If You Love Her Enough
Author: Bill Walls
My friend John always has something to tell me. He knows so much that young
men have to have older and more worldly wise men to tell them. For instance
who to trust, how to care for others, and how to live life to the fullest.
Recently, John lost his wife Janet. For eight years she fought against
cancer, but in the end her sickness had the last word.
One day John took out a folded piece of paper from his wallet. He had found
it, so he told me, when he tidied up some drawers at home. It was a small
love letter Janet had written. The note could look like a school girl's
scrawls about her dream guy. All that was missing was a drawing of a heart
with the names John and Janet written in it. But the small letter was
written by a woman who had had seven children; a woman who fought for her
life and who probably only had a few months left to live.
It was also a beautiful recipe for how to keep a marriage together.
Janet's description of her husband begins thus: "Loved me. Took care of me.
Worried about me."
Even though John always had a ready answer, he never joked about cancer
apparently. Sometimes he came home in the evening to find Janet in the
middle of one of those depressions cancer patients so often get. In no time
he got her into the car and drove her to her favorite restaurant.
He showed consideration for her, and she knew it. You cannot hide something
for someone who knows better.
"Helped me when I was ill," the next line reads. Perhaps Janet wrote this
while the cancer was in one of the horrible and wonderful lulls. Where
everything is -- almost -- as it used to be, before the sickness broke out,
and where it doesn't hurt to hope that everything is over, maybe forever.
"Forgave me a lot."
"Stood by my side."
And a piece of good advice for everyone who looks on giving constructive
criticism as a kind of sacred duty: "Always praising."
"Made sure I had everything I needed," she goes on to write.
After that she has turned over the paper and added: "Warmth. Humor.
Kindness. Thoughtfulness." And then she writes about the husband she has
lived with and loved the most of her life: "Always there for me when I
The last words she wrote sum up all the others. I can see her for me when
she adds thoughtfully: "Good friend."
I stand beside John now, and cannot even pretend to know how it feels to
lose someone who is as close to me as Janet was to him. I need to hear what
he has to say much more than he needs to talk.
"John," I ask. "How do you stick together with someone through 38 years --
not to mention the sickness? How do I know if I can bear to stand by my
wife's side if she becomes sick one day?"
"You can," he says quietly. "If you love her enough, you can."
**** [Apr 01, 2003] by Roslyn
I thought it was touching and sad at some point. I am very interested in this story and would like to hear more.