Preface: Eli is continuing to progress with her cancer. Life is starting to get very difficult for her but we have been pretty successful managing what needs to be managed. As part of this process I’ve decided to try to be a little like Eli as I try to figure out what this crazy world has given me.
The Remarkable Fortune of Knowing an Exceptional Person
An undeniable compulsion to share our unique experiences with life drives civilization. Through the grace of this obligation, the myriad forms of individual expression emerged. A writer reveals their language, the chef shares their palate, and an athlete demonstrates the incredible potential of the human body.
Eli drew heavily on these three forms of expression while she shared her experience with those who loved her, knew her, and found strength without them ever even meeting my remarkable wife. A perfectionist, often to a fault, Eli chose to disclose her impressions on life with illness though a series of creative acts. Her habit of filtering the world through a lens of ingenious beauty changed me forever.
After living for years with Eli, and watching her work on countless blog posts, I saw a pattern emerge: Every time she finished polishing a piece and published it, her spirits lightened. Her attitude improved starting with each final keystroke, and this sense of accomplishment meant some kind of reset to her emotional clock. I share my written thoughts today in hope of finding a similar feeling.
I must start by saying that Eli was not perfect. This is a strange way to start a blog about a person, but her blemishes are just as important as her bright spots. No marriage or person is without flaw but what was flawless, what was perfect, was how we loved each other. Love, I find, is the easiest place to start and it’s what we had the most off. We are very different people and we have opposite dispositions to many things, but in those dispositions we each found something we both lacked.
I always felt a bit of jealousy for how Eli let the world pull on her emotions. The depth of feelings she would have far surpassed what I could ever feel. Lying in bed we would stare into each other’s eyes, she would start to tear up and blubber out a heartfelt, “I love you so much.” All I could ever muster up was a gentile smile and a simple, “Too.” The spelling of this little adverb evolved into our way of saying, “I love you,” because I kept spelling too as to. She never had any tolerance for my questionable command of my native language.
I’ve always been guarded with my emotions, keeping as even-keeled as possible. Whether I did this out of some kind of fear or a desire to stay more permanently happy, I don’t know. But, what I do know now is that all of the pain is worth all of the love one can share. Share as much as you can. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!
Love and experiences are two of the three things that really matter to me. Life is visceral, and you gain little without a fearless commitment to contacting the unknown. Our fear, complacency, or indulging in the bliss of ignorance often stops us from truly coming into contact with the extraordinary fullness of the world. These things never slowed Eli in the slightest. This urgent need to leave her comfort zone attracted me immediately. Awed me by her knowledge of the globe, I couldn’t help but fall in line and join this quest to savor all.
The third thing that matters to me is that we take the time to appreciate what’s been given to us in this world. Only a few people outside of my family transformed the way I choose to live my life. These friends, mentors, teachers, and coaches communicated ideas in ways I never imagined before, and decided to always remember. I know their names, recall the dates, and have the distinct feeling of knowing life was one way before them, and altered ever since. This is not to say that I always understood that I had brushed up against an extraordinary person at the time. As time goes by, all I can do is consider my outstanding good luck for having met so many of these people. And, to continue to put you on a pedestal, you belong on the top of that list.
You touched so many people in this extraordinary capacity, and I am grateful without measure for our time together. I am proud to always call you my wife, my friend, my “Love Bug”. You’ve made my world develop in so many different ways, and I thank you for being in it. I wish we had more time to share in this Earth’s bounties, but I promise you that I’ll continue to try to be like you. I’ll be brave and open. I’ll eat great food and host many parties. I’ll live my life for the both of us.
Thank You, Thank You, A Million Times Thank You!