A Love Letter to Deborah
[Editor's note: This letter was read at Deborah Allen's memorial service on November 12, 2011]
As most of you know, Deb and I began as pen pals. She had placed an ad in Mother Earth News. In September 1981, I answered her ad.
She told me that she received more than a hundred responses. She wrote back to several of them. I was the only one that she continued to write to after the second round of correspondence. What she saw in me to continue to write me, I never understand, but I am glad that she saw something. We continued to write to each other and telephone each other. The picture on the back of the memorial brochure is the picture that she sent me while we were corresponding. It is my first picture of her.
She invited me to visit her for Thanksgiving. I went. When I saw her waddling down the steps, the first thing that jumped into my mind was what have I gotten myself into. Whatever it was, it turned out to be the best thing in my life that I have ever gotten myself into.
Just after Christmas 1981, she came to visit me. She stayed here and never went back. We married January 1, 1982. That was one decision that I have never regretted.
When I was with her at the hospital, I read the letters that we had written to each other. After reading what I had written, I wondered how anyone could have come close to living up to my desires and expectations. Not only did she live up to them, she far exceeded them.
Deb brought purpose and direction to my life and got more out of me than I thought was there. No one else could have put up with my foolishness as well as she could. And straighten me out with such ease. Many times did she keep me out of trouble. Whenever I encountered a problem in one of my projects, she could usually solve it. Over time she became more of me than me. She became the most significant and the most important part of me. A great blessing has she been to me and was more that I deserved. Deb was my best friend and encouragement. She made life worth living. Faithful and devoted to me to the end, Deb was the best wife a man could have; truly the good wife of Proverbs.
I just hope that I did at least half as much for her as she has done for me. She deserved much more.
Her optimism and cheerfulness made her a joy to be around. She could inspire almost anyone. Her art, optimism, cheerfulness, personality, character, dreams, love, care, wisdom, brilliant ideas, and faithfulness will be missed by all. To know her was to love her. People who never knew her have a void that can never be filled. Those who have known her have been extremely blessed.
Next to her family, art was her life. Over the years she went to several street shows to sell her art. A good show was one where she sold enough to pay the rent for the space. Several years ago, she finally found her niche. Her niche was selling ACEOs (art cards editions and originals) on E-bay. She did not make much money at it, but she enjoyed painting the pictures and bringing joy to people who bought them. She must have sold several hundred ACEOs.
No one could have been a better mother than she. One of her sons wrote, “She was the best mother any child could have asked for.”
I thought that we would grow old together. I once dreamed of Deb and me celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. Now we will not be celebrating our 30th.
I will miss shopping with her; going places with her; not having her as my copilot, navigator, and backseat driver; watching movies together on Saturday; not having her at my side when I go to sleep and when I wake up; eating with her and eating her cooking; and having her doing all the little things that she did that made life easier. When I eat up the things in the freezer and the can goods dated 2010, I will have eaten the last things Deb made for me.
I wish I could have borne her burden over the last six months. Not that I could have borne it better than she. I doubt that I could. But it would have kept her from bearing it.
I regret not doing more for her. Deb, I love you and will miss you.
Copyright © 2011 by Thomas Cole Allen.
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