Four years ago today, my husband and I were married at the Cook County Courthouse in downtown Chicago.
Both of us had one marriage and several long-term relationships under our belt. Married too young to people with whom we had little in common except for geographical location, our past relationships had operated from a goodly amount of emotion, drama and sometimes violence.
When we met at school in 2004, we were both very tired of that sort of thing and found it refreshing that our attraction was not founded on sex, or scandal or romantic drama, but a pairing of the minds. He’s a philosopher. I’m a sociologist. We had many interesting things to talk about.
Our relationship moved along with little effort. It was easy. We got along. Neither of us had to be more or less that what and who we were. It was so good, in fact, that we used to tease one another that, sooner or later, some bad mojo was going to come and sweep one of us away.
And so it happened.
On October 4, 2010, I called him from my sports doctors office, crying, saying, “They think I have cancer. It’s in my bones.”
It’s the stuff bad Lifetime movies are made of – but this is real.
Since that day, he’s become part of my larger family. Getting to know my parents and siblings, becoming friends with my sister’s husband, my children and their partners, and warming up to the idea of being a grandpa without ever having been a father. He delights in my (our) children’s successes and winces and becomes frustrated at their challenges. He sometimes offers quiet advice and suggestions. He’s sincerely intrigued with the psychology of our developing and growing grandchildren
With this latest cancer recurrence, He knows that he comes one step closer to becoming my caretaker. Although he feels unequipped for such an undertaking, he is ready to do whatever is necessary, including helping me recognize when enough is enough when it comes to treatments.
After my death, he’ll become the one who will see to my honest memorial. It will become his duty to help my children and grandchildren remember who I was, reminding them of what they meant to me, and helping them figure out what I meant to them. He will be around to help make decisions and parse out money for their secondary education that I will leave in trust for them.
Each anniversary reminds us that “Till death do us part” will come far too early for both of us. But until that day, we continue to move along with little effort, allowing each other to be exactly who and what we are, and having many interesting things to talk about.