"The thing about meeting your other half is you're walking around, you think you're happy, you think you're whole, then you realize you ain't shit without her. Then you can't go back to being just a half 'cause you know what it's like to be whole." - Simon Green, Guess Who
Mike and I saw Guess Who on our first date. At the time, I didn't know how true these lines would be for us ... for me. At 24 years old, you honestly think you're whole. You've made it through young adulthood and then again through that early 20's phase when things have (hopefully) started to settle down and you feel like yes ... I'm starting to understand what my adult life is going to be like. At least that's where I was at with it at 24. I had moved away from home, determined to start my life in a new state - on my own two feet. Fast forward through a messy first year "on my own," working one really bad full-time job and slinging chicken wings and beer on the weekends to make ends meet - and that's how I started to feel like I knew what it meant to be my own person - what it meant to be the adult version of me. And then I met Mike.
Of course I ignored him on our first meeting and actually didn't give him the time of day until our next chance meeting at my aforementioned chicken wing bar. And even then, I didn't really give him the time of day - I took his number because I didn't have the heart to say "no thanks, not interested" and I didn't ever call. It wasn't actually until the third time that we happened to be thrown together that I finally got the hint from the universe that hey ... I should pay attention. Fate wasn't having it any other way for some reason. Since that third chance meeting, we haven't been apart. It will be eleven years this year. Eleven years dating, 6 years of marriage, 2 amazing kids and 3 dogs. He and I are a love story that one day I hope I can write and share with you. Fate intervening and bringing two destined lovers together to face insurmountable odds that they overcome time and time again to seize their happily ever after. It's the stuff of fairy tales ... the good, classic fairy tales.
As I sit here in the hospital bed wrapping up night 5, I can't help but be eternally grateful for my husband. He's truly amazing. Many people meet him and have a hard time getting through all his layers - all his defenses - but if they would just pause ... just pause for one moment of clarity and really look at the person in front of them - look at him in that moment of interaction - they'd see what I see.
They'd see a man who is really and truly kind in the most genuine sense of the word. A man who is honest-to-goodness just trying to do the best thing for everyone involved, all the while not sacrificing an ounce of his own principles or betraying his own beliefs. Every minor decision becomes major, and every major decision becomes life altering. It's a hard line to walk all the time - but he does it. It gives him crazy anxiety to walk such a line - constantly weighing outcomes against each other ... giving everything a thorough review because the decision deserves it, not because he "has to" ... but he does it because in the end, he truly and honestly only has good intentions in his heart and wants what's best. He is a man of principle and respect. He cherishes honesty but has a hard time trusting whether or not honesty is what he's getting from others. But despite that - he still wants to believe in the inherent good of man, and so he tries ... every day ... to believe and see the good.
He took me out for a few turns around the water fountains again today close to sunset. He talked out loud to me and I talked back to him in my head ... and in really bad sign language. We talked about us - how we're an old couple already - visiting me in the hospital, taking me for a walk and then back to my hospital bed, ordering me soft foods for dinner and then putting me to bed. He then heads home for the night to cuddle with the dog. We watch Netflix and mindless TV together. We collapse into bed after busy days and he turns out my light and takes my glasses off my face because I've ultimately fallen asleep before he has, despite how hard I tried to stay up and watch a movie with him. He's my foundation. He keeps me grounded and I push him to dream. When I'm too busy taking care of everyone else, he's taking care of me - making sure I'm giving myself some of my own attention and fulfilling my own needs ... making sure I'm staying tethered to me.
I could never go back to being just a half, now that I know what it's like to be whole. I can't say that I know whether or not many or most people truly find their other half in their life - but I genuinely hope that most do. There's something amazing that happens when you know you've found someone who just clicks into place beside you ... you become stronger. Stronger than you ever thought possible.
We got the results from my biopsy back today. In case you were waiting for some "official" confirmation that this is indeed cancer that has spread and not just some weird pregnancy induced growths, it's official - same cancer as last time. But despite the fact that, yes - it's cancer again - we're a little relieved to know that it's the same beast we've battled before, with the same characteristics and not something new and different. While I'm not at all excited to have to learn how to manage daily living with a preventative tracheotomy, I'm a little more optimistic. I've got a solid foundation holding me up through this battle and one of my biggest fans happens to be someone who is truly a part of me.
So my ask tonight is this ... hug on tight to the ones you love. Be present with them in the moments you have with them, as hard as that is these days. Treasure and cherish all the moments you have with them - no matter how big or small ... exciting or lame. Take a moment to just look at them, and really see them, as a person, as they are - without any other clouding expectations or encroaching personal opinions. Try to catch a glimpse of their soul ... and send it your love.