When my sister was in college, I always heard about Mr. Miller, the man at the Veteran's Home she went to play dominos with each week. Yet, soon, Megan was graduating, and it was my turn to venture off to college which meant I inherited domino days with Mr. Miller. I was only blessed with one short year with Mr. Miller, but the silly man completely stole my heart. I still remember my sister warning me at Christmas, that when I left for the break, he would most likely cry. Well last year, before he could even shed one tear, I was sobbing my eyes out. I never knew you could become so attached to someone in just a few months, but it happened. He was no longer Megan's Mr. Miller. He was MY silly man and a major highlight of my week. Mr. Miller was a gift from God that I did not deserve, and I am so thankful for the past year I got to share with him. Today, my sweet gift and friend returned home, but a part of Mr. Miller will always be with me. So, Mr. Miller, this post is for you. I "love you more than you know."For the past five days, I have sat by my sweet friend's hospital bed and watched him fight for his life. I have cried. I have laughed. I have prayed. I have smiled. I have even growled at the man (reference to previous post). Yet, most of all, I held Mr. Miller's hand. Whenever you were near Mr. Miller, he always stretched out his hand for you to hold. It has always been that way, and this week was no different. So with tears in my eyes yesterday, I watched as Mr. Miller stretched his shaking hand out for me to hold. Even when he was weak and near the end of his battle, he still stretched out his hand for me to hold.
I held his hand. I held the hand that taught me to play dominos. I held the hand that always waved goodbye as I drove away from the nursing home. I held the hand that gave the most uplifting and sincere hugs a person can receive. I held the hand that had held my sister's hands at one time. I held the hand that always poked me when he told a joke. I held the hand that once selflessly and courageously fought in a war way before my time. I held the hand that proposed to his wife of over fifty years after he had only known her two months. I held the hand that had witnessed 83 years of life and impact. I held the hand that was always waiting for me when I got to the Veteran's Home every week. I held the hand that taught me how to love.
Because in the end, that is what Mr. Miller was- he was a bold and brilliant example of love. Mr. Miller loved with everything he had. He gave you his heart and asked for nothing in return, but you couldn't help but lose yours to him along the way. You did not leave Mr. Miller without saying "I love you," and no phone conversation was complete unless he told you a thousand times. When you visit Mr. Miller, you are told how sweet you are, how pretty you are, how much you mean to him. He lays it all out there on the table for you and beats you mercilessly at dominos at the same time. Mr. Miller constantly told me that "83 and 19 weren't that far apart" and always asked me what was my ring size? He had the biggest sparkle in his eyes when he saw you, and his smile instantly brightened your day. You were his sole priority and attention the entire time you were with him. I can still the twinkle in his eyes, and I can still hear the way he would always say "Bye doll."
Yesterday, I held Mr. Miller's hand for the last time. Yet, this time, the twinkle was gone, and I had to fight to pull out that beautiful smile. Yet, with time, I got that beautiful smile out of him. Right before I left, I looked my sweet, silly man in the eyes and told him I loved him. With all the strength he had, Mr. Miller uttered out "Love you so much. Love you more than you know." Then, as tears began to fill my eyes, I watched as he lifted my hand to his mouth and tried to kiss it one last time. I was the last person that Mr. Miller talked to. Even when he was dying, Mr. Miller loved with all that he had. I wish that I could live half the life that Mr. Miller did, and I only hope that even when I am dying, I can love with all that I have. Mr. Miller told me last week that he did not know what he had done to deserve someone like me, but Mr. Miller, you are completely and totally wrong. I have no idea why God thought I deserved such a beautiful gift, but I am eternally grateful that I received a year with you.
So Mr. Miller, thank you for the hand that taught me how to love. Thank you for loving until your literal last moments here on Earth. Thank you for a smile that constantly made my days so much brighter and that will be permanently etched into my heart. Thank you for the beautiful life you lived that impacted so many. When the right day comes, please help the right guy figure out the ring size like you always wanted, and I only hope he has half the capacity of love that you did. Know my life will forever be changed because of your presence and that a part of you will always be in my heart. Know that I cannot wait to reach those gates and see your smiling face. (I know you'll be there waiting). Know I am ringing a wretched, wretched cowbell for you whenever I find one. Know that our picture is now beside my bed like it was yours.
Most importantly, know that I "love you more than you'll ever know."