I Choose Love!

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Ten years ago this month, my late husband, Carl and I celebrated our last wedding anniversary together—45 years. Neither of us had any way of knowing that exactly three months from that date, I would be attending his memorial service. So today, I celebrate my 55th anniversary alone. But since Carl and I spent the first year and half of our marriage apart, I have beautiful love letters from that time to keep me company.

It was March 1966, when Carl called me at college on a Tuesday evening and quickly announced, “I just got my orders and have to ship out on Saturday. Can you come to Fort Leonard Wood on Friday and get married?” Wow! Talk about shock.

Naturally, I gave a huge “Yes!” to the question, even though I had no idea how it would happen with only three days to prepare. After I got off the phone, my dormitory girlfriends helped me make plans and by Thursday, my sister-in-law had loaned me her gorgeous wedding gown and my mother picked me up for the trip to Missouri. On Friday, God gave us a beautiful wedding, complete with flowers, organ music and a Chaplain officiating as I walked down the aisle of that little Army chapel to wed my handsome husband in dress uniform.

Less than 12 hours later, we said our goodbyes and didn’t see each other again for 15 months. That year-plus separation was one of the hardest things we had to go through, but those love letters from long ago have been a lifesaver since my husband’s death. When I miss him so much I don’t think I can make it another day, I read a letter that tells me how deep and tender his love for me was, and I push forward.

In these almost ten years that Carl has been in heaven, I’ve found there is much to mourn but also much to cherish. There is still an abundance of love, life and hope to share. And sometimes we have to make a choice as to what we carry forward into our future. I’m choosing love! I think that’s what Carl would want!

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