One of the reasons I married my ex-husband is because I saw how he took care of his mother when she was sick. He not only quit his first major job out of college to move to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota with her for three months to take care of her (he was an only child, and she was a single mom), but he visited her every single day in the hospital for nearly a year until the day she died.
That’s when I decided he was a good man and had what it took to be a good husband. It was exactly what I would have done for one of my parents had they fallen ill. And it’s exactly what I did for my father 11 years later, when he was diagnosed suddenly with stage-four Pancreatic cancer. When I sat with my father for the six months of his courageous battle, I realized it’s not what you had, but who you had by your side.
Colby and I had been broken up for nearly two years when my father died. Colby stayed by my side every step of the way. I knew that he loved me. Real, real, deep love. The kind that Nicholas Sparks books are made of.
Colby rode in the car with me to my father’s grave after his funeral. He didn’t say a word, but I knew he was there for me. I felt totally comfortable falling apart, as I knew he would be there to catch me.
There is a Jewish tradition where each person has the opportunity to shovel dirt onto the grave after the service is finished. Helping fill the grave means you have left nothing undone, and it is the ultimate final respect for the deceased.
After everyone had their turn, I looked over at the men who worked in the cemetery, who would have the job of filling the grave when we left.
Then I looked at Colby.
“I want you to do it.” I said, through my tears.
“Fill the grave. I don’t want strangers to do it.”
I knew Colby could handle it. All 6’4″ of him.
He said nothing. He was standing there, in 98-degree weather at the end of June in a dark suit, and he began to cover my father’s coffin. I looked on, believing that Colby was a superhero. He could do anything. And would for me. I felt much better knowing that my dad would be covered with care.
Last New Years, I asked the question: Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
I had an answer then, and I have the same answer today. No, old acquaintances should not be forgot. Without old acquaintances, without the lessons people have taught you along the way, you would not be who you are today. I have had men set the bar incredibly low, but today, I am measuring the standard to those who have set it incredibly high. Because that is what we all deserve.
I still do not know what this year brings, but this is what I do know: Surround yourself with people who have your back. With people like that in your life, you can do anything, because you know they are right behind you to catch you if you fall. And there may be times you fall. But feeling safe to take the risk is half the battle.
I don’t know who I will date next, but I do know this: They’d better be by my bedside if I get sick, or by my side if I need them there. I want someone I can rely on. Someone to take care of me when I need the help. And someone I can count on. The same way they would be able to count on me.
I don’t want a guy. I want a man. Someone who will fight to the death in the gauntlet for me if the need should arise, just as I would for them.
When the going get tough, the weak get going. But the strong… they stay by your side.
Read more about Darcy’s dates here.
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