My philosopher

September 22, 2008

There was a point on the second full day of my induction, when our nurse, who had been with N and I through misoprostol, pitocin, erratic contractions, jokes, panic, hope and fear, turned to me and said, “You are a very lucky woman.” She was referring to N, who just before the last medical procedure had told her and the doctor, vehemently, “She is my life.”

She was right, more right than she knew. It’s hard to say most of the time without bitterness, but I am lucky – lucky to be N’s partner, to love him and to be loved back. He went through so much, in those few days, and perhaps he had the harder task of the two of us. I was able to do things, after all, or at least to have things done to me. N had to watch and wait and struggle with wanting to protect me and our baby when there wasn’t anything anyone could do to guarantee that we would be all right.

He did it all so well – held my hand, put socks on my feet, helped me to and from the bathroom after I’d been hooked up to monitors and an IV. He made friends with our nurses, made me laugh, kept me hopeful and strong before Teddy was born, cried with me after, and made phone calls I couldn’t make. My mom was there, and we were grateful, but it was N who stood between me and hysterical collapse, who made it possible for me to make thoughtful decisions, who made it possible for me to be completely present in our last moments with Teddy.

Two years ago tomorrow, on a mellow autumn day of windswept blue skies (and we were in Montana, where the blue skies spread before you in wild and awe-inspiring abundance), I married this amazing and wonderful man, my darling philosopher. This was clearly the smartest thing I’ve ever done. It was a happy day, and we were full of joy. I remember being surprised by how much fun we were having, by how happy I felt.

Last year, I knew marrying him was the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Today…well, let’s just say that I am luckier than I knew. The things he has been through in the past few months, the things he has helped me through – no one should have to go through this, and he is doing it with selflessness and honesty. The depths of compassion, courage, sorrow, patience, and love I’ve seen in him leave me awestruck, humbled, and overwhelmed with love.

I wish that the ‘worse’ of ‘better and worse’ hadn’t come so soon or so dramatically, that he didn’t have to be in this dark place with me, that he didn’t have to hurt so much. But we are both here and he persists in loving me and propping me up even when I am a soggy, apathetic mess, and I am profoundly grateful to stand next to him.  Here’s to many more years together, my darling. You are my life, too.


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