If you have ever watched and waited for months or years for someone you love to come home….

….this story is for you.

The other day tucked away in a corner of our attic….in a box labeled “Navy” ….I found a stack of cassette tapes.

Remember those?

The tapes were bundled up together with frayed rubber bands next to some pictures, a few medals and a white stuffed bear wearing a patriotic hat with a banner that said, “I love my sailor.”

A box of nothing.

And a box of everything.


There was a time when I lived every day waiting for those cassette tapes.

They were my lifeline.

I would put one in the cassette player and stand in the closet wrapped in clothes that smelled just like him.  And his voice would sweep over the room….talking about his day and the food in the mess hall and the stars in the sky and how much he liked playing in a band on the ship.

And that he missed me.

And if I closed my eyes and buried my face in his shirt and listened to that tape….

….it was almost like he was there.

Right next to me.

Instead of thousands of miles away across the oceans.


Months and months those messages traveled back and forth across the distance that separated us.

And even though the tapes helped….it was so hard.

I almost forgot what he looked like.

I tried to put on a brave face and be sympathetic and understanding and supportive.

But I got discouraged.

And so lonely.

I wanted to give up.

I wanted to scream and shake my fists and cry….

…..and say it wasn’t fair.

But I couldn’t.  


I think he sensed my sadness and discouragement.

I think he knew how hard it was to be at home with all of the waiting….

….the interminable, never-ending, unceasing waiting.

And he understood.

So he showed me in the only way he knew how….he sent me a tape.  And this one was more special than all the others combined.

I put in the tape in the cassette player, pressed play and listened with tears streaming down my face as he softly strummed these words to me….

“Tomorrow morning if you wake up

And the sun does not appear.

I…..I will be here.


If in the dark you lose sight of love

Close your eyes and have no fear

‘Cause I…..I will be here.


As sure as seasons are made for change

Our lifetimes are made for years.

So I….I will be here.”


That song kept me company until the day that guitar-strumming sailor came home.

I greeted him with open arms, highlighted hair, red lipstick and the perfect pose.

Then life continued on and the years passed….

….and cassette tapes became a thing people sell at yard sales for a quarter.

But tucked away in a dusty attic in a box with a stuffed bear and some rubber bands is a sweetly sung promise….

….to last a lifetime.

PS  The amazing Stephen Curtis Chapman wrote this song.  You can listen to it here.

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  1. Image for Cari Cari

    I just put this mascara on and now I'm wiping it off my cheeks!! Touching, beautiful, sentimental, priceless..... A true love story. My husband just retired after 23 years in the Army. I saved every letter, card and note from too many Army schools to count, more tdy trips than there are in a year and multiple deployments with small children that seemed like an eternity. Thank you for his service and your dedication to your sailor..... And thank you for such a heartwarming start to my day.

  2. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I'm sorry but I got so engrossed in the beautiful story I completely missed your beautiful photographs -- something like a handsome sailor walking straight passed the vision in purple. Now I'll go back -- reread the story-- and properly admire the photographs. Great stories are meant to be reread! Again and again. There is love and there is sharing a lifetime of beautiful moments. I'm so glad you got your sailor -- I got my airman. I have all the letters from my honey when we were separated and I have all the letters from my son when he was in the Navy. I'm a romantic and very sentimental. Big hugs to you beautiful friend.

  3. Image for Kathi Kathi

    My husband retired after 30 years in the Marine Corps. I know just how you feel. And now I can say things like my mother and father used to say. "Time goes too fast." When I think of the years of waiting. But this month will be 42 years of marriage, and it was worth the waiting. A very loving gesture. Frame the CD. PS, I have a walk in closet in my bedroom. Not a dressing room, but with enough wall space. And between the cubbies they inserted an old china cabinet I saved. Each day we go into that closet and all those private, funny, angry, sharing moments that say a lot about a couple are on the walls and in a china cabinet. Things that are meaningful to us, but no one else. Things like my Grandmother's hats, my wedding veil, my husbands uniform and medals. It's out there, but just for us. Kathi

  4. Image for jan g jan g

    i am gulping and swallowing hard early this morning karianne... i have been posting pic's of my dad this week as his 80th birthday would have been next tues... if you don't mind, would like to post this lovely song tues. as it's just as inspirational in memory as in beginning a life together... Bless you.

  5. Image for Naomi Wright Naomi Wright

    Why do you always make me cry and mess up my make-up??? LOL I'm forever saying "This lady should write her life away!" Just write like nobody is watching in a quiet room away from it all. Sigh. I'll just wait. As for those cassette tapes, I still have mine! They're stuffed away in my garage. One day, I plan to buy a converter and convert them all onto a CD or I'll just play them in my old cassette player. Yes, I'm telling my age and thank the Lord I'm here to tell it. What you have is a marriage that most people can only dream about. You are definitely blessed and I know that you know this. You're been blessed with great memories, a great gift of writing and a great family. God is truly awesome!!! Have a blessed day/weekend my friend.

