50 Reasons to Love Don Shepherd

On October 27, 2006, I married my forever soul-mate. On July 13, 2011, he died. It was sudden and out of nowhere, and now, 3 years later, I still struggle to understand why I have to live without him, and why he doesnt get to live. Today is November 6, 2014. Today, Don Shepherd would have been 50 years old. But instead, he will be forever 46. It’s unfair that I can’t throw him the big 50th birthday party that I always pictured throwing in my head. Instead, I will gather with some friends in Central Park, and sing and play guitars in his memory. And I will write this list – here are just 50 of the reasons why I loved, still love, and will always love, my beautiful husband. I pass this out and share it with the world, because he deserves to be known, and so much more …….

1. He made me understand that I am worth loving.
2. He always handed me the keys to his car with a full tank of gas, and the oil checked.
3. Even though it was his car, he called it “our” car.
4. He often left himself with no money in his wallet, so he could give me his last $10.
5. He smelled like soft sheets and warm blankets and peppermint.
6. His blue eyes were the only thing I wanted to see.
7. Dogs and cats ran to him, demanding his attention. He was a magnet for animals.
8. The way he brushed our kitties teeth, and brushed their coats. So gentle and loving.
9. His twisted and surprisingly dark sense of humor.
10. How sexy and magical it was every time he strummed his guitar.
11. The way he used my knees and legs to create a beat with, like imaginary drums.
12. He said I was beautiful, often, and he meant it.
13. The way he looked at me when I was performing onstage, like he was in awe of me.
14. He carried me to the bathroom, cooked for me, and waited on me for 7 days straight when I threw out my back years ago.
15. He asked for my dad’s permission to marry me.
16. He called my parents “mom and pop” like it was the most natural thing in the world.
17. The way he made me feel un-broken.
18. His amazingly beautiful , animated laugh.
19. The way he cried whenever an animal was in pain, or when our kitties Ginger and Isabelle died. The way I had to hold up his 6 foot 4 body, as he collapsed in my arms.
20. The way he folded his arms and started his sentences with: “Ya know …. “
21. He was a natural teacher, and he knew so much about so many topics, and I was always learning things from him, without ever feeling like I wasn’t as smart or as equal.
22. Nobody gave hugs the way he did.
23. He was my human pillow. My head slept on his chest and he would play with my hair and soothe me to sleep.
24. That thing he used to do in bed .
25. The way he could adapt to anyone or anything. He felt just as happy and comfortable at a gourmet restaurant as he did inside of a Burger King.
26. The one I watched and went to all my Yankees games with.
27. He taught me how to play tennis, and he got me so interested in the sport itself. His passion for everything was contagious.
28. The way he would do things he didn’t want to do (like take 8 weeks of ballroom dance lessons for our wedding), because he knew it made me happy.
29. Because he would have been an even better father than either of us imagined.
30. That other thing he used to do in bed .
31. The way he used to give me 3 cards on special days; one serious / mushy one, one funny one, and one from the kitty cats.
32. Because we could sit in silence together, or talk for hours together. It was all good.
33. He packed up his life into a moving truck and came from Florida to New Jersey, to take a risk on us.
34. He was so incredibly kind.
35. Sometimes he wouldnt talk for hours, and it was never awkward.
36. He looked so damn sexy in his boxers.
37. He looked so damn sexy in his EMS uniform.
38. It was so hot when he would start talking all “medical” and I wouldnt have a clue what the hell he was yapping on about.
39. He brought me through and sat beside me during the absolute worst thing that ever happened to me .
40. He saved me, in so many ways, over and over and over again.
41. He had so many reasons to feel sorry for himself, and he never once did.
42. I was honored and lucky to be his wife.
43. Saying the words “my husband” gave me intense peace and joy.
44. His presence in my life made me feel safe from all things frightening in the world.
45. When I was at work, he would call and say, in the sweetest voice: “When will you be home, Boo? How long?” He missed me when I was not there.
46. I trusted him with my life.
47. Our cat Sammy would sleep ON his head, and he would lay there smiling, with a cat on his head.
48. I loved our simple, beautiful, extraordinary, ordinary life.
49. He held my hand in bed until we were asleep, and then longer.
50. He was the best person I have ever known.

Happy “Not Turning 50”, 50th birthday – my beautiful, dead husband.
I will love you until I no longer breathe, and then, even longer .

