Four years ago today I danced with my bride on a beautiful November evening. We were celebrating the marriage of our youngest daughter Andi, to Jason Clemons. It was a magnificent day. Gwen appeared as if she hadn’t a care in the world, and seemed to be as healthy as anyone could be. She sat proudly watching as I gave our little girl’s hand to Jason—the man God chose for her.
Moments later, as I took my seat beside her and watched Jason gaze lovingly into Andi’s eyes, Gwen wrapped her arm into mine and pulled me close. Leaning against me she whispered, “Don, she’s still your little girl—she will always be your little girl.”
I looked down at her with tears in my eyes—she smiled and added, “I will always be your girl too.” She laid her head on my shoulder for a moment even though the ceremony was beginning. Gwen didn’t care who was watching, she just wanted to be there for me—for us.
At the reception, she made her way from table to table welcoming everyone, thanking them for coming, laughing and enjoying the occasion—nobody felt left out. They all knew Gwen had cancer and would be travelling back to New York City for chemo the next day. But there she was, full of life, giving her best for her daughter’s special day.
Later that evening as I tucked her into bed, she patted the bed beside her and I happily took my seat. She lay her head against me and said, “Don, this has been a wonderful day, hasn’t it? When we were dancing, you looked at me as if you were falling in love for the first time. How do you do that? Thank you for being there, and for loving me.”
I was shocked that she would thank me for loving her. It was an honor—a joy to love her—and she was thanking me? But that’s who Gwen was—that’s who we were. I miss her more than I can put into words.
That Christmas season was filled with hope as we prayed for God’s touch on Gwen’s precious life. Our prayers were answered in a way we didn’t want, but according to God’s perfect plan. It was a wonderful Christmas—our last together.
I remember well one of the most precious things Gwen ever said to me. It was while she was in the hospital in New York the first time. Our lives were filled with uncertainty and pain as she reached her hand out to me and said,
“Snuggle with me for a minute. I need to be next to you, to touch you, to feel the warmth of your skin, just for a minute … maybe two.”
Today, Andi and Jason have never been more in love, and Wendy and Tommy brought a new baby into our family last week (See my blog New Life). Gwen is seeing it all from her eternal perspective. Thank you Jesus. And please Lord—tell her I love her still.
Happy anniversary Andi and Jason! Happy baby, Wendy and Tommy!
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