I was twenty-two when I got married. Young. Dumb. Happy. And quick on my feet.
That was fourteen years ago today.
I married the boy I met at Bible camp because he was funny and kind and absurdly good looking. We stood in a barely air-conditioned church in front of gobs of Mennonites and friends and family, some long since gone. And we promised that we would be there for better, for worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in heath.
I loved your Justin Bieber hair.
We aced “for richer, for poorer.” When we had nothing except what we could fit in a small family van, we could get into a lot of fun trouble on a $5 date. We loved each other so much that we were willing to live off of spaghetti in cities we didn’t grow up in and states we didn’t call home. We deferred other dreams for this one–this job, this place–and when arrived, this happened.
Today I’ll spend our anniversary mostly in the hospital, getting treatment, and putting you to the test, honey. I’ll ask you, again, to forgo the easy plans that people make. The second baby that we both wanted. And the guarantee that we’ll still have that same fight when we’re 80. You know I’ll win. I’m not sure why you keep arguing. But I like that you do.
So here we are, in sickness and in health. And you are exactly who you said you would be. You are constant and loving, funny and sweet. And you say stupid things like: “I still feel like I’m getting a good deal,” when you look at me, lying there, hooked up to drip bags and IVs.
The results are back and the doctor says that my tumors are stable. Praise God. Thankyouthankyouthankyou. They’re big but the medications are holding them at bay for now. There are no new tumors developing. It looks like the drugs are working, giving me forevercancer which is fine if it gets me a foreverlife. And I watched how your shoulders dropped and you sat back, exhaling deeply. Then you reached for my hand. It’s my cancer, my precarious life, but I know this is happening to both of us. And let me tell you the truth I know, truer than how terrible Canada is at the Summer Olympics. Truer than how loudly I eat tortilla chips. Truer than the florescent lights bearing down on us here, in another waiting room, holding another beeper, reviewing the scan results.
The truth is this: you are exactly who you said you would be. You are exactly who I hoped you would be.
Happy Anniversary, honey.
I will love you all the days of my life.