The man you didn’t have to be.

This is a picture of us at our high school graduation when you proposed to me in a crowded gymnasium smelling of musk and overpriced cologne. We graduated in a class of less than 100, but you waited until the end and as the band played pomp and circumstance out of tune echoing across the room you stopped everyone and called me back on stage and in front of over 300 people you proposed to me. People still talk about it to this day and they remember that baby faced young man profess is love on that stage to a young woman he’d known since they were 12 and started dating 3 years prior. If only we knew then what a whirlwind we would into 18 years later.

Thank you for the man you didn’t have to be. Thank you for staying when others would’ve left. You took care of everything when I couldn’t. You ran the house and raised our daughter like a single parent when I was too depressed, manic, high or all of the above. You cooked, cleaned, paid all the bills, kept me as together as possible, called work every time I overdosed and told them why I couldn’t come in that day, or the days I was too depressed to get out of bed. You were polite for the weeks to months I didn’t shower, brush my teeth or have any personal hygiene finding the nicest way possible to tell me I needed one even when I got angry every time you did. You told me I was beautiful even though I hadn’t showered or changed clothes in weeks. You drove me to the hospital, doctors, countless trips to the pharmacy. You always worried (and still do) about me being home by myself and had people “check on me” even though you played dumb. The times I know you texted and held your breath waiting for me to reply and the bit of relief you had when you saw those few gray dots on the screen. Thank you for being my conscience and guiding me from potentially severe actions that could’ve killed me. I know you cried every time I tried to kill myself even though you got stern with me to make me understand and what was happening…I never understood. You stood through 5 years of tears, anger, frustration, concern, being afraid and completely helpless of everything going on around you to get to this point.

5 long years of dealing with me at my worst you finally get me at a better point. The point where I am able to help you cook, clean and pay bills. You aren’t a single parent anymore trying to run a household while I’m destroying everything in my path. I have personal hygiene now and I function like everyone else. I still have my moments but after 5 years of dealing with me at rock bottom you stayed beside me and I raise from dust and learn to become a person again and not a statistic of my illness you hold my hand and you love me. You did something that very few people if anyone would have ever done. When others said I was too much and they couldn’t deal with me on top of everything else. You made me a priority even with taking care of our daughter. I can only hope she finds someone who is half the man you didn’t have to be but I’m so thankful you are. I love you!!!

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