For thirty-five years, you have never broken that promise. Not once. No matter what I did, or what I did not do but should have done.
It was easy to have me and to hold me for the better, but you had me and held me for the worse as well. A lot of worse. Without thought for your own well-being, but for mine. When you came to Family Week at the alcohol treatment center you said, “I thought I was here to help you. If I had known it was to help me, I would not have come.”
And that broke my heart when I realized how badly I had broken your heart. How I had ignored your needs and wants for my own. You were always giving your Self away but never, ever taking anything for your Self in return.
But it was those two broken hearts, yours and mine together, that gave me the will, the strength, and the courage to change—so that, for the first time, I might give back some of the Self you always gave so freely to me.
I wanted to give you love, and respect, and comfort, I wanted to protect you from your fears—all the things I never knew how to give to anyone. Most of all, I wanted to restore the trust you gave me with your marriage promise because, without it, anything I ever tried to give would be suspect, hollow, and untrustworthy.
Twenty-one years of sobriety later, I think I have regained your trust, and I think I have given you some of the things I promised to give: To take, to have, to hold, to love, and to cherish you, until death do us part.
And I'm still working on it.
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For the first time ever in Blogville, please meet Martha. (The photo can be enlarged by clicking on it.)
I love you,