There are moments in life that take the breath right out of you.
You’d thought you had every side protected, every loose string accounted for — but that small sliver of weakness leaves you raw and exposed and it’s so sudden, and so unexpected, you spend a fair amount of time staring into space, uncomprehending.
Marriage isn’t easy. I feel super blessed, because I married the right man and we are best friends — he’s my favorite person to be with, to laugh with, to hold hands. But marriage isn’t just about two people who dig each other’s company. It’s so much more than that. It’s every breath, it’s every challenge, it’s every triumph. It’s every mountain, whether you want to climb it or not. John and I have been together for over seven years (!!!) and we’ve faced poverty, multiple sclerosis, MEN type I, our parents health (which includes cancer on both sides), difficult family relations, a dog who is a vegetarian, frustrations at work, depression …. The list is not short. We’ve also found solace in each other, in the quiet moments eating soup and watching mindless TV, in buying a house together, in traveling to new and exciting places, in brother-in-laws, in food and wine and football. And I know that no matter what we come across on this road of life, we’ll get through it together.
Eight years ago, my grandmother died. She ate steak and banana cream pie at the casino days before she passed away, so she went out on a good note — I hope. I miss her every day — not in that aching, I-can’t-continue-to-live kind of way. But in the I-wish-I-could-call-and-b.s.-on-the-phone kind of way. She moved in with my family when I was five years old, and she made breakfast for my brother and I every morning before school, she was there when we came home, she chased us with a wooden spoon when we made her mad, but she also spoiled us rotten when she thought my parents weren’t looking. She was stubborn as a mule, and very opinionated but she was every kind of fabulous. I was her little girl, her only granddaughter. She bought me so much clothing (in an attempt to ignite in me her love of fashion and jewelry and perfumes …. it didn’t totally work). She tried to get me to collect porcelain dolls. She fed our dogs potato chips.
She died and two months later, I met John.
I think she sent him to me. I know, I know — it sounds naive and ridiculous. But I think she knew I would need someone solid beside me for my life’s journey. She probably knew things I didn’t know yet. She probably knew the man I was with at her funeral wasn’t the right man for me. She was right.
Sometimes life takes the breath right out of you. And nothing seems familiar. Or fair. And in the end, I guess you just have to hold your precious people close to you and hope and pray for the best. You have to believe you’ve made the right decisions. And if I’ve only made one right decision in my life, it was choosing John. And I will do anything and everything to protect that, to protect him and to protect us. And I think that’s the best thing — maybe the only thing — I can really do.