Dear Rebecca Michael,
I didn't think there was anyone in the world like you.
You are the third partner I've had while I've been sick with Lyme. Of the three, you are the only one who believed I was sick, who believed in my ability to survive, and who has helped me get on a path toward healing. It's true that my previous partners and I didn't have the benefit of the knowledge that I had Lyme. It's true that my previous partners would have just had to take my word for it that I was as sick as I was telling them. Some might say that made all the difference, but I say no. I say, you would have believed me even if I hadn't had a name for what was wrong with me. It was never the name you believed in, it was me. When I told you I was hurting and was allergic to everything under the sun and when it was bad I thought of killing myself, you...just...believed me. When no one else would believe me or believe in me...you did.
And baby, you more than believed me. You felt for me. You listened to me. You held me. You processed what was going on with me. You investigated with me. You researched things that would help me. You forgave me for not being at my best. You unconditionally loved me. All these things you did, when no one else would do even one, not my previous partners, not my friends, not even my family.
The question is not, "How did you get so wonderful?" You just are. The question is, "How does someone so wonderful find value in me?" I'll never really know. Perhaps that is a consequence of my damaged self-perception. Perhaps that comes from me growing up in a family where I was constantly judged, sidelined, and demoralized. Perhaps I am too broken to truly see my own inner-wonders. It doesn't matter, you love me anyway...you love me because...
You don't need me to know how special I am. You don't need me to know why you love me. You don't ever need or ask for any rewards or any reasons. You just love. In the hardest of times, you love. In the darkest of times, you love. In the most unfair situations, where you are not getting anything you wanted, you love.
In the past, when you imagined yourself as a grown-up, you did not imagine yourself with a sick partner who is allergic to everything, too sick to get out of bed, too sick to work. You did not imagine that you would be supporting an entire other human being with extreme needs at the tender age of 26. You did not imagine that you would be committed to a person that would need tens of thousands of dollars of treatment that insurance companies would not cover. You did not imagine that you would find the person you wanted to have children with, and then not be able to have children because all the money would have to go to treatment. On the contrary, you imagined you would be married to someone successful, someone with a healthy body, and that you would own a home and have children and you would take care of everyone. Our life is nothing like that. Our life is full of hardships, strange needs, judgment from others, and struggle, struggle, struggle. It is not easy for you to reconcile what you expected with what is happening. I can see that. I hear that. Yet, you don't for a single moment truly doubt that I am who you want, that our life together is what you want and what you choose. You are loving the person you love as she is, instead of trying to make the person you love into the idea you've held in your head. This is rare and special. You accept every iota of me just the way I am. I feel so full in your love, so accepted, so worthy as a human being.
There simply are not words to express what you mean to me, what it means to me to be loved in this way by you. Until I met you, being loved in this way was something I simply imagined, then concluded I was not worthy of and decided I would never get. But, while my mind was refuting the possibility of you, my soul was calling you to me, and you appeared, right there in front of me, loving me more deeply than any other human ever has, at the moment in my life when I was most abandoned, when I was standing on a very thin line between survival and death, teetering...about to fall.
I would have fallen without you. I would not have made it. There was too much and it was too hard and in my heart I was ready to make myself dead. Your presence, your love has made all the difference. You saved my life, and continue to save my life. Without you I would have no roof over my head, no food in my belly. Without you I would have no computer to type on, to communicate with the outside world on and so, I would have no purpose. Without you I would have no money even for the herbs that help me get through each day. If not for you, I would have ended up on the street, sick, and I would have committed suicide because that is no kind of life.
The end of this tale is not written. This story is in progress. I don't know how long I will survive, how long I will find life worth living, but I do know that every day I continue to live is a day I have thanks to you. Every precious moment of the last two years I owe to you. For every second I continue to find value in living and purpose in life, I am indebted to you. It is something I can never pay back...and that is OK, because you would never ask me to. The only payment you have ever wanted is for me to live.
In a society that overvalues surface qualities in humans, like a pretty face, fancy clothing, how much money you have...the purity of love that is your soul shines and glitters like a rare stone at the bottom of a rushing river.
I did not pick that stone up out of the river. That stone jumped up out of the rush and into the palm of my hand, and there I will tenderly hold it for the rest of my now blessed life.