  6. Image for Yvonne Cannon Yvonne Cannon

    Thanks for sharing! I too have old cassettes from when he was in the Navy! Very dark moments when he was away for deployments. I would have to say Desert Shield - Desert Storm and being alone with no family in another state with a new baby! I also would hold his clothes and cry a lot! So glad to know I wasn't the only one missing her sailor! Thanks again for sharing!

  7. Image for Rita C at Panoply Rita C at Panoply

    Karianne, what a beautiful story so full of your heart and how it speaks of your love! Oh my goodness, better than any DIY, any recipe or home tour! I've only started recently following your posts regularly - what a way to get to know you better! Thank you. Rita C at Panoply

  8. Image for Robin Stephens Robin Stephens

    Doesn't having an "our song" add so much dimension to a marriage? Honestly, I think it's the handful of meaningful, little things that creates the tie that binds.... It's really not much about the biggies, is it? Sweet, sweet post, Mz KariAnne....and great song. I clicked your link and played SCC's song ~ twice ~ while I packed hubby's lunch. Truly a delightful read (and listen) this AM. Thanks, as always, for your generous, uplifting kindness through heartfelt words...... Wish you lived next door as I'd have you over for morning coffee often. Happy, happy day!

  9. Image for sarah@tomfo sarah@tomfo

    Yep... definately one of many of your fabulous stories... I adore your stories about your man. And thank him from over the seas in OZ for letting us live the life we do today. Have a lovely weekend lady. x

  10. Image for Nancy Carr Nancy Carr

    Karianne, What a lovely story and song. I sent the youtube video of the song to another Nancy who is by her husband's side in NY as they are battling his cancer. I am sure she will love the song when she hears it. Karianne, you are a big bright spot in my days.

  11. Image for Kathy Kathy

    I could just feel the loneliness, love, and longing in this post. Absolutely beautiful. Going to give my husband an extra hard hug before he walks out the door this morning!

  12. Image for Carole Carole

    I smiled, I cried, I remembered my own story....still have all my love letters from many years ago from my Air Force guy....thank you for sharing your beautiful story will all of us.

  13. Image for Beth Beth

    As soon as I saw the title of your post I started humming (in my head) that very song by Steven Curtis Chapman. One of my favorites. And a very special song to you and your hubby. Love your stories.

  14. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    You know I love tears in my coffee, don't you! I just wanted to tell you and your sailor with twinkling eyes...thank you for your service! Enjoy your weekend! ;)

  15. Image for Liz Thomas Liz Thomas

    KariAnne, Such a beautiful post this morning, thank you!! And thank you also for not having adverts pop-up covering your beautiful photos!!!

  16. Image for Terri Terri

    Beautiful...................... Sweet reminders .. the little things that surprise and encourage us!! Love that song too!!! :)... well said Karianne

  17. Image for Kelly @ the Moon and Me Kelly @ the Moon and Me

    Amazing...this song was playing on my husbands music app this morning while we were getting dressed...and it had been a long time since I had heard it. Funny how things just go together like that! P.S. I love your love stories. :) Have a fabulous weekend! Kelly

  18. Image for Vicki Vicki

    Bless your heart! What a story! I am the mother of a little boy who never wanted to do anything hard - he said he would just be a dentist or something ! Lol (He only saw the dentist come in and look at his teeth after all the cleaning had been done). Then one day that little boy, who didn't want to do anything hard in his life took off for Iraq, came home and went again, then went to Afghanistan. This mom's heart stayed tucked inside her prayer closet and waited, knowing there was nothing she could do, but that God could do everything and all things. My soldier is home now and I thank God every day for His Grace. May God bless your sweetheart for his sacrifice and you for your waiting on him faithfully and giving him good, wonderful reasons to look forward to coming home. Happy Veterans Day!

  19. Image for Anna Anna

    Awe.. This is hard to read. My daughter is 18 (a baby I her parent's eyes) and is currently in the US Navy boot camp as I type. She is extremely homesick and never thought she'd be...so as hard as it was for you, I know it was just as hard for him. Those that know us and love us know just how to touch us in ways that say, 'it's gonna be alright...' Thanks for sharing

  20. Image for nana nana

    It is so nice to hear of beautiful blessed marriages . In these days most of the news is about cheating and divorcing. I feel proud to say that I also feel blessed to have found my prince charming and love of my life. But it took some hard years first.

  21. Image for Regina Regina

    I have a stack of letters my husband sent from his summer mission trip to Alaska. I need to get those 30+ year old letters out and read them! He also made me a mix tape (yep, tape!) that I would love to have burned to a CD! OK, I guess MP3, now! LOL! Beautiful story, beautiful song! I'm still smiling! :)

  22. Image for Andrea Andrea

    Ah you are a master, KariAnne you are a master of "open heart" surgery! Be kind to us as you hold our hearts in your hand with these beautiful stories. My own son sent postcards to us from all over the world as an officer in the Coast Guard, but had no sweetheart to welcome him home at that time. This year he married The One, a beautiful and intelligent wife, and I am so glad he has that kind of love who now waits for him and welcomes him with open arms when he comes home from long assignments.

