in sickness and in health

Sure health and wealth and party vibes are mostly what I love to remember when I think of my past three decades being married to this one. The pastel sunsets and dance floors, the brimming table with family laughing through the holidays and the nights of crazy merrymaking until we dropped, mostly documented with silly selfies and glam shots but nonetheless all seared into memory. Thanks to social media we can look like the rest of the shiny populous celebrating every coffee or salad in joyful glee. But the real test of this marriage, and I will say yours too, is how you creep through the hard stuff. Together we have buried all four of our parents. Mourned friends who passed too young. Lost our home. Lost jobs. Held our children as they shattered over breakups or disappointments. We have stood united. And fallen apart. Indeed we have for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, forged a solid bond.

Who thinks of all of that when only wanting to step out in rhinestones and yards of tulle? Not this girl. I saw only flash in front and I wanted to run straight into it’s glow. Perhaps some people are better prepared for the hard stuff. I always found the downhills shocking. Before my surgery I decided to go in blind. I didn’t want to know anything in advance. I entered this second marriage much the same way. Of course I assumed it would be simply marvelous, because why wouldn’t it? I am not even sure I knew what loving someone could possibly mean at the time, not sure I anticipated all the complexity of emotion, all the facets one might feel on any given day. But as we navigated together I quickly learned that those holy vows we spoke to each other, alone in a small chapel in Maine, would be tested. And tested again. Torn down and often in need of attention. Desperate for reminding.

I left the hospital not at all sure what recovery would feel like, but I knew for sure I would be given the very best care by my spouse. Decades of her loving has already established that. As blind as I was entering the hospital, she was the opposite. Every possible pillow or pad that might make me comfortable had been ordered and stashed in her home office ahead of time. She is someone who does their homework. Who researches exactly how a body might react, and therefore how to keep me safe and comfy. I was ushered into recuperation by a pro. Someone who made even the most difficult of tasks fun, and so, here, in the midst of my discomfort, we laugh, that same laugh we do when flying high. What a blessing a good caregiver is! I have had a few friends who returned to health just as lucky, but I imagine there are scores of people navigating most of these hard moments alone, and that is heartbreaking to think about. I know, after this experience, I will try be a better friend to those in need, offer more kindness. More food prep. More calls and texts and cards. And definitely more flowers.

As Valentine’s Day looms upon us, I am more than content with this love I chose decades ago, with all the innocence and naivety my youth and disposition held, to love and to cherish, knowing that we will brave this hard stuff too.



17 thoughts on “in sickness and in health

  1. Moira–this was beautiful. Finding the right partner isn’t just something–it is everything.
    ‘In sickness and in health, to love and to cherish.’ My husband and I celebrated our anniversary this week. Those words have never been more important.
    Wishing you well as you recuperate.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Thanks to social media we can look like the rest of the shiny populous celebrating every coffee or salad in joyful glee. But the real test of this marriage, and I will say yours too, is how you creep through the hard stuff.” Moira, this says it all for me as well. Great post. Lotsa love contained within it!


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