To My Better Half

Yesterday morning you asked if I thought you looked old.

You stood before our bathroom mirror, brushing your hair. I answered, “No, of course you don’t look old, honey.” Then we dropped the subject.

But I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Which is why this morning I am writing to you, while sitting on our little porch, attached to our little house, tucked in these woods.

I’m a middle-aged man, watching Floridian fog move through our forest. The mist looks like a poem to me. Long ago, before the Age of Real Estate Development reached these woods, I used to watch deer high-step through this wandering fog.

Have you ever watched a doe graze at daybreak? A doe moves like she is made of pure imagination. She is confident. Wise. Half spirit, half muscle. One flick of her mighty thigh and she is in the next county.

But she is also gentle and humble at heart. And within the presence of such beauty I usually pause my breath.

Nearly twenty years ago, I remember feeling that same way when I met you. I felt almost breathless when we sat on a beach together, watching the Gulf at dusk until our lower backs were sore and sand had painfully worked its way into the crevices of our youthful butts.

But we refused to leave the shore until the moon came out. Why? Because leaving meant we would be apart, and it would be hours before we would be reunited. I tell you I couldn’t stand it.

So we sat. We leaned against each other. I recall the way your shampoo smelled. And your perfume. Also, I will never forget how you rested your head on my shoulder, making me feel strong.

Of course I’m not strong. That’s the irony. Nobody knows a guy’s weakness better than his wife. You’ve seen my worst. You have watched me play the fool. You have seen my ego explode like an M-80 firecracker in a residential mailbox.

We have argued in the middle of a Winn-Dixie parking lot. We’ve bickered on road trips across the American West.

One time you told me to “Get outta the car and walk home!” in 103-degree Alabamian weather. And suddenly, there I was, hiking a lonesome highway until you pulled alongside me one hour later and we embraced in the middle of traffic, laughing. The doctor says the dehydration didn’t bamage my drain too bad.

Were we really that young once? Were we really so immature? So idealistic? Were our faces really that smooth, with no lines around our eyes?

The answer is yes. We were kids. And we still are—sort of. It was great! Back then we had no stray white hairs. Nobody’s knees snapped when rising from the seated position. We could sleep for eight long hours WITHOUT ONCE WAKING UP TO GO PEE.

But old?

Us?

Never. The term “old” is not the right word for anyone who has known the remarkable privilege of being alive.

Age is nothing. Nobody looks at a mountain and thinks of its age. If they did, they could not comprehend it. Hardly anyone looks at the Grand Canyon and sees numbers. No, you look at such grandeur and you merely pause your breath.

That’s how I feel when I look at you. I see a woman who, although there is silver in her hair, loves with a true heart. She is a woman who still possesses the optimistic nature of a girl. A woman whose love is mildly naive—which is the best part about it.

Don’t mistunderstand me, this kind of love is not a stupid brand of love, and I don’t believe it is blind, either. But it is real; as tangible as rocks. And I can say that I have been fortunate enough to know this love. In my bones, I have known it.

I was not looking for a woman’s love, but it found me nonetheless. It descended from heaven, falling one nanodroplet at a time, working its way into my biology, into my organs, bathing my cells in warmth. This love made me into a different creature than I once was.

This love remembers none of my past wrongs, and has slowly killed longtime fears that once crippled me. If that sounds too melodramatic, I apologize. Let me put it like this: my life sucked before I met you, honey.

And I mean that. It was your love that opened my cell door. You turned me loose. You made me half believe I was strong.

You not only changed my life, you changed the way I experienced the blessings thereof. You altered the color of my universe and without trying, you taught me what belly laughs feel like.

My life is but a blip on the radar screen of infinity. I am no fool, I know that every man dies long before he expects. One day, I will not be here. Someday, I will no longer be sitting on our little porch, watching daybreak. Instead I will be dust. I will become the pH content of soil. I will be compost.

But I believe the ever-youthful love we nurtured will still be here, among these pines. I truly feel that this love, our love, will continue to rise through the forests of time each morning, like a Floridian mist. Because all love is unkillable. And so is the eternal memory of you.

So to answer your question: No, Jamie. You don’t look old. Not to me.

69 comments

  1. Susan Parker - March 27, 2021 6:39 am

    Oh, Sean! Every woman should be talked to, at least once in her life, the way you just talked to Jamie! Thank you for sharing this with all of us!

