Donna’s Love Story to Steve
When I found myself single again after 2 failed marriages; I had lost hope of ever finding a true love story in my life.
When I met Steve, I knew that he was a good man, but his circumstances scared me. After all, he had 5 kids. Goodness gracious, how would I be able to survive that?
As time went by, I watched him with his family-how devoted he was to his mother and to each of his children. I had never seen anything like this. I always knew that I wanted a big family to love and be part of. Soon I found myself wanting to be a part of his world.
We both came through some pretty tough stuff and were learning to find solace in each other. We both had a strong faith In God and a desire to live a peaceful and positive life. We both loved to laugh and play. We also seemed to be able to encourage each other and keep each other on track.
When Steve was finally ready to tell me that he loved me, he did it through my love of music. He played Alan Jackson’s “It must be Love.”
I started slowly bringing him into my life. I must admit that my girlfriends could not understand how I could love a man who would put buggers in my bowling ball in order to get a lead in our Thursday night games. But that is the quirky sense of humor that we all know and love about Steve Bruce.
My kids respected him and learned to love him. They were a bit concerned about me marrying a man that still had kids at home. But they respected my choice and gave the man a chance; because they wanted to see me happy. They quickly fell in love with this man that they called Stepfather.
One of the best things that a man can do for his wife is to love her children. One of the best examples that a man can show his child is to love their mother; and he did.
I watched as he treated my children and my mother as his very own. He has encouraged them in their education, their finances, and relationships. When the grandchildren came; he treated them as his own as well.
When my mother had open heart surgery, he opened up our home to her and was a very patient encouragement to her.
These are all amazing in themselves. But wait, there’s more.
When I had a hysterectomy, the first thing that I woke up to was him with his shaky voice telling me how worried he was about me. He slept next to me at the hospital and petted me while I slept. I knew that he was there and it gave me so much peace.
He allowed me to tear up his HOA backyard and turn it all into 12 raised garden beds. When I pushed the envelope and asked for chickens, he said “no”. But a few days later, he played a song for me that has become our theme. In My Dreams-by Josh Turner. He took me into his arms and lead me in a slow 2 step while it played. Then he told me that if having chickens would add to my happiness, then I could try it. As my chickens turned into goats, rabbits, and tilapia; he pretended that he was irritated but he worried about my plants and animals more than I did.
This all lead to the farm. Originally he thought that he was making my dream come true. But he found this place and fell in love with it. He said that it was his dream home and had visions of what the front could look like. So we bought it. Since moving here, we have been working on each other’s dream come true and having so much fun doing it.
Yes- we are day dream believers, but we are so happy together.
We almost never fight. We get along so well. Our relationship is pretty playful. We have encouraged each other in our relationships with God. We challenge each other on a daily basis to live a positive- up beat life. A good friend of mine recently told me that Steve and I had found something that many people do not. My friend said “Donna- how many married couples can tell you that they had a best friend in their spouse?”
Once he was diagnosed-he started trying to speed up the work on the property, but things progressed to fast and he worried about how I would keep up our place. My only worry was him.
The day after he found out about his illness, he was napping on the couch. I was out in the pasture praying-well begging really. I asked God how I should intercede for my best friend. I told God that Steve could be like the man who was lowered from the roof into the crowded house where Jesus was teaching. Jesus healed the man because of the strong faith of the friends. I told God that I had that kind of faith and asked him to heal Steve. The spirit responded that this was not about me this time. Steve belongs to him and this was between Him and Steve. He said that Steve had to walk through this in order to become the warrior that he really was and that I was to comfort and support Steve as he progressed.
Of course, I thought that this message was telling me that Steve would survive this trial. I went into the house and said to Steve “ I just had the most amazing talk with God just now” and he said “So did I, apparently I am some kid of warrior”.
This surprised me because of the peaceful way that he has lived his life.
As he dealt with the reality of his diagnosis; he was more concerned about how the news would affect his mother and children. He worried about my future as well.
During his hospitalization he had a few really lucid moments. He chose to use those times to give financial advice to his kids.
One night, he sat up and told me that I needed to pull out my notebook and pay close attention. He had thought long and hard about a financial plan and a budget that would allow me to keep our farm. He did not want me to sell our dream, but to keep it.
As he explained his plan, I began to cry as I realized how hard this had weighed on his mind. I realized that this wonderful man who had loved me so thoroughly in life, was caring for me after death. When he saw that I was crying, he took my chin in his hand and looked weakly into my eyes. He said “Honey, you are beautiful and I know that you love me, but you are going to have to stop crying if you are going to get your work done.’
He told me that he believed that we bought that piece of property in that community of people for a reason. He knew that I loved them and that they would love me.
He said that he knew that there may come a time when I may decide to sell the place, but he wanted it to be my choice and not something that I was forced into doing.
I say all these things to share with you the kind of life that this man lived. He was kind even to those who showed him disrespect-which irritated me. He cared deeply for his friends and co-workers and spoke highly of them. He loved each of his family members more than his own life.
To the family-We Bruces and Paxtons are strong people. We are not used to losing our battles. But we got our butts beat this time. Our family has lost the companionship of a wonderful man. We would all say that he was the best of us. But I challenge you to remember the beautiful things that happened during the fight. A new love and respect for each other developed that would make Steve very proud. Let’s hold on to that.
You also need to know that whenever I would cry about anything, he would do his best to “fix’ whatever the issue was. When I would cry about his illness it absolutely sent him into a panic, because this was the one thing that he could not fix.
He did not want us crying when we sat next to him. He knows that we love him and would not want us to feel any guilt. He would fix our pain if he could, but he wants us to show the strength that he always encouraged in us.
Steve had initiated a conversation that when the time came to pass, we were to send him to some Hospice place to die. He was worried that to pass in the house would affect a possible future sale.
I rarely tell my husband no. But this was the one time that I would trump my husband’s wishes. I told him that when the time came, it would be in our home, in my arms and surrounded by family. I told him that this would not be a spooky story, but a love story- and it was.
Steve Honey- I love you.