What was it like being loved by Shayne?
No one’s had the courage to ask, and unfortunately I don’t really get asked very often about him, good times or bad, or our life together at all and it hasn’t even been a year… but his love, our love needs to shine.
Taking a note out of Oprah’s book…
What I know for sure…
Is that you loved me.
You loved me.
And relentlessly breathed the confidence in me to know, even now in my loneliest and most hopelessly heartbroken… you did love me till your last breath. You said you would and I have no doubt you did.
I hold onto it, all of it, your love and devotion, and now… it fills my lungs and makes me breathe.
You loved me during my worst and certainly when I was at my best.
You loved me and made sure I knew it. I felt it. And experienced a love so truthful, so unconditional… its standing up to and defiant in the face of the most betraying circumstances, the most unforgiving distance that could be put between us.
You aren’t here and I have to live with that.
To be loved by you, just to feel what I have felt and know to be true in my heart, I would do the 10 years all over again. Each word. As it was said. Each note and card as it was written. Every look, every smile, every argument, every joy. Everything.
Being loved by Shayne… its difficult to wrap it all up in a word or sentence. And that would be my way. But I’m left with all this love I cannot give. I am here, living with all this love for him, and nowhere for it to go. Its rendering me wordless.
In honor of his way, his love language was acts of service. Thoughtfulness. His “let me just show you” how much I love you way.
There are countless memories I have and examples of who Shayne is. But one of my favorites is from when I came across this skirt made entirely of ties! Just ties. We went to Chicago for our first out-of-town trip as a couple August 2006 and wandered into a thrift shop. I thought it was the coolest thing and kept saying how much I loved it.
Well, Shayne remembered…
And wanted his next project to be a tie skirt for me.
After moving to Chicago in 2007, over the course of a month or two, he made me a skirt. Entirely of ties. With a zipper and elastic waistband and all, hand-stitched. He didn’t have a sewing machine at that point yet, I didn’t gift him that until the Christmas before our oldest was born.
He’d sit and watch TV after work, grab his little project and get to work on this skirt.
My sweet Shayne.
How could I have known, but this was the love I had wanted. I had hoped for. Someone who listened to me, boldly and unashamed to show me exactly just how much he thought of me and paid attention… just simple acts of thoughtfulness. With an appreciation and respect for details. We were writing a story, and its all in the details.
Every month on the 16th, we would celebrate “another month of love” and for the entire first year of our togetherness, I’d have fresh flowers delivered to me, by him of course. No matter what day of the week the 16th fell on, without fail… he’d bring me a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
We exchanged cards, and were smitten and committed to declaring our love for each other whenever and however we could. It was a tug-of-love. I see your card, …and raise you a poem!
Our way. Constant back and forth. Just for us. Just between us.
We had found the greatest and most awesome love ever known… we had found it.
We had finally done it. We found the most amazing person to love us. We wanted to bottle it up and keep it just for ourselves. And pass it back and forth.
I haven’t been able to bring myself to open all these boxes but I wanted and needed reminding. Our roots. Our love. Its all here. The evidence of our devotion is in about a half dozen shoeboxes filled to the brim. Napkins that we stuffed in each other’s lunches over 10 years, love notes, pages of hand-written letters, pieces of construction paper… our way. He kept every written note and card I passed along to him, and I have just as many signed from him. Our “signature” was always inscribing something in the fold of the envelope. Every.single.one I have…
And even when we had our scuffles and moments… there was an exchange of apologies in the sincerest way we knew how to smooth it over…
I remember the first time I asked Shayne to marry me.
We had been dating for a few months. One random night during the week, I baked him a cookie cake. Just for the fun of it. No rhyme or reason.
And decided, here it is… here’s my chance to really bring it all home and go out on a limb and show him where my heart is, lets DO this!
I wrote, “Will U Marry Me Shayne Babies?” on it. I was stoked. I knew he would think it was cute and feel loved.
And I’ve never seen a human smile so big and be so flattered. He said he would.. but… he didn’t want to hurt my feelings or the moment, he was so kind and gentle when he broke it to me when he said he wanted to ask me with a ring, do it right and give me the proposal I deserve from him.
I kept trying to get him to take me to city hall. I was all in. He had to keep my feet planted on the ground.
My gravity, always keeping me from floating away.
I had told Shayne about my Valentine’s Days growing up… and how my mom really enjoyed the holiday and when we were young she helped us make Valentine mailboxes to take to school. She’s the reason I love the day. I loved them, the shoeboxes covered in aluminum foil covered in heart stickers.
For our first Valentine’s Day, the day he always said “was ours and for us,” he made me one. A shoebox Valentine mailbox, covered in tin foil, heart stickers and “I love you’s” and inside it, goodies, candy, cards and Lady and the Tramp DVD. I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned, 1. he remembered my story, 2. he was so creative, and 3. he hadn’t proposed to me yet. Ha!
Valentine’s Day 2008 we were engaged and was the pinnacle of our tradition of making that day a celebration of the universe bringing us, our powerhouse love, together.
We didn’t have a lot, and never really did, but each other. Our love.
Never pretending, assuming, or superficial. It was genuine. Real.
He challenged me to be patient and I challenged him to be vulnerable.
Genuinely passionate, messy, brought to surface our fears and insecurities and imperfections and gracefully embraced us in all of it, regardless.
Give and take.
You give me what you have and I take you anyway.
It gave us permission to make mistakes, but always forgave.
It surely blinded us, gave us confidence and encouraged and empowered us.
We knew that no matter what bullshit we were going through, or hardships we endured, at the end of the long day… I carry you with me. Nothing to worry about, we’re going to be holding hands and walking on a beach when our skin is wrinkly and my hair is silver. Your lungs are expanding and heart is beating and I’m here, right next to you.
And that really was all we ever had. Beating hearts and breaths. And thats all we really needed.
I loved him with every ounce of my being. I fought through so much, had to grow so much to level up, rise and be the person he deserved and needed.
And whats beautiful about my evolution with him, he grabbed me, as insecure and naive as I was and nearly always felt… he was so patient. And kind. And saw my heart was always pure and always for him. He knew me, all of me, because I never left anything out. I set the example for him to be open and vulnerable with me, permission granted to leave it all here and on the table.
I will not forsake you for being who you are and giving what you have.
If nothing else, with Shayne – I made many mistakes, early on didn’t think I deserved him and that he was wasting his time being with me, being so young…19! – I stayed true to myself. Always shared (overshared), made sure he knew where I was and how I felt, lead with truth. I brought all of myself to our table and he loved me, endlessly through it all.
I’m so grateful and honored by that and our life together. I experienced the greatest thing you ever could.
To love and be loved in return.
Happy love day, our day, my favorite human being, my best friend, that has ever walked this Earth. I hope you felt loved by me, always. I’ll do this for you. I’ll take this and carry it and carry you with me. My love for you is so big. A lot of the time I don’t know what to do with it now…
I’ll do whatever it takes… & stay strong for you… & for us. I love you so much.
I carry your heart with me, I will carry it in my heart.