    Reply
  2. Christina - March 27, 2021 6:58 am

    I love the way you talk about her. She is truly a gem! Bless this unkillable love you share.

    Reply
  3. Mac - March 27, 2021 6:59 am

    Best piece ever!

    Reply
  4. Trey - March 27, 2021 7:54 am

    Wow. I think I’ll look for a woman named ‘Jamie’ to marry, so I can read this to her one day, here at the west end of the bay. Since improving on this would be unlikely.

    Reply
  5. Norman Davis - March 27, 2021 9:06 am

    Good answer!

    Reply
  6. Laura - March 27, 2021 9:46 am

    Leaking eyes again….

    Reply
  7. Leigh Amiot - March 27, 2021 10:19 am

    I love that Jamie has left the silver in her hair for you to admire and appreciate all they represent.

    Reply
  8. joan moore - March 27, 2021 10:23 am

    That’s a one in a million love ❤️

    Reply
  9. Mary - March 27, 2021 10:36 am

    WOW! Just beautiful and raw. Thank you.

    Reply
  10. Te Burt - March 27, 2021 11:07 am

    I envy you. I envy that your life plan included a life-long love that never leaves, fades, evaporates, love that endures and settles in like a soft warm blanket or a comforting cup of coffee. Of all the things I didn’t have, that never blessed me was that life-long connection to someone who connected back. Temporary, yes, sometimes years’ long, but not life-long. Not my karma this life. Maybe next time.

    Reply
  11. Shirley Lieberman - March 27, 2021 11:07 am

    Thanks Sean. Brought back memories of my loving husband feeling that way about me in 1971. I never realized how much he truly loved me until he died in 1995. Learning to let love in.

    Reply
    • Dianne - March 27, 2021 3:50 pm

      Shirley, I lost my much loved husband three months ago, and I was blessed to be truly and completely loved by him.

      Reply
  12. Judy Mercer - March 27, 2021 11:28 am

    Truly beautiful…as your love ..

    Reply
  13. Delicia Thornton - March 27, 2021 11:29 am

    Oh, to have a love like that described like that! I’m 52 years old and am still trying to find my love because my picker is broken, and I get the ones who wouldn’t know that kind of love if it slapped them in the face. And no, I haven’t slapped them in the face, but wish I could have. Beautiful, Sean! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  14. Brenda Stallcop - March 27, 2021 11:33 am

    Lovely tribute to your love…

    Reply
  15. marthajanecassidey9526 - March 27, 2021 11:35 am

    Such a beautiful tribute to your wife and your marriage! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  16. Margaret E Odell - March 27, 2021 11:42 am

    What a sweet tribute to the love of your life! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  17. Janie F. - March 27, 2021 12:16 pm

    Sean Dietrich just when I thought your writing couldn’t get any better you come up with this post. Absolutely beautiful and a wonderful tribute to your Jamie. There’s no doubt the two of you were meant to be together, and the way you’ve written about Jamie’s parents confirms it. You were meant to be part of each other’s life. Congratulations to you both for finding your one true love!

    Reply
  18. Wilson - March 27, 2021 12:34 pm

    I watch those same doe and fawn in the mist of a Walton County, tree lined, morning, and couldn’t agree more…..maybe it is y’all’s love, or the love conglomerate of all the loves past and present…. but there is certainly love there.

    Reply
  19. 3377wilson - March 27, 2021 12:44 pm

    I watch those same doe and fawn in the mist of a Walton County, tree lined, morning, and couldn’t agree more…..maybe it is y’all’s love, or the love conglomerate of all the loves past and present…. but there is certainly love there. When you write, or speak, it makes one feel and see your words…..that is a gift from God. It cannot be taught….it is given. Thank you for sharing that gift.

    Reply
  20. Sylvia Diederich - March 27, 2021 12:45 pm

    What a beautiful homage to your wife. There will be tears falling as she reads it.

    Reply
  21. Alice - March 27, 2021 12:46 pm

    What a wonderful tribute to your wife Sean!So beautiful and heartfelt ❤️❤️

    Reply
  22. Bar - March 27, 2021 12:49 pm

    The young foolishly think they know what love is. It is only to the older, long-together ones that real love reveals itself. Love is a kiss after changing an adult diaper … love is emptying a catheter bag and “bragging” on its contents … love is watching in fear as the he nears the end of his days … love is letting go, knowing now he’s whole and well again. Lord, I miss that man.

