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Once upon a time.

These are four words that should be erased from any story. I will explain why later.

I will begin by saying I loved writing my name. I would write it over and over. It was my own private happiness. My marriage was a strange, happy, surrealistic, hand-woven quilt. Each stitch was not like the other. There were times when I cried myself to sleep because my husband had said or done something that caused the waterworks to flow. But, most days, I was wrapped up warm, secure, and I walked around proud and smiling. I felt very loved. What could be better? I never worried about bills. I received almost everything I asked for and more. I took pleasure in making my husband smile. Wasn’t that my job?

I was a wife after all.

But I suppose you want to know me before I was Mrs. Proctor.

Well, many moons ago I was not a Mrs. anything. I was Miss and very content to stay that way. Because I came from a small family. I had lived on my own from a noticeably young age. I have no siblings. Growing up was at times awkward. My family and I moved a lot. School was a breeze for me. So, for the most part teenage rebellion, the freshman 15, and the who am I years had left me unscathed. While I watched some of my friends struggle with who they were and what was their passion. I had already answered those questions.

I loved to read. The places, the smells, impossible situations, where the characters traveled plus the adventures, they had opened a new world for me. But all books and no play can make Miss a bit dull. So, I went to parties, met whoever for lunch, and because it was the mid-1990’s I did a lot of networking. This was way before www.anything.com.

I was living. Right? Was I living?

And again, I will say Once upon a time.

Life as I knew it changed. Drum roll please . . . Miss became Mrs.

Mr. Proctor was a big ole mountain of a man. His deep blue eyes always twinkled like he just heard some good news. He was not simply good looking he was striking. At over 6-feet, he always had a presence when he entered a room. Even after the diagnosis of terminal cancer, years later, his charming manner was ever present. Ahh cancer. I refuse to capitalize that word. Yes, something wicked had entered our lives – cancer had disguised his body.

Any moment I could take to pray, I snatched it. The string of painkillers I counted out every 4 to 6 hours looked like one of those friendship bracelets you make at summer camp. Only the “pk” bracelet soon morphed into a patch. I stitched into our martial quilt slow and with love.

The last stitch I placed in the quilt was at Mr. Proctor’s funeral. I understand you want to know about the day he died. I hear your groans about didn’t I cry? and did we have a farewell kiss? I could say yes to all of that.

But, instead, I will tell you about the hand I felt touch my left shoulder while I prayed that night. My eyes were wet from tear after tear sliding down my face. I heard the words that changed my life forever.

Not once upon a time, but from this moment on. I heard God’s promise–I HAVE NOT FORSAKEN YOU.

Although I was being led into a hollow and lonely path, my size 7.5 never felt the true jagged emotions they were walking on. The blood of Christ protected me. I was not and will never be forsaken.

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