As I sit here missing Dan, I thought of this song. In many ways, he was a gambler. He took his risks and he placed his bets on those things in which he believed. Many payed him back well; others left him feeling the loss. He may have made different choices, but he would have gambled on living life his way.
As I listen to the lyrics of this song, I relate to the words about the song in the heart of a woman and how her song could only be released by the truest of loves.
I was that woman. Dan’s love set the hidden melody that was inside of my lonely heart free. I was free to love him totally without reserve or fear. That in and of itself is a miracle.
Without Dan in my life, I would have been bamkrupt of the joy or contentment. I, forever, will know difference betweeen true love and what is produced by expectations or media influence. So, many live a lifetime and never know what true love feels like. I am one of the lucky ones. His love gave me so many wonderful gifts.
Dan loved beautiful things. His eye could always find the fine lines in a classic car. (Sorry to say that he didn’t like the looks of today’s cars very much).
He admired the touch and skill of a sculptor and their finished creation. He was mesmerized by the muse that struck the artist’s hands.
He loved the essence of color in all living things. He never overlooked the colors in a mountain scene or the display of color in a sunset.
Because of his artistry, he loved women and his eyes rested on me and I became the literal definition of the word “Wife”; the desire of the eyes.
He found beauty in all women. He gave compliments easily and he meant them. He never “flattered”. He stated the obvious. Many believed that he was just saying empty words or that he had an agenda; they misunderstood him. His security in his manhood allowed him to be sincere. He meant what he said.
Lately, I have pondered all of the gifts he gave me. They are not of the material nature. His love was a key that unlocked so many things that were out of sight, especially my sight. The best gift was my discovery of all that was held within my heart.
He made me understand what it was like to be cherished. I did not know what it was like to be valued like a precious gem. It was in the safety of his love that allowed me to dance in the palm of his hand and I saw him delight in me. I was amazed. His eyes became my “looking glass”.
Without Dan in my life, I would never have known such joy. I grew up with a father that didn’t value women. He never gave compliments and he insisted that women were not “made” to do the things that he respected. Sadly, I learned at an early age that women were of less value than men. I learned to discount my worth because I was a female.
Dan taught me that all of me was of value and he celebrated my womanhood, my femininity because he had a deep respect for strong woman. I believe his understanding of women was because of his grandmother. His love for her formed his respect for women, and because of her, he was not threatened by their strength. He admired their strength as well as their beauty.
In his eyes, I had that strength. He didn’t try to dominate it nor did he try to control it. Instead, he nurtured it and it grew within my heart. He saw my strengths and was not intimidated.
He delighted in most everything that I did. It didn’t matter if I was singing in church or in a Karaoke bar, Dan was my greatest fan. He never failed to encourage me after a song and he told me when I needed to use more air to keep the pitch. He had an acute ear for music.
He would tell me how he loved watching my hair blowing in the wind as we rode the Harley. He said that he loved the shades of brown and red highlights my hair.
Sometimes, he would sit and stare at me. When this began to unnerve me, I would ask him what he was looking at so intently. I always expected a critism, but he never gave one. He commented on the petitness of my hands and how he loved to watch me play piano.
But, the comments that I will store lovingly in my heart of hearts will be the ones he gave me for just being who and what I was. I will never forget the evening that we went to the symphony. I finished getting ready and came out of the bedroom. In a hushed voice, he said, ” You look stunning.”. I had never heard that phrase before in my life. I was speechless. I always felt beautiful with him.
He always told me that how much he loved my shape and the feel of my skin. He helped me become comfortable with living in my body. Somewhere inside of me, I reasoned that if a man like Dan loved my body, why should I not trust that there was value in it. Without his love, I could not have discovered the joy of being a woman.
Everyday, I take the time to make myself look the best that I can. I want to make him look good. I am proud to be his widow, as much as I was proud to be his wife, the desire of his eyes.
After thinking about the song that Dan’s love released inside of me, I realized that his love set my heart free to be me. And then a new discovery came forth. For the first time in my life, I am free .
I was no longer in the role of wife or parent. At first, I felt the emptiness that this kind of loss brings. For these past few months, I felt the sting of not being someone’s wife and I struggled to understand just who and what I was to do now. As I grieved over these losses, as well as his death, I felt abandoned and useless.
Then, it came to me. I have no parents to disappoint nor do I have a husband to please. My children are grown and the responsibilities for their upbringing has past me. I am no longer required.
But, as I processed this feeling of detachment, I came to a new realization. I am free to be just be whomever I am and I am free to go wherever it takes me. I was surprised by my own reaction to this understanding.
I am acutely aware that my time on this earth is running low and I have discoveries to make about myself and the person who has lived and survived so many tragedies.
His gift of love freed me to a new horizon that I did not know existed. I began to feel a new kind of relief. A relief that I do not totally understand.
In someways, it feels like when I was in middle school and I was just learning about the wonders of a world outside of my parents and church.
I suppose it feels like a new birth of sorts. That is the best way I know how to describe it.
I do know that I have a different appreciation for life than my peers. I know that I want the final 25 years of my life to be more and not less. Because I am widowed and without the responsibilites of parenting, I am not confined by these roles which allows me to be redefined by the present and not the past.
I don’t want to sound as if I begrudged those roles of daughter, wife, mother, step mother and grandmother. That is far from the truth. Rather, it feels like the spark of a new fire that is being kindled inside of me. It borders on excitement…I seem to have forgottem what that felt like.
Yes, Dan’s love set me free and, now, I am trying to learn how to “soar”. To rely on my own set of wings. I am so very grateful to him and the love he gave to me.
As I watched this video, I was taken by all of the beautifl landscapes and sunsets. I thought of how Dan saw the Rockies for the first time as he drove his Semi truck through the high passes. As I watched further into the video, I saw his life and the many miles that he lived providing for his loved ones.
The lyrics speak of a light in the depth of the darkness and a calm in the eye of every storm. Maybe, I am beginning to see both the light and calm….
His love was for a very important season of my life. I will always have it and I have one more obligation to him. I believe it would be his desire for me to learn to really live. He would want the effects of his life to shine on past his days here. And the best place to see the beauty of his life’s sunset is in the lives of those he loved.
How is the best way to thank him for everything he was to me? I believe the best thanks to him is for me to live, live well. And I shall live a life of thanksgiving for the man who set my heart free….