    Reply
  23. Becky Kaufman - March 27, 2021 12:50 pm

    Love is all there is.

    Reply
  24. Ernie Kelly - March 27, 2021 12:51 pm

    Without a doubt, one of the most romantic messages ever. It’s 1 Corinthians 13 with deer and fog and passion. Thank you.

    Reply
  25. Trilby - March 27, 2021 12:54 pm

    Absolutely perfect!

    Reply
  26. Regina Chandler - March 27, 2021 12:57 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to your lovely wife. Pray you are blessed with many loving years with her.

    Reply
  27. nebraskannie - March 27, 2021 12:59 pm

    You have the words I don’t know how to say. What a beautiful tribute. EVERYONE needs to hear what love really is! I don’t have the words to say this to my husband, but I can have him read yours. Thank you.

    Reply
  28. Laura Hooks - March 27, 2021 1:02 pm

    So wonderfully put! Thank you for kind words! I will read this more than once!!

    Reply
  29. Robin Dillard - March 27, 2021 1:04 pm

    Absolutely beautiful tribute to your wife, your marriage. When most look only to themselves and their needs, you and Jamie model “otherness.” It’s the beautiful, rich part of marriage💕

    Reply
  30. peggy hayes - March 27, 2021 1:24 pm

    Beautiful! Lucky Jamie, and lucky you!

    Reply
  31. Gayle - March 27, 2021 1:31 pm

    The best thing you’ve ever written. I know you said you are the lucky one but I think she is pretty lucky too. Love this Sean.

    Reply
  32. Debbie g - March 27, 2021 2:06 pm

    Beautiful. Both of you ❤️

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  33. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - March 27, 2021 2:10 pm

    You are truly blessed to have your sweet wife. I bet she would say she is blessed by you too! I know I feel blessed to hear from you every day.

    Reply
  34. Connie - March 27, 2021 2:15 pm

    I love the way you love your wife. Y’all are truly blessed to have each other. You prove to me that real love exists. God bless.

    Reply
  35. Paul S Gawrych - March 27, 2021 2:18 pm

    Like the song says – “There is a difference in living and living well, you can’t have it all by yourself! Beautiful piece today Sean!

    Reply
  36. Peggy Savage - March 27, 2021 2:19 pm

    You are both blessed.. thank you for sharing…

    Reply
  37. Lisa Wilcox - March 27, 2021 2:21 pm

    I loved this so much! Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to your beautiful wife, Jamie.

    Reply
  38. Susan Johnston - March 27, 2021 2:30 pm

    Such a beautiful tribute. You have the soul of a poet.

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  39. Jan - March 27, 2021 2:54 pm

    Oh, wow! I am speechless! You do indeed have the soul of a poet … Thank you for sharing this perfect tribute.

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  40. Janice - March 27, 2021 3:37 pm

    Wow, oh wow! The best you’ve ever written!!!

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  41. Dianne - March 27, 2021 3:47 pm

    What a beautiful “love letter” you wrote to Jamie. How blessed both of you are to have found each other. Thank you for sharing and making my day.

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  42. JonDragonfly - March 27, 2021 3:51 pm

    You are a damn lucky man!

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  43. Greg - March 27, 2021 4:30 pm

    Beautifully written. But I have to differ with the comment above that your writing ability can’t be taught but is just a gift from God. My guess is that you were born with some degree of the gift , but like all good writers you have worked and worked and then worked more to hone your craft and improve your skills . Good writing is hard work. We , your readers , are blessed that you are so committed and driven to put pen to paper. Thank you very much for your effort.

    Reply
  44. Joellynn Heaton - March 27, 2021 4:37 pm

    Your usual, beautiful, expressions of love for your devoted, fun companion.

    Reply
  45. Janet Mary Lee - March 27, 2021 5:10 pm

    Truly meant to be, for Eternity. I am overflowing with Joy for you both. No mistake. A God Thing and you keep cherishing it!!

    Reply
  46. Suzanne Moore - March 27, 2021 5:32 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful half of a wonderful couple.

