(Post from Paul) “L” is for the way she looks at me…

Word up, fellow cancer warriors:

If any of you should happen to see my wife in your travels today please tell her this, “The luckiest day in Paul Bradford’s life was the day he met Pammy Vitale.”  I tell her that very thing myself, over and over, but lately the truth of that statement has hit me so hard that I’m not sure I can express it all by myself, so I’m asking for your help.  

The date, by the way, of that lucky meeting was May 28, 1989 (which is less than a year before the day we married.)  I suppose the first development in our relationship that I can actually credit as an accomplishment is that I fell in love with her.  Now the thing you should understand about falling in love is that — even before we fall — every one of us has pretty solid ideas about what’s going on.  We grow up immersed in books, and movies, and songs, and stories from friends and family that contain all the instruction anyone might need to navigate the winding paths of love.  After I fell for my Pamela, I knew what to say to her, what to do with her, what to give her — you know these things too.  We all know the methods of love.

I loved her and (for reasons I’ll never understand) she loved me back.  It was a wonderful experience but it was the kind of experience I was prepared for.  I don’t know anything everyone else doesn’t know; but I knew how to be in love, how to be engaged, how to arrive on time for church on the big day.  She might tell you otherwise, but the whole operation — from “How do you do?” to “I do” played out in a completely satisfactory, if predictable, way.

At our reception I gave our pianist a request, grabbed a microphone and sang her a love song.  Maybe you know it.  Sammy Cahn wrote the lyrics; one of them went like this:

Through the good or lean years, and in all the in between years, All the Way.

Prepared or not, I was resolved to love my wife “all the way”.  I suppose, over time, we’ve had “good” years, “lean” years, “in between” years.  Which were which?  I’ve forgotten.  It’s all one — and my Pamela has been the one constant.

The thing I’d like to point out here is that ‘falling in love’ isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.  I remember walking the sands with her, on a Caribbean vacation, some time back and telling her that I’d fallen for her all over again.  It felt perfectly normal to me because, even then, I knew what to do.

Now I’m facing a totally new situation.  The events of the last few weeks have pulled at my heart in such a way that I’m falling in love with my wife yet again.  From the responses all of you have been making I’m starting to think that everyone is falling in love with her.  I’m in love; but this time I haven’t the first idea as to what to do.  Who writes songs about this stuff?

I want to comfort her; but, so often, discomfort is her only option.  I want to encourage her; but there are so many times when fear hangs onto both of us like a house guest who refuses to leave.  I want to amuse her, but there are stretches when her sense of humor simply takes a vacation.

The love is real.  The love is familiar.  It’s Déjà vu all over again.  At yet, it’s also unprecedented, and strange, and unsettling, and straight-out weird.  I really don’t know what to do.  I’m utterly puzzled and completely clueless.  Love feeds on hope, but I can’t really picture what that hope will be — other than to hope I can manage to savor every amazing moment that comes along with loving Pam.

Whether we admit it or not, the task of ‘courtship’ comes with its own tutorial.  On the other hand, the task we’re facing now, the task of meeting uncertainty with courage and of holding onto faith even when there are no reasons to believe is a blank canvas.

I’m forced to take a big risk, and invest my love in the unknown discoveries of so many unknown tomorrows.

The path may be dark, but it’s a comfort to know I’m not walking it alone.

Stay Well,



About pamvbradford

I am a fifty seven year old banker specializing in government banking. I have a beautiful twenty-one year old daughter and a wonderful husband. My husband and I recently downsized, and purchased a beautiful condo in Watertown MA. We love our new home. I know I am a very fortunate person. I am surrounded by supportive family members, by supportive coworkers and by the marvelous support of our faith community at Sacred Heart Parish in Lexington MA. As the Psalm says, "There is nothing that I lack." My whole life changed on July 18, 2012 when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The news came from out of the blue. My tumor was removed by the marvelous Dr. Mark Johnson and his wonderful team of surgeons at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. The surgery truly was a miracle. I couldn't possibly have gotten better care. Now the 'easy' part is over. The tough part is to learn to walk with God in the midst of danger and surprise. My mood shifts from gratitude to fear and back again but I know God has a purpose for me. There's a reason I didn't die on the operating table. There's something that God wants me to do. This blog is my effort to share with others, with all of you, what it is that I am learning as I put one foot ahead of the other, live each day as it comes, and discover what it is that God has to teach me. Your prayers keep me going. Your love comforts me. Your knowledge and faith guide and teach me. God bless you all!
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7 Responses to (Post from Paul) “L” is for the way she looks at me…

  1. Julie Lancaster says:

    You really did it this time. I am sitting here in the airport, reading this post. I can hear violins playing love songs, I see lovebirds flying overhead and hearts and flowers filling the air. You wonderful romantic, and you shared this with us all. I am guessing you will be falling in lovewith my precious sister, again and again. Don’t worry, you’ll know just how.
    PS I was also there when you sang to her. A tender moment, and how you made her smile!
    I think you might get the best husband award…EVER.

  2. Eunice Laffey says:

    Once one meets Pam, you can’t help but love her. Paul, you were the lucky one that won her heart. We are with both you on this journey of faith, hope and love…
    May the Peace of Christ live in you each day, especially on the most difficult days.

  3. Mary Ellen says:

    I remember when you sang to her on your beautiful wedding day, Paul. Yes, you love her over and over. That’s what love IS! That’s what YOU ARE. Love YA
    your sistah

    • pamvbradford says:

      (from Paul)


      …and well I remember YOUR beautiful wedding! Many devout people claim that Christ was present at their nuptials, but you’re the only one with pictures to prove it!

      Luv YA!

      Ya Brutha

  4. Kim Donoghue says:

    Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you all. You’re very blessed to have found a love as yours.

  5. Maria O'Brien Hylton says:

    Another amazing post Paul!

  6. Thomas says:

    Wow, this is beautiful Paul. Maybe you’ll need to write your own song.

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