Hi! Are you here for the juicy, sordid details of my marriage? 🤣. I’m sorry to disappoint but you’ll find no sex, lies, or videotape shenanigans here. You will read about our vows to each other and the only reason we are still together.
I had vowed to never remarry. I had lost the boys’ dad. I knew no one else could love my young boys like I did. Plus they had had a great father that adored them and loved them in an incredible way. He didn’t need replacing after he passed away. Quite frankly, he was irreplaceable.
And then fate intervened a couple of years later. I met my tall, 6’5 glass of water. Both of us told ourselves and each other that we were strictly looking for companionship. I fell head over heels in love with this man’s integrity, character, and genuine love for Jesus. In our courting stage, one memory sticks out….. he lived 44 minutes away from me. But his job was literally across the street from my house. He got snowed in at work one night. I begged him to crash on my couch. He refused because he said he had to honor MY character and be a man of integrity in front of my boys. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word.
We married in 2012 in a little chapel of the grounds of a local children’s home. The chapel had been built with some of the donations that had been made in memory of the boys’ daddy. A tiny little gold nameplate sits on the wall, feet away from where Preston promised to love me as Jesus loved the Church. He prayed for God to help him love me in a way that was Godly. When I looked in his eyes that day, I saw glimpses of God’s love looking back at me. I can’t explain it.
Our marriage has taken one blow after another, and it still is taking blows now. In 2013, murder rocked my boys’ lives. Preston decided that he wanted to adopt Chase and Hunter as a way of offering them protection and a promise to pick up where their daddy left off, but not to replace him.
Life was good. We traveled as a family and the boys were able to see things and places I’d never been able to afford. Preston whisked me away on romantic weekend getaways every chance he could. But more than he loved me and my boys, he loved his God. And that made me love him even more.
In early 2015, I woke up to Preston rubbing my back and praying. He was having chest pains and was praying for God to comfort me and prepare me for what he knew was my worst fear. Preston successfully underwent heart surgery where he had 5 Bypasses. Life resumed to normal. Although this is probably the time I started sleeping with one eye open. 😜.
During this time, noticed that I could no longer hear my phone alarm when it was literally inches away. I’ve been “going” deaf all my life. No big deal…. it’s a genetic thing in my family. There are 17 of us the last time I counted. It was time for me to get stronger hearing aids. I’ll never forget the day. I’m such a strong lip reader that I deliberately got in the soundproof booth and told the audiologist that I was going to keep my eyes closed as to not read her lips and cheat…. plus the fact that the same words have been used on every test I’ve endured in 45 years. Airplane. Hotdog. Baseball, and so forth. I could hear! And eagerly pressed that button when I’d hear the beeps. This was great!
Until I walked out of the booth to see Preston crying. He just help my hand as we were sent to wait on the doctor. I still thought he was being silly, and said as much. I was getting me some new hearing aids. The doctor came in and told me he had bad news to which I disputed. I told the doctor that I could hear the sounds. To which the doctor replied that I only heard sound within 10 decibels below a jet engine. Not even a candidate for cochlear implants or stronger hearing aids. Preston was devastated and promised to learn sign language for me. I still thought he was being silly. He learned several simple signs. Many of it is our own made up signs…. not that of ASL.
A few months later on the eve of Halloween 2015, I found Preston in our bathroom. He couldn’t form words…. But he signed that he loved me as tears poured down his face. At the hospital, Preston wrote me a note barely legible for me to never quit praying, and tell the boys how he loved them, Preston spent the next 109 days battling for his life. He survived a massive unsurvivable brain aneurysm. 8 days later, he was conscious but not the man I knew. And he didn’t know me. The boys, me, and our lives were in his short term memory, which no longer existed. He thought I was his ex-wife. My heart was broken. On the 9th day, Preston took a horrific fall head first in rehab which landed him in a coma in ICU for nearly 2 months. I pulled out that note Preston wrote and prayed and prayed and prayed. I rubbed his hand day in and day out. The neurologist said he wasn’t responding and I would soon be faced with a decision. I kicked out the chaplain so many times. Every day, I’d ask Preston if he could hear me to please give me a thumbs up…. Simple sign language. One day he did a little twitch. The next day it was stronger. I called Neuro back in and was told there was still “nobody home” in his brain. It was muscle spasms. The next day, I asked Preston to try really hard to give me a thumbs down. He did! And we started communicating by sign language again! There is so much more, but it’s not really relevant here. Preston learned to trust me and accept that I was his wife. God is good!
God was with us every step of the way. On one particularly bad night where he wasn’t expected to make it, God spoke to me in a way I’ve never heard before or since. He told me I had a decision to make….. I could plan Preston’s funeral or I could trust HIM. I chose the latter.
We’ve spent the last 6 years stronger than ever in our marriage. Preston is my hero and there is not another man that walks the earth that can hold a candle to him. I prayed for God to always let me see Him looking back at me when I look in Preston’s eyes. God gave me that. To this very moment that I write this.
In December of this past year, God has allowed us to endure yet another trial. This one has about did me in and had me wanted to walk away from my faith and questioning so much. Preston has two tumors in his lung that are obstructing his airway. They said it was very possibly cancer. I think he’s had a total of 10 biopsies and a cancer cell can’t be found. But In my pity party, I’m sick and tired of these trials. You never get used to having an ambulance at your house multiple times in one week and seeing your loved one coughing up pints of blood or struggle to breathe.
Last week, I threw a temper tantrum in the parking deck of downtown Charlotte as we met with his Pulmonologist. The masks are HELL on me. I can’t understand a word people say with their lips covered! I was angry at the world. Angry at God. Angry at everyone. Angry at the doctor for not having better bedside manners. Preston only has about a 5 to 10 minute window where he can remember what is said and be able to relay it to me in fullness.
Preston is going to lose a lung. We meet with the thoracic surgeon in a few days. On the way home from the last visit, I asked him why he was so calm and okay with everything. I was still throwing a 2 year old’s tantrum. He looked at me, with Jesus looking at me through his eyes as well, and simply said that he’s already won the battle. God has this and this is His battle, not ours. No matter the outcome, my gentle giant has already won the battle.
What’s the moral of my blog? Don’t ever give up on your marriage. Before I sat down to write this, I read a post in a group for wives like me of head injury survivors. A woman had posted that she was struggling with the life many of us endure now. I was shocked that 99% of the advice given by the other wives was for the lady to run as fast as she could from her marriage. Some told her she deserved happiness and that she didn’t sign up for this life. My heart broke. Yes, I did sign up for this life. To love and honor my husband until death do us part. Honor your vows!
When every single one of us wake up in the morning, we have a choice to make. Love is a verb. A verb requires action. I chose to love Preston. Preston chooses to love me. We choose to love the Lord and serve Him. When we focus on that, we know we’re going to be okay…. No matter what.
If you’re struggling in your marriage, pray. Pray for God to show you how to love your spouse the way He wants you to. Pray for your spouse to love you the way God wants you to be loved.
God bless. I pray this blog lets you know where strength comes from. We’re not strong. But God certainly is.