Thanks for reading.

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9 thoughts on “50 Reasons to Love Don Shepherd

  1. Such beautiful words. A love gone too soon. At least I had Mike until 62…Don was very young. I guess there is always something to be positive about (for me). I am so glad I have been blessed to have met you however unfortunate the reason. Happy Birthday Don.

  2. Your words ALWAYS resonate for me! I have never written or met you, but it’s about time. I read your list, and of the 50 things, probably half were the same for me. You just say them soooo much better! Monday will be 3 years that my husband, Garret died. I miss him so much, every day. Thank you for sharing your grief with me and so many others. I helps–for real!

    • Thank you Judy!!! Im so glad you chose today to finally write to me. I love hearing from people and it makes me feel good knowing that something I said or wrote resonated with you in some way. Wishing you lots of love and hope on your upcoming 3 year day. It is hard, but you will do it. xoxo ….

  3. What a wonderful list Kelley. Thank you for sharing his NB 50th with us, but I sure dont understand why he can’t be there with you like he is suppose to be. I love getting to know him more, but not the reason for that.

  4. I read this thinking how wonderful of a guy Don was and how lucky he was to have someone so wonderful in his life as you. I’m not sure anyone I know could write a “50 things I love about Jenny” and be as sincere as you are with this list. Every one is perfect and you feel the love in each one.
    Happy unbirthday Don.

  5. I absolutely love the one with the cat on his head. I can so imagine someone lying, smiling, as a cat cushion. These everyday random things are truly the best… Or maybe rare out of time moments are the best, I don’t know. It feels like pretty much everything was the best now.

    Tomorrow it will be 3 months since I found my partner dead on our sofa.

    It’s funny cos his eulogy which I wrote included a part where I said ‘people often asked me to describe Mik. But honestly, to me, describing Mik to someone who didn’t know him was like trying to explain colors to someone blind. So I would give examples. Examples of all those little nothings, meaningless but meaningful things thad made up our days…

    Mik is the guy who use female gender to talk about himself, checks calories when buying groceries and bought a premium account to watch Desperate Housewives online.

    Mik is the guy who flips over a double mattress with one hand like if it were a sheet of paper.

    Mik is the guy who successfully gave his rat mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when she collapsed on him.

    Mik is the guy I find in the kitchen at 4am cooking a couscous.

    Mik is the guy who, after I stopped him from killing a caterpillar and threw it outside, brings it a piece of the cabbage it was in because ‘DUH! if we don’t kill it we can’t let it die from hunger either!!’

    Mik is the guy who drives a truck which has no headlights, no klaxon, no reverse lights, very random signal lights, but still manages to make it pass Technical Control.

    Mik is the guy who always do crazy calculations to make sure there are no odd numbers in his environment.

    Mik is the guy who, for my first birthday with him, showed up at my place before I went to class with a perfume I had randomly mentioned 4 months before… and a cookie in wrapping paper.

    Mik is the guy who, for my second birthday with him, left our place at 7am without a word, and came back 15mins screaming, swearing and cursing ‘the bakers those lazy fucks who open at 8am, cos I wanted to buy you a croissant and leave it on the table with cocoa milk as a surprise birthday breakfast for you to find when you wake up, and I was gonna wait until they open and be late for work, but now you’re awake so it’s spoiled!!!!!

    I could keep going for hours and hours, but I’m sure there is not one person in this room he hasn’t given unforgettable memories (…)

    These little nothings… They ARE everything.

    They scream to the world how lovable and loved a person was.

    How your husband Don was.

    • Beautiful list, and I can totally picture him as I read it.
      Thank you for sharing your love with me here.
      This is what helps keep them alive. Not in the way we want, but its better than nothing, and I refuse to let my husband be forgotten.

  6. Kelley, I’m so grateful to have met you and heard you in Tampa at last year’s Camp Widow. I cried reading your list of 50 things. It’s lost my husband in 2011 too. He was everything to me and I miss him so much everyday. Don sounds incredible and I can tell from your writings that you were an incredible couple. Thanks for sharing your pain, your joy and your light. Julie

    • Awww thank you Julie. Will you be back in Tampa again next time? I will. If so, lets definitely hang out.
      So glad you commented. It helps knowing that people are out there – reading.

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