – well, life is filled with “buts.”  I didn’t realize it at the time, but I soon learned, he “saw” me watching him – checking him out.  Thinking about the “buts,” I turned myself to face a different direction.  And then, surprise – there he was, coming to me, pulling up a chair, introducing himself.

He was special.

Yes, I have a birthday.  But that day – that day was my “lifeday.”  It’s marked on my calendar as the day my life truly began.

There was nothing perfect about this or what was to follow. For a start, we each were committed to another and we each took that commitment seriously.  At the same time, though, we were committed to each other.

Time was not our enemy.  In fact, with each passing moment our respect for and love for each other deepened. And it seemed that every time my fortunate eyes gazed on him, I could feel my pulse race.  Once, when we were about to return to our “other lives,” a stranger came up to us.  This stranger said to me, “I’ve never seen a man who loved a woman as much as he loves you.  How fortunate you two are.”

I let him take the lead when he received his cancer diagnosis.  I wanted to yell and scream, “Now, let’s open the shades to warmth and sunshine.  Now, time is precious.”  But I didn’t impose.  I didn’t demand.  This was HIS diagnosis, HIS life, HIS right, HIS choice.  Yet I felt relegated – to a “place” I didn’t like – where “us” didn’t exist.

While the road was bumpy, he was surviving.

And then I received a cancer diagnosis. The only thing comforting then was realizing that how I’d responded to HIS diagnosis was absolutely “right on.”

That special time, the special 5-year relationship that truly blessed me, was 20 years ago.  After our diagnoses, we chose to say good-bye.  There were no tears.  Only warmth.  We each wanted to remember it as the truly special time it was.

Recently, his friend reached out to me. His cancer had returned and it was terminal.  His friend thought it would be “good, even helpful” if I visited him.  I’ve decided that I won’, though.

Am I right?  Is this correct? As I understand it, my Special One has not asked to see me.  And while his friend may think my visit would give comfort, it might be more disconcerting and upsetting.  And so, I’ll say my good-bye’s from this vantage point.

Good-bye, special friend.  You opened my eyes, my heart, my mind, my soul. How wonderful you are.   You taught me love – love without demands, requirements, or price-tags.

Tonight my grandchildren will visit, and I will shower special love on them. I learned how to from the best.

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