12 Years Ago Today…
. . . I married the love of my life, Michael B. Caffrey, in Waukegan, Illinois.
Had Michael lived, we’d be celebrating twelve happy years together. I have no doubt of this.
I also have no doubt that Michael is the person I was intended to be with all along. I didn’t find him until I was in my mid-thirties, going through a second divorce. But I did find him, we did marry, and we had two wonderfully blessed years together.
I know duration does not equal value. (If it did, my first marriage would be three and a half times more important than my marriage to Michael. Which is flatly absurd.) But I do wish we’d have had more time together.
That said, out of our union came several wonderful things. The Elfyverse, for one . . . I can’t imagine writing the ELFY duology (of which part one is AN ELFY ON THE LOOSE) without knowing Michael, because I wouldn’t have had any idea at all what love truly was about without him.
In 1 Corinthians 13, verses 4-8, the Bible says this about love (quoting the GOD’S WORD® Translation from BibleHub.com):
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. 5It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. 6It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. 7Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.
8Love never comes to an end.**
Note that this is exactly how Michael was, with me. He was extremely patient. He was unfailingly kind. He certainly wasn’t jealous — he was the farthest possible thing from that. He was a self-effacing man who, when I complimented him, almost always tried to turn it away — and when he did accept it, did so modestly. (Or humorously. Or maybe both.)
And I believe verse 5 — love not being rude, not thinking about itself, not being irritable and not keeping track of wrongs — also applies to Michael. Because he wasn’t rude. (Trust me; with two ex-husbands behind me, I well know what rude can be in a marital context.) And he faced life with a courage and optimism that I’ve never seen out of another living soul . . . something that continues to give me strength, nearly ten years after his body went to dust.
I especially think verse 6 in this particular translation applies to Michael. He hated injustice with a passion. But he loved the truth, even if the truth was difficult to understand and/or frustrating.
(Personally, I think that was the Zen Buddhist in him. But I digress.)
And verse 7, too, sounds much like him. Michael believed with all his being that I would make it. No matter what happened to us — and we suffered through a flood that damaged many of our belongings, not to mention a huge and financially ruinous cross-country move, and many other things — he believed that success was what you made of it.
And because I got up and tried my best every day, whether it was playing my music, composing music, or of course writing and editing (which he went a long way toward teaching me, and I wasn’t the most apt of pupils), he honestly told me I was a success — and meant it.
To him, it wouldn’t matter that I wasn’t world-famous. What mattered to him instead was that I was my best self, and kept being my best self, no matter what other awful things might happen.
And while I intentionally truncated verse 8 (that’s what the two stars are about, in this context), I like this version’s translation — “Love never comes to an end.”
Because that’s how I feel about it, too.
So while this is a “sadiversary” for me, insofar that I’d much rather Michael be alive so we could do the normal things couples do when they’re celebrating the date of their wedding, it’s also an oddly happy day, too.
I got to marry and be with the most wonderful person I’ve ever known. Not many people can say that. And he loved me until the end of his life, with everything he had, and I believe wherever he is now in the positive Afterlife, he continues to love me, too.
And I know I will always, always, always love Michael, too.
That’s more precious to me than any amount of money or fame could ever be.