  23. Image for Winnie Winnie

    You know how sometimes you need to just cry but don't know it yet? And then someone comes along who enables you to let go? Thanks, KariAnne - you and your Sweetie are truly blessed to have found 'true love'!

  24. Image for Mira Mira

    *tear... This is sweet. It's so special that you have those tapes! I know you have already thought of this, but save them digitally because one day your grandchildren will be so thrilled to have that recording! Reminds you of just how blessed you are to have that love. :)

  25. Image for Michele Michele

    This is "our song" too. My husband sand it to me at our wedding. He was so nervous, but it was the most special moment! I actually have a person custom making an art print to hang above our bed with (some of) the lyrics. I can't wait to get it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  26. Image for jae jae

    What a beautiful, poignant story. I am so glad it has such a happy ending. And that you kept those precious 'life savours' to remind you that love can survive lonely and distance and time. Wishing you both a beautiful autumn weekend. You truly are a world class rockstar!

  27. Image for Julia G. Julia G.

    Thank you both for your service to our great Country! Karianne so glad you have your sailor and that you share some of your stories with us.

  28. Image for chrissi chrissi

    what a fitting post with veteran's day next week. i remain grateful for the men and woman and their loved ones who give so much so that i can have so much more. thankful for your cute husband and all of the brave that served and serve. thankful for the ones that wait so their loved ones can serve.

  29. Image for Deanna Deanna

    What a beautiful story! My husband was not in the military but I have all our old notes from when we were in Bible School and dating. Quick notes left in my mailbox, letters, cards. It is all precious to me. Thank you for sharing. Deanna

  30. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Your post made me a little sad and melancholy. My hubby spent five years in the military during the Viet Nam war. I had saved all his letters from his many deployments, but in a desperate moment, when he was leaving for a full year away from our infant son and me, I decided to burn all of them. I feared that he would not return and I did not want to spend the rest of my life reading them over and over and wishing for what might have been. The GOOD news is that he did return safe and sound! The BAD news is that I regret burning those precious memories. The BEST news is that we have been granted many additional years to make more wonderful memories! I'm so glad that you still have yours and thank you for sharing your love story with all of us. God Bless!

  31. Image for Kristan Kristan

    KariAnne, I needed this song. My husband was just diagnosed with cancer a week ago and we are in the process of finding out the primary source......It has been a whirlwind of tests, doctors, more tests and we're finally talking treatment. This story, today, and the song just meant everything to me. I was finally able to cry, to give into the fear, but at the same time know that we are strong people who have dealt with some pretty heavy blows in the past. And we are survivors and fighters and lovers. I know you didn't mean it for me....but I can't help believing that the Universe had me read this story today and listen to that song, and for that, thank you!

  32. Image for Mah Mah

    Well at least I wasn't eating breakfast! which I usually am doing when I read your stories, and it is really hard to eat a bagel and cry at the same time. Love to you and your family.

  33. Image for Cheryl @ Artzzle Cheryl @ Artzzle

    My mom and I had something called snugs. It was when we were both crying, and we'd hug and press our teary cheeks together. I wish I could give you a snug right now, because your story has made me cry. As a young girl, my heart ached as each of my four brothers left for service, and when I married, we were Navy for 4 1/2 years. One of his tours was extended beyond the normal time frame, because of the Viet Nam war. My Hubs (of the last 31 years) is ex-Army and all these years later, we are experiencing grandkids and their loves going through it all. I had never heard that song, but now, am going to arrange to send it to all our family members in military service. And as many have said today, thank you for your service. Because as we all know, it takes two in those situations. Have a wonderful weekend.

  34. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Miz karianne, after all the above posts there isn't much left for me to say! I always enjoy your stories. You are gifted in that way, you know. I truly appreciate your service to our country. Like one lady said, it takes both of you......so, the only thing I can think of is, WOW, you've come a long way since then, baby! Happy Vereran's Day!

  35. Image for Lindsay Lindsay

    Thank you for this post. I really, really needed it today. My husband is currently deployed (we've been doing this USMC thing for 10 years now whoo!) and I am seven months pregnant praying for his safe return and for our daughter to wait calmly inside me until he gets here. Every day I miss him, but every day I'm so proud of him and love him more. Thank you for your service, and sacrifice. We know it well;)

  36. Image for Susan Susan

    I just love your stories. They always touch my heart, make me smile and make me cry. I love how you just love this man so much. Beautiful words from such a beautiful person. Susan

  37. Image for Maggie Maggie

    What a beautiful love story and what a beautiful song!! Love Stephen Curtis Chapman's songs. Thank you so much for sharing your story, you put your heart in every one of them. You are my favorite blogger !!. Have a blessed Sunday !!

  38. Image for Libby Boyle Libby Boyle

    Okay, there were tears. A beautiful piece of writing. Loved it. My man is often away for work, but we're yet to experience the seven months type separation. So far just over three has been the most, but next year could see the seven months thing happen. I'll need to come back and re-read this post if it does. www.libbyslifestyle.com

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