Anniversary - Kate Bowler

BOOK LAUNCH DAY: No Cure For Being Human (and other truths I need to hear)

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Anniversary

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.

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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.

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Happy Anniversary, honey.

I will love you all the days of my life.

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Mara Willard
Mara Willard
5 years ago

Love and beauty and strength, Kate. That’s you. Precarious life, but real. Bravo.

Quinn Barreth
Quinn Barreth
5 years ago

Happy anniversary you two and congratulations on the diagnosis.

Mark Penner
Mark Penner
5 years ago

I ate 2 teen burgers for dinner on Sunday night, so there is an argument to be made for you living longer than me.
Also, Canada is doing well at the Olympics (dominating USA in medals per 100k population), throwing into question all those nice things you said about Toban at the end there.

Michael Bell
Michael Bell
5 years ago

What a beautiful post. Tears in my eyes.

shanna
5 years ago

beautiful. so much of it rings true to me, having gone through other kinds of sickness, only five years in marriage. happy anniversary!

Brenda Frobisher
Brenda Frobisher
5 years ago

So beautifully written …. an ex Grad Studies employee, worked with your mom … Happy Anniversary!!

Elly Tucker
5 years ago

I love you from afar, Kate. But my love is real. I met your parents on Semester at Sea, that big boat that took them to 9 countries in the summer of 2010. I heard wonderful tales of you and your family. I sang in your mom’s choir. And your mom and I danced together, did yoga together and wept when we parted. And we never stopped loving each other. With that love, I took on a surrogate “niece named Kate”. I have followed closely in your stuggles and your triumphs. I do like the triumphs better, but I am… Read more »

Karen
Karen
5 years ago

So grateful your Mom shared this. You are an amazing woman and writer. Hallelujah that you are stable. I will just keep storming the heavens on your behalf. Ohhh! Happy anniversary!

mom Penner
mom Penner
5 years ago

I am sending this to you while tears are streaming down my face.
I am so proud of you and Toban. You both have learned to fight the good fight with all your might.
May God be your constant.
This is a Happy anniversary!

Leslie Earnst
Leslie Earnst
5 years ago

Hi Kate! I’m Leslie Earnst–a Texas friend of your in-laws Els and Ken Penner. Congratulations on your 14 beautiful years together. I love that you have a wonderful husband–handsome, constant, loving, funny, precious Penner. I have been praying for you for a long time and worrying about you and your family. I have such a good husband (W.C.)–loving, funny, loyal, dependable, and precious–that I will have been married to for 48 years this Christmas 2016. I have metastatic breast cancer and have only been on this path since July 1–my 68th birthday. I have my second surgery on Monday August… Read more »

Jennifer Findlay
Jennifer Findlay
5 years ago

Please write a bestselling love story!!!! Your words are so incredibly beautiful and I could read them forever.

Marcia
Marcia
5 years ago

This is so beautiful, Kate! So grateful you are using this time when you could be, probably should be, just resting, to write! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Deanna Thompson
Deanna Thompson
5 years ago

I’m exhaling, too, with news of stable tumors. Praise God the medicine is working. Praise God for another anniversary. May it be forevercancer, and may you continue to courageously, fiercely, love this life and those who share it with you. Great rejoicing and much love from Minnesota

Rosemary Corbett
Rosemary Corbett
5 years ago

Happy anniversary and Godspeed to you and your family, Kate.

Sheila Rowand
Sheila Rowand
5 years ago

Congratulations,
with much love and admiration.
Thinking of you so often,

Karen Bowler
Karen Bowler
5 years ago

Kate, in all these good wishes expressed here, and all those the come to Dad and I, it feels like the community of Love is holding hands and encircling you and Toban! There’s so much prayer, so many loud cheers, exclamations of wonder, and sighs of relief, –wave upon wave of loving thoughts from friends, co-workers, and strangers. And it just keeps coming. My cousin Johnny called me today, raucously happy for you and wants to send you a hug; My cousins Jackie and Cathy send assurances that prayer goes on unceasingly. Emails arrive constantly. It’s a cottage industry! I… Read more »

Naomi
Naomi
5 years ago
Reply to  Karen Bowler

Hi Karen. Thank you for letting us know and giving us the opportunity to ask God for healing and assistance for the family. Auntie Yvonne has passed along your emails.
Much love, Naomi

Bobbie Palagi Smith
Bobbie Palagi Smith
5 years ago

Funny and sad, sweet and true. A promise and a prayer written by an expressive young woman about her illness and her love.
I cried.

Frank
Frank
5 years ago

Incredible! I can’t wait to read what you write for the 50th anniversary. May God bless and guide you both always.

Abi Parker
Abi Parker
5 months ago

Loved the pic. You have the most beautiful smile and the wedding photo highlights that and how young you and To an were then.
Been following you esp the holiday devotionals. Think the world of you both. So heartened by your latest scan. Always praying for you and yours. Love abi parker

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