Gee used to ask me this when we were dating. My answer took her a long time to figure out. I would reply, “Because you’re you”.
It took her months to figure out that I meant I loved her unconditionally and always. It wasn’t based on who her parents were, how much money she made, what she knew, who she knew, what kind of car she drove, or anything that was outside of her. For her, I think this was unusual. Most of her previous boyfriends had specific reasons they loved her. I didn’t. I just loved her. I had from the first time I heard her voice.
Woo, Gee’s beautiful friend from college, who was our maid of honor I think said it best. In her very first e-mail to me, which she wrote a day or so after meeting me just after New Year’s 2000, describing who Gee was to her, she said:
“Yet we get to know her, love her and be loved by her, how privileged are we?”
In many ways, that was and still is the best description I have ever heard of my wife Gee. We were very privileged–the privileged few.
After Gee died, Woo and I remain friends. Woo’s reasoning for it makes complete sense to me. One day, after her mother had asked her about us and our friendship, Woo told her mother why she was friends with me. She said it was because we both loved Gee so much, and how could she not be friends with the one person who loved her closest and dearest friend so perfectly. Every time things got worse for Gee and Woo thought nothing could make it better, she said, “Dan did…he stepped up and made things better for Gee.”
To me, loving Gee was the simplest, easiest thing on earth to do. She made it that way. She accepted my past as part of how I became who I was. She loved me and accepted me completely. While I think she may not be the person I was meant to love forever–in fact, she didn’t want to be that person and made me promise her I would re-marry if I met someone else I love–I am pretty sure I was the person she was meant to love forever.
I find it interesting that Ellie never asked me why I love her. But, I’m not really surprised–I guess the reason she never asked may be because she never had to ask. I have loved Ellie all of her life and she has never really known a time when I didn’t love her in some fashion. It has always been that way, at least as far as she is concerned. The way I love her has grown and changed over the two decades I’ve known her.
At first, I loved Ellie because she was the adorable, if bratty and temperamental, daughter of two of my close friends. As she grew older, she and I became friends on our own terms, and I love her as my friend. I loved to be able to give her advice or help her with whatever she needed help with. I was one of the people she usually turned to for help.
Last summer, I realized that I loved her as more than a friend and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I told her this, and for the next week, we talked about all the things that are important if we were to be together as a couple and get married. We talked about children, what she wanted to name them, religion, when we’d get married, where we’d get married, where we would live at least initially and so much more.
I hope she realizes she is ill soon and seeks help for her addictions. I hope she does this before her addictions destroy her health, her mind, and her future. If she realizes she is ill and wants my help in getting better, I will be there for her as I have promised her and her mother so many times. However, she will need to make her amends and tell the truth about us and show me that she wants me back in her life–that she is as committed to having me in her life as I have been to her for the past year.
May God watch over my beloved Ellie. God bless her and protect her, even from herself. May God grant her the strength, courage, and will to fight her illness and return to being her true self. May God grant her the wisdom to see the truth—both about her illness and about us.