Dear Ms. Bear...
Thank you for being the first example I ever see of how a marriage should work. You and father, despite all everything you went through, knew what was most important and you both held onto it for dear life. Life may have whipped your sails around, but you two remained ever-grounded to each other. I used to notice the way father would look at you, like he was looking at his whole world, and I instinctively that's how love should be.
Thank you for teaching me to never -- under any circumstances -- compromise. You loved being a wife, sure, but you didn't change yourself in the process. You made being a wife a part of you rather than your whole identity. No one is worth it if they don't want you for who you are, and I'd be happier single and myself versus in a relationship and not even recognizing myself in the mirror.
Thank you for teaching me that, sadly, sometimes love doesn't go the way we want it to. I'm sorry this is something I learned from you, but I saw your fairytale veer off track so quickly and without warning. And guess what, Ms. Bear? It's OK to think that it's utterly unfair because, really, it is. It's such an injustice, especially after all you've been though. But, thank you for teaching me what true strength really is. I hope you know that I'm thankful for that every single day.
P.S. My parent's 35th wedding anniversary. Plus, what they taught me about love and marriage rules they taught me to break... :)