He Washed My Feet

I vividly remember the first time I encountered Tony’s feet. We had barely been dating a month. One night we were sitting next to each other on the couch at his house watching a movie, and he had taken his shoes and socks off. All the sudden, I felt him nudge his feet up under my leg.

Mind you, he had yet to make a move on me otherwise, no hand-holding, no arm around me, nothing other than that awkward Christian side hug at the end of our dates. He was such the gentleman, and I respected him so much for that.

Apparently feet did not count. My face informed him otherwise. I reassured him that I liked him, I did not like feet. Period.

Yet, I grew to love those feet. I learned that one of the ways to love him was to allow him to put his often ice-cold feet under my legs to warm them.

Love. Feet.

I’ll never forget the day he washed mine.

It was the afternoon of our wedding rehearsal & dinner. I had spent the day with all my best girlfriends, having a blast. I received a call from him to plan to be at the rehearsal 30 minutes early.

Early? I’ve never been early a day in my life; I was already behind, entertaining friends, finishing up last minute honeymoon packing. I didn’t have time to be early.

He asked me to trust him that it’d be well worth it.

When I arrived, my soon-to-be husband was nowhere in sight. Instead I was met by our sweet wedding coordinator who ushered me inside the old Southern home where we were married and into a private room. Tony was there waiting for me, a basin of water and a towel on the floor.

He gave me a beautiful flower and proceeded to read the verses in Scripture where Jesus washed the disciples feet and challenges them to do likewise. Tony said to me, “Melissa, this is to symbolize how I want to serve you all the days of our marriage.” Then he knelt down and washed my feet.

I can honestly say that he spent the rest of his days from that moment forward (and many more before that day) serving me with such selfless love and sacrifice. He washed my feet daily in more ways I could ask or imagine.

I am forever grateful.

Dearly loved,

Fully Known…

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” ~ 1 Cor. 13:12

I longed for heaven yesterday. Yep, it was my birthday. I was overwhelmed all day by the outpouring of love from my family and friends; yet, there was a sadness I could not shake. I woke up to that same empty bed (of course, with the exception of sweet Ralphy!) and felt so very lonely. I missed the one who loved my birthday more than I did. I missed my life from 3 years ago, what would become my last birthday with my husband.


Legacy & Love

I faced that towering granite mountain today. I went to see my dad play Santa at my niece’s school which sits in plain view of Stone Mountain. I was grateful my sweet friend Sarah joined me so I would not be alone.

As we drove away after what was a fun time of laughing over my dad and the kids’ reactions, I gave that mountain another glance in my rear view. I thought to myself, “he’s not here.”

It’s Tony’s 38th birthday, but he’s not here at the mountain where he spent his final moments of this life. He’s not. Just like he wasn’t at the park in Alpharetta where we took our engagement photos; I passed near it this morning on my way to a meeting. He’s not at the Starbucks where we spent so much time chatting about life. He’s not in Buckhead where we shared so many date nights in the early days of our relationship. He’s not. He’s not here.


The Proposal

He proposed to me on a Monday, Veteran’s Day of 2007. It was nothing short of spectacular, elaborate, an outpouring of love that I could have never asked for or imagined.

The entire week leading up to that amazing day, I received a unique flower, a note with a scripture and quote, and a gift each day, all set around a specific word. These 8 words made up the 8 things he wanted our marriage to be centered around…admiration, peace, contentment, passion, faith, joy, servanthood, and love.

The intentionality around it all completely overwhelmed me. How could anyone love me this much?

He did.


Save the last dance for me…

This past Saturday, I attended my first wedding since Tony’s passing. It could not have been a more picture-perfect setting. A 6:30 p.m. ceremony outside, 70-ish degree weather as the sun set. Stunning.

I know the day was all about my sweet friend Sarah getting married. But as I listened to the breeze whistling softly in the trees, I could not help but feel God’s presence with me, for me. It was most certainly God saying hi. Though there were brief moments of sadness, bittersweet flashbacks to my own wedding day, I was so grateful to be there with my big girl pants (well, dress!) on.

My good friends Susanne and Lindsay stayed close by my side; what great company. As the bride and groom began their first dance, I turned to them and whispered…my Tony, he was an amazing dancer.

Amazing…simply the best.

He was so good that I often had to share him with my friends! I graciously agreed, only asking that he always save the last dance for me.

The last dance.

I came home from Sarah’s wedding with the tune of Michael Buble’s version of “Save the Last Dance for Me” in my head. It was one of Tony’s favorites. How true those words are to our very own love story.

A few months ago as I was going through some old files and receipts of his, I found the very receipts from his first ballroom dancing classes that he took in May of 1998. I just had to keep them; they hold so much meaning now.

They signify one of the earliest investments Tony made in our marriage, long before I was even in the picture.

One of Tony’s goals in his early 20s was to become a great ballroom dancer (as noted in his life goals I found from back then). He set out to accomplish this with countless hours of classes, practice sessions in his living room with his friends, and who knows how many dance partners. He often encouraged me to dance with other people in order to become a better dancer too.  I reasoned that I already had the best partner, I did not want to dance with anyone else.

Our dancing days started fairly early in our dating. Though I grew up dancing, I had never learned how to dance with a partner. It took me a while to learn to let him lead. But, I found the more in love I fell with him, the more I loosened up…and finally I got to the point of letting go and completely following his lead, even trusting him to dip me as far back as I could go.

We loved to dance together. It was as if all the cares of the world no longer held any weight as he effortlessly twirled me around the dance floor…often in our living room. It was magical. It was breathe-taking. It was one of the last moments we shared together just days before he left this earth.

Dance lessons: $670
Saving the last dance for me: Priceless

Dearly loved, dancer,