There was a nasty bout with pancreatitis mid-twenties and a relapse a few weeks later that boomeranged us back to the ER and another hospitalization. Our mid-thirties uneathed a cancer diagnosis that ran wild amongst a wiley second grader and two pre-schoolers. It was a touch-and-go month of hospital beds I prayed would not be a deathbed. Never mind the actual treatment that half kills.
And in those eleventh hour vigils enveloped by the organic smell of infirmity and strangled fear, I planned. I thought of mortgage payments and college tuition, a late start career and single motherhood, and made a morbid plan.
How would I live without him?
And my thoughts were pragmatic because the practical was urgent and I couldn't bear the sentimental. But he is more than his paycheck, his stern daddy voice, and horsey rides for a house full of three-feet-tall laughter.
And I think of these things now, while he's healthy and lingers longer with me. He winks when no one watches, and for a moment, although we're five, it's just he and I hanging by a glance in mid-air. I hear him breathe life's rhythm beside me, steady and quiet through the nights. He hugs from behind when I'm anchored to a sinkful of suds, and I feel his palm on my middle holding me strong. I am filled when he eats from my dishes and am heady with the smell of him is in my sheets.
These are the things that make me know two things for certain when two-become-one are finally parted by death. I will be but half, and one lifetime will have not been near enough.
Take Home: Are there defining moments in your marriage that caused you to take stock and stop taking your mate for granted?