Remember when you first fell in love with your life partner? When I look back on that time, it seems we experienced everything through a soft filter. I reveled in every new detail I learned about my new love. Then when we got engaged, there was such a sense of elation and excitement about what’s to come. There’s so much to look forward to- the romance, the wedding, the dreams of children and paving a future together that is rosy and full of possibility. And on our wedding day, we spoke those vows, the ones we spent so much time crafting, with all of our hearts. Every word had meaning and depth and there was so much joy and love!
It was 18 years ago that Mike and I shared those vows. I remember them so clearly. We spoke of our hopes and our desire to share the rest of our lives together, to be there for all the good and bad, in sickness and in health; and, for me, a willingness to accept all things Star Trek.
I’ve thought about those vows occasionally over the past 18 years. We’ve had challenges and joys. Lost a daughter. Created two amazing children. Struggled financially and made money. Felt the strain of growing at different times and fighting to find our way back to each other. We’ve even questioned whether committing to one person for ‘the rest of your life’ is a plausible thing. And somehow we always manage to come back to the same conclusion: our love is worth the good, bad, questions, disagreements, ups and downs.
But even though I spoke the words, I never, ever imagined the ‘sickness’ part of the vows would come into play in our lives. I was 34 when we wed, but there was still a certain amount of innocence and naivety present for both of us. Blame it on that soft filter. We said the words. We meant them. But I just didn’t think I would have to experience them. It’s only natural. We were young, healthy, and had our whole lives ahead of us. How could we imagine a time when cancer would enter our world?
But here we are. And I would like to acknowledge my love. In the last several months, my husband has held me in the late night as fear descended on me, allowed me to share all my thoughts and emotions and made me laugh when I needed to have a break. He has reassured me he will love me with or without my breasts. He has stepped in to help with our boys, doing some of the emotional, physical and spiritual nurturing that I normally handle. He has dealt with his own feelings about my cancer in an open, honest, but timely way, making sure I was in a place that was good before sharing. He has dealt with the pressure of being the sole bread winner and the conflict that creates when he just wants to be by my side to comfort and care for me. He has given me shots, emptied my drains and washed my hair when I couldn’t lift my arms above my head. And he continues to re-assure me that he’s going to like my bald head because I’m gonna look like a bad-ass Star Trek character.
How was I wise enough to pick this man so many years ago? Mike wasn’t my type. At all. For a long time I didn’t even notice him and he didn’t notice me. But then he made me laugh. And laugh some more. And that first hug- oh my goodness. I had never felt so much warmth and love and compassion in a hug before. I felt safe in a way I’m not sure I ever had. And despite my mantra to never even date an actor, I fell in love with this amazing man.
I am blessed to share my journey with my love. This phase of our lives will some day be a blip in time and we will look back on it to see how much strength we’re gaining from each other; how it’s all perfect for some sort of learning we each had to experience. And I’ll lean into my husband and allow his warm hug to envelop me, reminding me I am always safe and always, always loved.
Thank you Mike. You are my love and I’ll spend forever letting you know how grateful I am to have you as my partner.