I first noticed her twinkle and smile before I knew her name. She worked for a therapy company on the campus that I did HR work for. I used to peak into her office and make a funny face just so I could see her smile. I didn’t know her story. No idea what her name was. I just knew she had a smile that would turn my day around. At the time I was in the process of a yearlong divorce; healing from a relationship with my x-wife that was both physically and emotionally abusive. I eventually learned her name, Khloe, and found that she too had her own story. One day we met after work at Chili’s in Tilton; I fell for her over quesadillas and margaritas. Every date we laughed and smiled. I fell in love with her every time I saw her. I would watch her walk away, hoping that I would catch her looking back. Most times she did. It was amazing.
In December 2016 I knew what we had was really love. We went to Vegas. I had traveled with girlfriends and my x-wife and they always needed something. Needed my full attention, needed more money and gifts. Khloe had the challenge of managing the father of her 3 children, who was trying very hard to prevent us from having a vacation. He went as far as to threaten to bring one of the children to the hospital for a cold. Khloe held firm to her commitment and Vegas bound we went. She cleared her mind, came with no expectations, and she was ready to love and let me in. Khloe embraced the fun and freedom of Vegas without me having to cater to her to make her happy. I knew she was my soulmate. I called her folks and her best friend to ask for permission to marry her.
Everything wasn’t rosy in life, she nested with the father of her children for 8 months, while he spun lies about me and threw up as many roadblocks as he could. In that time frame, I didn’t meet the kids. Then we found our dream house in Concord and I met them at a farm and forest event in Manchester. Khloe’s best friend joined us, we went to hibachi, the kids loved hibachi. They smiled. We all smiled. We went to the movies and town parks. We had trips to amusements parks and restaurants. Friendly’s was their favorite. The first time the kids stayed at our house was Mother’s Day, 2017. It was magical. The kids picked out their rooms. The boys in one and girl in other.
In June, Khloe and her children moved in and we started to parent the children together 1/2 time. We all smiled when we were together. Our Sunday-Wednesday was our time. That same month, I got down on one knee, in the closet of our home and asked her to marry me. She said YES! That day was the happiest day of my life. Khloe went about her day shopping and, of course, taking pictures of her ring and sending it out. We were happy. People envied our lives. We had love and connection with the kids, we found laughter at every turn, and there was love in every moment. After months together I asked each child if I could marry their mother, they all said yes.
When the kids were with their father, Khloe and I had passion. We went on dates, we laughed. Our love deepened, like the roots on an old tree, where nothing could separate or keep us apart.
January 2018 Khloe was diagnosed with cancer. We didn’t tell the kids or their father. She quietly received treatment and 6 months later, she was given a clean bill of health. We lived a life of love and smiles.
Six months later she began to have pain, at times it was not bothersome and other times is was excruciating. Khloe didn’t share with her children that she was in pain, protecting them. She was diagnosed with cancer again, this time it had spread from its original spot. By April 2019, my soulmate was battling cancer again. We were taking weekly trips to Boston for treatment and emergency department visits to Concord Hospital for pain. Our smiles faded.
On May 9, 2019 Khloe was told she was beating cancer as all her tests were coming back with hopeful results. May 12th my family and hers gathered at a house in Gilford and were married. We asked each child if they would take me as their step-father, they all said yes. We all smiled. We all celebrated. On May 20th she was admitted to Concord Hospital for an infection, she stayed there for 9 days, delaying her cancer treatment. She was released and stayed the night at our house, then we traveled to Boston for cancer treatment where she was told she needed to stay the night. One night turned into the weekend, then into 2 weeks. June 12, I brought her children to see her in Boston. They all had smiles. I cried inside. It was the last time they saw their mother smiling.
On June 18th Khloe returned home and I never left her side. It was the last night my Khloe, my soulmate was there. No one smiled. The next day I begged her to go to Hospice House, she agreed, and her parents and I moved her in. At the hospice house I was able to be husband, father, brother and friend. I was making her room feel like home, she was at home because I never left her side. I was her home. Friends and family visited daily, sharing smiles of relief.
On June 22, we had to tell her children that their mother had passed away and had joined God. There were no smiles. 5 days later, her children and I celebrated her life. We had one last party, this was the last time they saw Khloe’s family, friends, and myself. During that party there were smiles of fun and there was also sorrow, loss.
Khloe’s smile would light up a room, would light up my heart. We only had a few years together to share our love and those years changed me. She showed me what true love was; lightness, meeting each other needs versus expecting our partners to make us happy. Laughter. Waiting and watching to see if she would look back, just to get one last glimpse. Love is smiles.
-Anonymous, New Hampshire
All Love Letters are pristine, posted as they were received. Please forgive any spelling and grammar issues, since the writing was done in the throes of love, and sometimes love doesn’t care about commas or misplaced letters.