    Reply
  47. Linda Moon - March 27, 2021 5:34 pm

    When asked, husband, you better always drop that subject quickly and gently. Have you been eavesdropping on My Guy and me from a W-D parking lot and the road trips, too? It’s okay if you did because we’re still kids together after all these years. I love your silver-haired woman. So, share this love to her from me….an older woman who will never really BE old. And neither will she!

    Reply
  48. MAM - March 27, 2021 6:18 pm

    Life-long love is a true treasure! Sean and Jamie, may your love continue to grow and deepen as the hair turns lighter. I always feel blessed that my husband and I just happened to be living in the same place at the same time far from our “homes.” We know God ordained it! I’m sure God got you two together at the right time, too.

    Reply
  49. Joy Dollar - March 27, 2021 6:42 pm

    You write the most beautiful prose and Jamie, I’m sure, deserves every word. Y’all are just so cute together, and so blessed to have each other. I wish that I could write or “talk” like you. What a gift God has given you! You touch the heart and soul of many! God bless you both!

    Reply
  50. Chasity Davis Ritter - March 27, 2021 7:10 pm

    This is so beautiful…. you’re a lucky man Sean to have a lady like Jamie and well I guess she’s pretty lucky too.

    Reply
  51. Susan - March 27, 2021 8:05 pm

    Beautiful! When you look into ones eyes their soul and beauty will always be there

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  52. Cynthia Russell - March 27, 2021 9:04 pm

    Every woman living would love these words written or said by her husband.. thank you for saying these to your wife.. you are a remarkable wonderful man.. & she knows & appreciates you!!

    Reply
  53. AlaRedClayGirl - March 27, 2021 10:48 pm

    Beautiful! Every marriage should be like this.

    Reply
  54. Susan Kennedy - March 28, 2021 12:49 am

    Wow! That was amazing!

    Reply
  55. Christine - March 28, 2021 3:07 am

    This tribute outdoes every column of yours that I’ve read so far. To the power of ten. Or a zillion. ❤️

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  56. Bob Brenner - March 28, 2021 1:06 pm

    Pure true love that knows no boundaries! What a blessed gift! Thank you…❤️❤️

    Reply
  57. Julie (the other half of the one word “SteveandJulie”)💞 - March 28, 2021 1:34 pm

    I love your last line. But I love your last paragraph even more…the one that talks about ever-youthful love that is unending and eternal. That is your love story with Jaime, as it is with Steve and me. Thank you for putting such beautiful words to both of our Stories of Love💞

    Reply
  58. patricia Bice - March 28, 2021 5:45 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to the love of your life. My late husband used to tell me that when he looked at me in our later in life years that he still saw that suntanned long legged blonde ponytailed girl that I was when he met me. I loved it.

    Reply
  59. Belinda Crowell - March 28, 2021 5:50 pm

    Sean, your Jamie is a lucky woman to have such a beautiful love letter written to just her. ❤️

    Reply
  60. Margaret Cade - March 28, 2021 6:17 pm

    Wow. Absolutely amazing! ❤️

    Reply
  61. Sheri K - March 28, 2021 7:17 pm

    Wowie! How totally beautiful! God has truly blessed both of you!!!

    Reply
  62. Bill - March 28, 2021 7:40 pm

    Beautifully written. You couldn’t have written about me and my wife any better. Just beautiful. Thanks…

    Reply
  63. Carole Lea - March 28, 2021 11:09 pm

    Thank you for beautifully sharing the love that you and Jamie share!❤️

    Reply
  64. Suzi - March 28, 2021 11:12 pm

    You’re a “keeper” Sean!

    Reply
  65. Peggy Hale Bilbro - March 28, 2021 11:23 pm

    Oh damn! You’ve made me cry again Sean! We’ve been married 52+ Years and your words still ring true.

    Reply
  66. Patricia Gibson - March 28, 2021 11:38 pm

    What a absolutely beautiful thing to say! God bless you both❤️

    Reply
  67. GloriaBuffkin - March 30, 2021 12:43 am

    Just plain beautiful!! Thank you Sean.

    Reply
  68. DiAn - April 7, 2021 6:43 pm

    Sean – MAGNIFICENT! A Shakespearean Sonnet could not have said it better! As the song says, “True Love’s a blessing! True Love’s a Wonderful Blessing! Yes sirreee!”
    Thank you for sharing this with all of us – please keep it up! – DiAn

    Reply

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