Dave and I were married 27 years ago today. That’s the official number, the answer I say aloud when asked. Inside I am screaming, “Not long enough!”
We met in high school – me a senior and him a freshman. It seemed like an insurmountable age gap at times. I went to college and we wrote letters. (I still have a fondness for snail mail.) He eventually joined me at college and those were glorious times. I graduated and had a terrific job opportunity out of state. A lack of communication saw me take the job and move 500 miles away while he finished college. We should have stayed physically together but we were determined to resume the long distance relationship. We did, but it didn’t make those years fulfilling.
Seven years, nine months, and 6 days after our first date we finally were married. It was sure great to live in the same house after living miles apart for so long!
Life is like a song – some low notes and some high notes – but a wonderful song just the same. Those low notes have been rough and many seemed to continue for many measures. Like most, financial pressure seems like a constant. My dad’s years of mental illness and supporting my mom through it took too much of my time and focus. Autism, anxiety and depression cut hard. And just when we were beginning to anticipate our empty nesting phase, we learned that metastatic breast cancer was going to drastically shorten those years.
But those high notes…
We are best friends and love just hanging out or riding in the truck with Indie. We spend our time off work traveling 4 hours to St Louis for my treatments and tests. Both of us look forward to those days together as if they were true vacations since we get to spend the whole day together. We love our 3 very unique and independent and talented kids so much. We laugh a lot. We dance a lot. We sing a lot.
I attend a lot of weddings since I am a church musician. I’ve seen it all! I often wonder if the brides and grooms leave any time in the rush of wedding preparations to really think about the commitment and their vows. “In sickness and in health” takes on a whole new meaning when you’re holding hands in a doctor’s office as you hear them say, “There is never an easy way to say this.” I remember clutching his hand as hard as I could as the room spun and I had the sensation of falling slowly down a deep hole. He’s been to every oncology appointment and every test and every chemo treatment. He was in the ER when I learned that it had spread to my brain. He helped me walk the halls at Barnes when the tumors were making my world spin.
Anyone can do the better, richer, healthy days with you. The focus should be on finding the one to get through the worse, poorer, and cancer-ridden days. I’ve got the best.
Happy Anniversary, Dave. I hope we are lucky enough to celebrate many more.