Years ago, on a cold night in Cambridge, MA I engaged in a heated, alcohol induced conversation with a charming young man. We started discussing the John Adams HBO series (based on the book by David McCullough). I rambled on and on about how much I wanted to be like John and Abigail. I don’t think that was the conversation he had in mind when we started talking.
There are millions of love stories to get attached to, personal, literary, celebrity, etc. I love John and Abigail because they were real, their love was real, and their hardships were more than anyone of us can probably now imagine. The fact that they sent letters to each other, nearly constantly, during their times of separation makes it appear all the more romantic. Abigail endured to raise her children, work the farm, and protect them from war and disease all without John at her side. He writes in one of his letters, complied in My Dearest Friend edited by Margaret A. Hogan,
“It gives me more Pleasure that I can express to learn that you sustain with so much Fortitude, the Shocks and Terrors of the times. You are really brave, my dear, you are an Heroine.”
He always signed his letters, your John. In the beginning when they first started writing he signed,
Your – (all the rest is inexpressible).
John turned to Abigail with all his political personal rants, woes and worries. She became his strongest ally and sharp tongued critic. Abigail’s wit and intelligence as well as general sweet and loving demeanor led John to trust and respect all her advice and criticism. In one of their early letters she addresses him
“The great distance between us, makes the time appear very long to me. It seems already a month since you left me. The great anxiety I feel for my country for you and for our family renders the day tedious and the Night unpleasant. The Rocks and quick Sands appear upon every Side. What course you can or will take is wrapt in the Bosom of futurity. Uncertainty and expectation leave the mind great Scope.”
The foremost reason I love John and Abigail so much is that I believe their relationship to be a true partnership. They each carried their own personal burdens, the heavier load may have fell on Abigail, but they turned to each other. They used each other to stand up straighter, and gained more faith, love, knowledge, and understanding in supporting one another. Their love lifted them up even in times of peril. Their love story shows us a relationship that gives, loves, supports and attempts to make the world a better place. A story, that I believe, is as important a part of history as the signing of the Declaration of Independence. On this Valentine’s Day here’s to lifting each other up, spreading love, and support even in times of personal or political burden.