(Written Friday night in ICU at Jeff’s bedside, after his surgery)
When I said, “For better or worse,”, “In sickness and in health,” I meant it. Even when I didn’t know what it meant.
On that cold November day in our mid-twenties when I spoke those words…you were so humorously nervous about becoming a husband. Me, so in love and so oblivious to just how hard marriage could be. We were so sure we had it all figured out. The older couples around us must have looked on with a curious mixture of fear for us at our ignorance and joy with us at our enthusiasm. The same way we look at young couples now. Years in together, three kids and many adventures later, we are finally all grown up. Or at least significantly on the way.
And look at where we are tonight. You just out of another surgery to deal with the damage cancer is doing to your guts. Me weeping at your bedside, my guts all knotted up too. Who knew this was coming?
Really, no one knows what their vows mean until they have to keep them. I guess we know something about it now.
I look at you laying in ICU. Again.
I see you sleeping, exhausted and pale, attached to beeping machines with tubes running everywhere. Again.
I feel my heart ache, literally, with a visceral spasm that rolls through me from the inside out. My soul must look like angry waves on the front end of a hurricane. Again.
And I know I will have to do all of this again.
And I will.
Because I love you. Because just like on our wedding day, I am choosing to love you. I didn’t know what it meant then. I sort of have a clue what it means now. And I’m still in. Even though I don’t know what we will both have to do in order to keep our vows. I will try my best to love you with all I’ve got, even as it breaks my heart, even as it leads me to places like this. I will hold your hand and kiss your face and honor you until it is time to hand you off to the One who loves You infinitely more than I do.
And that must be a lot – because after all these years together, I’m learning to love you quite a bit.