Today I celebrate 19 years of being married to Emma. Over those we had many adventures that have taken us literally across the world. Over that period too we both changed our careers, lived into new possibilities, all with the mutual support of each other.
The “sickness and health” aspect of our wedding vows seems to loom larger for both of us as we age. My cancer in particular has caused stress and anxiety and a need to reevaluate our priorities.
But over the last two decades, whether good times or bad, and we certainly experienced both, I am grateful that I have never once doubted our commitment to each other as life partners.
I am grateful that as we both have retired from our careers, that we look to spend more time and energy doing those things we did during our first few years of married life – whether traveling, cooking, spending time with the children and grandchildren, or following and sharing our spiritual paths.
My years in sobriety and now my year plus with cancer brought me to a better appreciation of the blessings of the last 19 years with Emma. To begin with, I know that were it not for sobriety, Emma and i would never have met. Without recovery, I would not have the maturity, insights, or direction to live as a couple through the challenges we faced over the years.
And of late, we both have come to see that our retirement years are taking a shift from our original plans. For our first few years of retirement, we both continued as though still employed but just not getting the paycheck – Emma in her store, and me with teaching and work in Peru. My cancer has been the wake up call, dare I say a blessing, to let us know that we are not assured of one day more than the breath we are taking today on this earth.
To that end, we are (slowly) slowing down and spending more time in traveling back streets together, getting ready to hit the road in January for new adventures, planning our gardens, and returning more to the pace and existence that brought us together at the start.
We went to a Waffle House for breakfast on the day we got married. Our logic was that in celebrating future anniversaries, there would always be a Waffle House wherever we were living and that we would be able to afford the meal. We have not been terribly faithful to that plan over the years, but this morning, we will be off to get some waffles!