Friday, November 7, 2014

50 Reasons I 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 doesn’t 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 will pass this out and share it with the world, because he deserves to be known by many, and he deserves 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 / mooshy 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 wouldn’t 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 wouldn’t 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 .

To read more of our story, or hear more about my upcoming book: My Husband Is Not A Rainbow, please go to my blog at:

Thanks for reading. 


  1. After reading this, I think I'M a bit in love with Don Shepherd - for making you feel so happy. I wish with all my heart that you'd had the opportunity to grow old together. Sending you lots of love, my friend, on this special day xo

  2. Thank you for sharing your husband with us. I think you could write a post for every one of the qualities you mentioned in your list. What a great guy. I, too, feel kind of obsessed about making sure people know and understand the qualities of my husband, how truly special he was, and how he should never be forgotten. I was thinking today how I have taken it upon myself to sort of preserve his memory. But I don't need to carry the whole burden. Everyone he touched has a special memory of him. He was the kindest person I ever met. I am sorry that your life with him was cut short.

  3. You were so lucky to have had such a wonderful husband - even though the time spent together was so short. I like that you said that you still love your husband and always will. The love doesn't die just because the person died. It keeps on growing.

  4. Kelley what a wonderful tribute to your husband on what would have been his 50th. Celebrate the time you had with him. Its 4 years today since my Mike left this world and my kitties (our kitties) and I miss him so much.

  5. Kelley, you so perfectly described love given and love received. Happy 50th Birthday to Don. I send you a big hug, Karen

  6. What a beautiful post! Your love for Don and his love for you both shine brightly through your writing. My husband Ken was also 46 when he died suddenly, almost 8 years ago.

  7. AWWWWW! So lovingly said.

  8. Thank you for sharing. I too didn't get to through my first husband his 50th party. He died in January 2001, the year he would have been 50. Your description of your Don is amazing. He sounds like he was an amazing man. I know he is having a party in heaven and looking down on you smiling.

  9. This was a very good idea, Kelley. I can feel your love.

  10. dear Kelley,

    as you know I read your personal blog straight through from the beginning. now reading the list of why you love Don brings back such touching, funny, loving stories about who he was, to your family, to friends, to your kitties and lots of other ones, to those he worked with, and especially to you, Kelley, the absolute love of his life. what a gorgeous list - and I don't doubt you could create another one just as long or even longer to honor that lovely man you adore. meeting "The One" is the most profound gift we could ever receive. i am just so sorry Don's life was cut short. sending lots of warm hugs to you...

    with much love,


  11. Thank you EVERYONE who commented on this. It helps. Was a rough day. Karen, you are SOOO right about the fact that I could easily make this list into 100 reasons , or whatever. When I sat down to write it, it just sort of came out. One reason after another. I barely had to think about it at all, it just appeared. And when I got to 50, I stopped. But there are more. So many more .......