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BITTER-SWEET

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
(Isaiah 45:3, NIV)

I have held onto this promise from the Book of Isaiah ever since March 2010. In my Bible I wrote, “Given to me, a sweet promise that even in the hardest of places, God will be with me, hold my heart in His hands and see me through.”

Fifty years ago today, I married the love of my life. Richard captured every inch of my being from the moment I laid eyes on him; a handsome seventeen-year-old high school senior. If cupid really does exist, he shot his arrow right into my heart on our very first date. Richard was the whole package for me, wrapped up in “beautiful paper and ribbon.”

To say our relationship was perfect would be a lie and you would know it. The bumps and bruises Richard and I experienced during our years as husband and wife strengthened our bond, instead of weakening it. Enduring through the struggles tightened the hold of the promises we made to each other on August 17, 1968. “For better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness or in health until death parts us,” were untried and tested when we made our covenant that beautiful and perfect day. However, in the days and years that followed, Richard and I saw some better days and some worse days. We started out poor by most standards and eventually opened the door to wealth and means. But, the toughest of all tests came in the days of Alzheimer’s when through sickness and health, to endure loving was no longer just words but the fulfillment of the promise.

I have often said that if I were the one with dementia instead of Richard, he would be a better caregiver to me than I felt I was to him. Although I tried to do my best always, he just naturally had the ability to show love and grace in the most difficult of circumstances where I struggled. I would say to Richard, “I wish I could trade places with you!” His response was always, “no, Sherry, the grandkids need you to be here.” Even when I write these words, tears fill my eyes as I hear his words again so sweetly spoken through his pain.

When God brought Richard home to heaven, I believe my heart went with him. But in God’s promise to “give treasures of darkness, stored in secret places,” everyday is filled with the knowledge that I did love in this world and was loved deeply in return—not by a flawless man but by a man of honor and integrity beyond question. A man who would lay down his life for me, a woman who is greatly flawed. 

I hold in my hands today one of the many anniversary cards given to me by Richard. In his unique handwriting the envelope says, “ Sherry, my love.” The words by the author of the card state:

“I’ll Always Love You.

After all these years, I still remember so clearly the early days of our marriage—

those special times we’d set aside just for the two of us.

Our needs may have been simple and our surroundings modest, but our love made those moments together ones I’ll always treasure…

We’ve come a long way since then. We’ve known success and we’ve weathered a few storms, but after all these years,

the thing that still matters most to me is that I have you beside me.

Happy Anniversary”

And, then again in his own handwriting he said, “Sherry, this card expresses exactly how I feel about you and us. Love always, Richard.”

I share this with you today, on what would be our 50th wedding anniversary because I want to offer a tiny piece of the memories I hold dear—memories held only by me now. Thank you for allowing me to indulge just a little on this special day.

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19 Comments

  1. Dave says:

    Sweet Sherry,

    As always, a wonderful story. Cheri and I are so happy to have been and be in Rick and your lives. You and Rick were an amazing couple and you continue to be more amazing

    Love you,
    Dave

  2. Lydia Morris says:

    Dear Sherry, Thank you for the beautiful love story of 50 years! I have heard said, without suffering you cannot be a whole person. As the troubled times grow you, mold you, mature you in your love together. The depth of our love for our spouses is so intertwined in our being as God wanted to be. YOU have been a wonderful servant to all and especially your children and grands. I think of you often. I wish you well. Lydia

    • Sherry Sharp says:

      Thank you, Lydia, for your kind and encouraging words. I also think of you, Dave and the girls often and pray you are all well. Your family must be growing now as well. These are fun times! Sending love to you all <3

  3. Shawnie says:

    Uncle Richard left a legacy of LOVE… I and that’s WHAT MATTERS MOST! I’m praying for you today Aunt Sherry, I LOVE YOU.💕

  4. Dianne says:

    Dearest Sister:
    You are in my thoughts and prayers on this special day! I’m so blessed to see your gift of writing and how you continue sharing YOUR LOVE STORY with so many people. Richard truly leaves a legacy of love especially for you and your precious family but for all of the people his life touched. I pray God continued to use your gift of writing to inspire many hearts toward God. I love you Sherry 💕!

    • Sherry Sharp says:

      Dear Dianne,

      I am blessed beyond measure with all of the people in my life, YOU being one of the most important <3 You have loved and upheld not just Richard and me, but all of our loved ones throughout many, many years. Your prayers and encouragement are one of God's "promised treasures." I love you with all of my heart <3

  5. Tommy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Sherry! Great blessings to you as you remember Richard!

    • Sherry Sharp says:

      Tommy, thank you. We don’t live for long in this world, do we before we realize loss and sadness is just a part of the journey. I never want to trade gratitude for thanklessness toward God for the beautiful life He’s given but the older I get the better heaven looks. God bless you also.

  6. Diann Mitchell says:

    Dear Sherry,

    So many things you wrote about your marriage to Richard remind me of my sweet time with my wonderful Christian husband, cut short due to cancer.
    I love the way you put words to magic when you write, it is
    llike hearing your sweet voice relating your love story with Richard. He was a wonderful man and together you shared God’s love and His Word.
    Thank you for being such a good influence to so many. Thank you for sharing your love story.
    You are in my heart and in my prayers.
    Diann
    Isaiah 43:4a

  7. Camilla says:

    Sherry,

    How precious! Thank you for sharing with all of us! Sending much love to you💕

    • Sherry Sharp says:

      Camilla, thank you and I hope you’re doing well <3 I think of you often and pray God's abundance be upon you and your sweet family.

  8. Jamie says:

    Happy Anniversary! I love what you shared and was honored to see a glimpse of the special love you and Richard shared. He was a man of integrity and did so much to care for others and was always caring and compassionate. He had the best sense of humor and could keep you in stitches. I’m thankful for his life and for the beautiful witness of love you both poured out on all of us. Thank you for sharing these precious memories. I love you!! <3

    • Sherry Sharp says:

      Sweet Jamie, thank you and thank you for recognizing Richard’s great sense of humor. Not many people would appreciate this side of him because of only the closest of us in his life who really ever got a glimpse. He was very funny and loved laughing with Richard over some of the silliest things! I love you, Jamie…<3

  9. April Garnett says:

    Thank you, mom, for sharing this beautiful tribute to your love and life with dad. It brings tears to my eyes! I love you!

  10. Jane Boaz says:

    Sherry,
    So beautifully expressed as you remember Richard on this special day.

    With love!

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