Desperately ill my husband spent most of his days and nights in bed. He was unable to get up and sit in a chair for five minutes. Benign positional vertigo (there was NOTHING BENIGN about it), a stroke, and Sarcoidosis had taken my sweetie from Law Professor, Associate Dean of Career Services to bedbound.
I had lost my business, Harmony Home. I had a thriving childcare business in our home. After Nyle became so ill I fell and ruined my back. I could no longer handle the physical demands of caring for infants up to children ten years of age.
So, we had gone from a comfortable two career income to nothing, not one penny coming in. Unfortunately, lots of pennies needed to go out.
It was the night before my birthday and I was filled with hopelessness, and despair. I saw no joy in our future. I saw only the empty half of life's glass, and even the contents of it were spilling out rapidly.
I went to bed exhausted in every way possible. It seemed a cruel joke that the next day was my birthday. Birthdays had ALWAYS been very special in Nyle and my family. They were also special in my family growing up. Even if there was little money, there was ALWAYS lots of love.
When I awakened I smelled something extremely floral. I jumped out of bed and ran to the front room. Then I had to sit down quickly in a chair in shock. On the dining room table was flowers, of all kinds and varieties, brilliant colors, soft colors, sweet roses, soft orchids, the sensory thrill was overwhelming.
I ran back to Nyle and climbed on the bed next to him. I threw my arms around his neck crying. (I cry when I'm happy almost more then when I'm sad). "How, when, why? Were the almost incoherent questions that tumbled from my lips.
He said, "After you went to sleep I was so sad. I just couldn't let you have a birthday that was awful. You do so much for all of us around here." (He didn't know that just those words were a HUGE gift for me....the affirmation of my value to our family). I had to do something. We have no money, and there weren't any stores still open except Winco. I walked up and down the aisles desperately trying to think of anything, anything that I could buy with our limited funds that would make your day special."
"At the florist section I saw that they were about to get rid of many, many cut flowers that were still lovely. I asked how much it would cost to buy the entire lot. They named a prize that we could afford. I had a hard time carrying them to the car, and back in the house there are so many. Happy Birthday Sweetheart!"
Happy Birthday indeed, for you see the present that he DIDN'T mention was the sacrifice it took for him to just get dressed, get in a car, drive to a store, and then walk up and down the aisles for a long time. He probably had to stop and throw up a time or two for he would cough really, really hard, and that would trigger the nausea.
Knowing that I was loved, and loved like that, the world was suddenly lovely beyond compare. Hope was everywhere that I looked. Our two girls came squealing in to our bedroom with birthday wishes for me, and my joy was complete. We didn't need money as long as we had each other.
Even now that Nyle's mission on earth is finished and he's received a "transfer," to a different place of service, I feel his love around me. Especially on this day 11/11 that is so precious to me. Thank you Nyle for love, hope, and faith, ESPECIALLY in the darkest times of our life together.