So we’ve been married 21 years now!!!
21 beautiful, hard, lovely, brutal, wonderful years.
We’ve had so many ups and downs through those years we’ll never remember them all.
MS has been an uninvited third-party in our marriage since day one. At times it has brought us closer together, and other times it has been a difficult mountain to climb for us. This past year was certainly no exception.
On our 20th anniversary, one year ago now, I was so sick I could barely function. And I felt incredibly guilty to not be able to properly celebrate 20 years married to the incomparable Miss Erinn. When we woke up beside each other the very next day, January 25th 2018, I finally had to admit I cannot go on any longer without help. So I leaned over to Erinn and said it’s time to call an ambulance. That was the very last time I slept in my own bed and woke up next to her.
The paramedics came, lifted me out of bed and down the stairs, put me on a stretcher, and hauled me into the ambulance.
I spent the next two weeks in the hospital close to my home. Those were two of the darkest weeks of my life.
I was weak.
I was angry.
I was sad.
I was very depressed.
Though I have never once been suicidal to this day, I must admit that during those two weeks at that dark and dingy hospital, I wished that I would not wake up. I couldn’t see a way forward in this condition. I thought that being gone would be easier for those that I loved.
(And incidentally, The food was horrible there. If I actually wanted to die I could just eat what they brought me for my meals…)
But then they moved me to a rehab hospital. It was just built 4 years ago and it is an amazing place. The rooms are big and bright and there are huge windows looking outside offering tons of natural light. And the food was about 1000 times better. I guess they realized that what a person eats is also part of the therapeutic process. It was there that I got a new lease on life and felt that I can have a quality of life in this new physical state of mine.
I left there 4 months later after transitioning to a power wheelchair, and ended up in the supportive transitional apartment that I am at now. I was supposed to only be here six months while our house is renovated to become accessible. But it has been eight months now.
(Renovations always take longer than expected. That’s just part of the deal.)
So when I woke up this year on our 21st anniversary, I was not next to Erinn in our bed. I was alone in my hospital bed in my apartment. I have to admit that was extremely weird. But having said that, our anniversary was a million times better than last year in terms of my health.
Erinn picked me up at 4 and we drove to a shelter for a book launch. I ended up writing a chapter in a book about shelters and that day we launched it in Toronto. Going to a book launch in a homeless shelter on one’s anniversary is probably not high on most people‘s lists for anniversary celebrations.
But we are not most people I guess…
From there we went out for dinner. We had a few hours alone in a romantic place where we chatted and exchanged anniversary gifts and ate a nice dinner and enjoyed each other‘s company. I realized I had come a long ways from a year ago when I was so sick I could barely lift my head.
And then two days later, yesterday morning, our now 16 year old daughter wanted me to come home so that she could prepare brunch for us. When I got there she was in a dinner dress and was our hostess for a wonderful brunch. There was smooth jazz playing and she even created menus for us at Patisserie l’Oxford:)
I was in my home with my beautiful family, The fireplace was on and I was eating a lovely meal, and I was reminded that I have a good life.
I love my home.
I love my family.
I love my wife.
I’d be lying if I said I love MS and that I wouldn’t want it any other way, but I am so thankful for the many twists and turns in the road of life that have happened because of this disease. They have helped me understand life and love in ways that would never have happened without it.
I am a few days away from moving back home.
Here’s to a lot more wedding anniversaries.
And here’s hoping for a much more calm year in 2019 with a few less twists and turns.
I love you Erinn.