Jana and I began our relationship with letters and emails. We wrote back and forth for about 2 months before we ever met. Sometime, after we were married, Jana had the presence of mind to print all of those emails and store them away. Last night, Allyson found them and we read a little. I only read the initial letter that I sent to Jana. I will wait on the other letters, maybe spread them out a bit, take small bites.
We also discovered Jana’s high school diary. I chose to read this in it’s entirety, about half the journal had writing. As I read, I remembered her talking about many of the events and stories that she wrote of. In some passages I could hear her voice in the journal entry, in other portions I thought to myself, “who is this person!” Of course, our high school selves are a far cry from what we become.
I am not sure how to process these materials, yet. I felt sad, but enjoyed “hearing” from her, if even a decades-old voice. Jana was like most teenage girls, she fell for multiple cute young boys, each one carrying the possibility of being “the one.” I appreciated the times she would consider a boy the “one”, but then follow up with, “until my true love comes.”
She dreamed for and desired somebody special. I pray that I was that for her. I am no knight in armor, no Casanova, I had trouble being romantic as often as I would have liked… Hopefully, I didn’t disappoint. Maybe I should have read the journal first, then got married and realized my bar to begin with. Can I try it again?
I found another short journal entry, in a different book, from 2011. She was struggling with different things and writing her prayers down in association with these struggles. Just after the prayers the next entry says, “I have an amazing husband!! …Thank you, God!!” I loved this. Maybe I did give her what she was looking for. Maybe I did fulfill some of those teen, boy-crazy dreams.
But, I realize, now, that all of those things are just memories. I read the journal, partly to get in touch with her, partly to see if there was anything new. Anything I didn’t already know. The thought struck me, what is the purpose of knowing her more? When she was alive, that was my goal and my joy – getting to know her more. Now, I question my motivation. I knew Jana inside and out. What would adding anything to the mix do for me now? She is not here to explain or talk about it. I might even be misinterpreting situations or thoughts, then I have learned something in error.
I closed the book and looked at some of the last pictures of Jana in the hospital. I recognize her looks and know what they mean. She looked over at me, and I saw love in her eyes. I got the picture. I was her knight. I was her teenage dream. And, she was mine.