While he has been the subject and object of my gratitude many times….today I am once again grateful for my husband and best friend, Don. As we approach 25 years of marriage…I find new reasons almost every day to love him and appreciate him even more. Since I have fallen ill…he has been working multiple jobs to take care of me and our beloved companion animals and our home. I can’t count the number of times he’s come home from one job, only to leave for another, often putting in 12-18 hours a day. He’s a strong guy, despite not being very tall (and it bothers him so much…his physical stature)….but he is tough, remarkably strong…..never complains, speaks little….quiet (unlike me the chatty cathy who can never shut up). He is one of those old time guys…..his word a promise, his handshake a contract. He is a combat veteran….proud of his service and would not hesitate to do it again. He is a great employee….works hard, always learning, never calls in sick, helps others. In some ways he is a “man’s man”…..likes Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and all those karate chop fellows, likes movies where there are lots of cool cars and explosions, likes a cold beer on a hot day, loves big dogs, going fishing, and fixing things himself——-from the dishwasher to the car to the fence—–he’d rather do it himself. He loves good rock music and country……but he will patiently let me listen to Vivaldi or Enya….so I can have equal time. Lord knows he’s “suffered” through endless viewings of the Lord of the Rings because of me. Don also got something he did not bargain for when I got sick and have not been able to work. I am also not much to look at these days….and I know there are a lot of folks out there that are super critical of weight and appearance and things like that….would actually “kick a fatty to the curb”….but not Don. He doesn’t even speak of it…..and never makes me feel bad or criticizes me. It just does not occur to him to be hurtful about it. When our dreams of having a family of our own…..went down in flames…..after 20 years of trying and losing two pregnancies…..it was Don who said it was time for us to stop, let it go….because what it all be worth if he lost me in the end? (the second time I ended up with an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured in the tube….and I almost died). I remember waking up in recovery with him right there….telling me it would be OK….and that we were so done chasing that dream, and he was OK with that….that only I mattered to him, and nothing else. Yesterday, I was reminded of how deeply sensitive this strong, quiet guy is….when he came home with tears in his eyes…..after our beloved Rahula kitty died (we had to have her euthanized because of illness)……and silently went outside, buried her, came back in and just hugged me…..tears for a cat from a man who did not talk to me about Desert Storm and the things he saw there for 20 years…..from a man who can physically run circles around most 20 year olds at his job…..from this man’s man. Don’t ever believe our relationship is perfect. It’s not. We fight. We holler. Sometimes we say not so nice things. Sometimes we get angry. But, we always forgive and pick up again…..because all we have is each other, this little house and all that is in it….and our pets that have become our family. So I am grateful for him. The one person who always stood with me and by me and for me. Even when I am not easy to love sometimes. So grateful. I’m sorry that my words….fail to give him justice. Don is a good man. That’s all I know.