I never thought I would tell this part of our story because, more than anything: it’s more physically personal than I’ve ever been with you.
7 years ago, I heard the words I never wanted to hear [again], “You’ve got abnormal cells,” within the first 3 minutes of my follow up with my OBGYN. Dave and I hadn’t even been married a year. We were just finishing painting the house we’d owned for over a year. I wasn’t ready for children, but I wasn’t sure I’d even have the option to have them at all. My second of the same procedure. Another weakening of my cervix.
It sounds like that’s the story… doesn’t it?
We had a pregnancy in 2011. We lost the baby. Another followed. Her name is Adelaide. Another 2 years later, her name is Camille. And I lost another pregnancy not too long ago. It wasn’t planned or expected, it was early, but it was silently grieved.
No. That’s still not the story.
The story was 7 years ago, as I came out of surgery, groggy and cramping. My soul felt pinched up inside. When a nurse said, “Sir, you should go, I’m going to just change her after she fully wakes and then we will call you back in.”
I don’t know exactly what he said, but it was along the lines of what needs to be done and you can go.
And I was bare.
He gingerly helped me up. Opening a small plastic container, he placed each earring back in my ears. My nose. He slid the biggest underwear down over my knees, and cleaned my body. He wrapped my arms around his shoulders and lifted me up, covering parts of me I wasn’t sure would work.
Parts of me other men have harmed, the had betrayed me in illness. And he loved me, as only he has ever done. Without agenda.
As I cringed at the sight of my defeated body, my traitor body, his face remained unchanged. His determination to take care of me, to make me feel safe, and sure in the most awkward of circumstances. He’s my old soul. My rock. A landing place for all the things good and bad.
In that first year…
There was love, and sweet drinks, and late nights, and early mornings. We listened to music as well fell asleep. The winters were cold and the summers hot. And then, before we could celebrate a year of marriage, this surgery. And all the things the doctor said, my biggest failure of all was no sex for weeks.
Nothing we’ve ever done has been traditional. We went dutch on our first date. I bought him too much whiskey in a dark bar. He proposed while I was folding laundry. Nothing was traditional, but we’d always been in love.
Those confines of wifedom, or the old thoughts on it, rang so heavily in my head, and yet this man was nothing like what I’d been told husbands were. His smile lines grew each day no matter how hard the passing hours were, his hands rough with work seemed so tender on my skin, the way he protected me from my own fears. This would not change us.
Nothing has changed.
Everything has changed.
Eight years have passed since the sky opened up to 4½ inches of rain. Since we stood in front of friends and family, just 24 and 32, having no idea what “in sickness and in health” really meant.
But he meant it.
Regardless of the hard, the hardest, days. The darkest nights, he paints the stars… not just for me, but for his girls, too.
His heart didn’t need to make new places for each of us to fit; it grew. His heart just has the capacity to grow. And our love is like that… it’s the ups and downs, the surgeries, and the times we don’t get to do or be who we thought we’d be, but somehow we are so much more.
I love our love.
It’s raw and real and everything I was never brave enough to dream of.
Happy 8th anniversary, Dave.