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.