Good news for today, a day of rest. Lea’s systems appear to be holding steady today, and she didn’t go through the two-three hour recovery cycle after Sunday’s surgery, but, rather, rebounded without any difficulty at all. It was wonderful to experience it, and gives us hope that her chances of recovery will continue to improve.

Thank you to those who took time to send Lea an eGreeting over the weekend. I had a nice handful to read to her during the day today. It is really gratifying to see her open her eyes slightly, or sometimes, even, wrinkle her forehead a little as I read your name to her. Those are about the only responses I get from her, and only during those periods when the nurses let her come up a little from the sedatives . . . just enough she doesn’t grimace from the pain in her stomach, but enough to open her eyes or blink, or wiggle her toes on command.

I know it is hard to understand how important your emails and eGreetings are, but believe me, they are treasured on this end. They are reminders that she is loved, certainly, and reminds her of those who are special to her. Those of you whom I haven’t met really touch my heart when you send your special thoughts to her. It is wonderful to be your messenger, and it is a privilege to have an insight into how special she is to you.

Lea is very special. I knew it when I met her, and she has continued to prove it over and over during the 43 years we have been together. One of the more important things that I need to share with you relates to the personal relationship Lea and I have in our lives together. It is natural, I think, for you to feel that I may be asking Lea to fight for recovery from this illness so I don’t have to lose her or give her up. That I am asking her to stay here only for my benefit, when she may not want to stay here.

We are reaching the age when our bodies are beginning to show wear and tear. Lea’s family has a history of arthritis and bad joints, high blood pressure and cholesterol. She, bless her heart, is beginning to feel the effects of these maladies, and is self conscious about the joints in her fingers swelling because of arthritis, a knee that is giving out, and will eventually have to be replaced.

I know that she has gone through discomfort and pain with her hands almost every day, and that even simple things can be a problem for her at times. But, we talk about these things all the time, and that I will help her with anything she needs help with. Those of you who know her, know that she is a fighter, and that she will continue to do for herself as long as it is possible for her to do so. But, she knows that I am here to help her, too.

So, when she began to get so very sick with this present illness, and I spent ten hours in the emergency room with her watching her deteriorate so quickly, we had time to have a heart to heart talk. Nothing we hadn’t said to each other many times before, but, as her pain was increasing, and she began to drop deeper and deeper into sedation, we knew that this was a serious situation. We had the talk about, “I’ve loved loving you,” “You’ve been my best friend,” “I don’t want to lose you, but if you have to go, I understand.”

So, today, when I talk to Lea, I tell her how strong she is, and that she is making good progress. I tell her how proud I am of her, that she looks beautiful, that so many people are sending their love and praying for her recovery, and I read her your hopes and get- well wishes. I tell her that I don’t want to lose her; I don’t know what I would do without her; that we are going to have a lot of fun together when she gets well. I try to give her all the encouragement and support she needs to fight this battle.

But, you have to understand that it is God with whom I am working to determine whether she will stay here or go to her reward with him. It isn’t up to me, and it isn’t up to Lea whether she recovers. We have all proven who is in charge through the tremendously powerful prayers that you have sent up, and the miraculous improvement we see as a result. We are touching God’s heart with our earnest prayer for her recovery, and God is using our earnest prayers to bring others closer to Him.

I pray, as you do, that He will allow Lea to stay here with us for a while longer. A long while, hopefully. But, I know that if it is His will that it be otherwise, that He will provide me the strength to learn from this experience and use that lesson to serve Him. I also ask Him to forgive me if I am being selfish when I pray that He will let me keep her here. And, I know that I am forgiven, because He knows what is in my heart. He knows that my love for Lea knows no bounds, and yet, I recognize that she is His first and last.

What a wonderful life we have had together! I couldn’t have had a better partner! We have shared so much joy through our extended family of friends and relatives! I have truly been blessed, as so many of you have, just because you were on the receiving end of that beautiful smile and warm personality. I celebrate her, and our life together. What more can you ask of a lifelong relationship?

Thank you again for your love for the one I love so much,