It’s been a year since that rainy day when I opened the sliding glass door to let in some fresh air. After weeks of a full house of visitors, I was at home with Tim and just one hospice nurse.
The day seemed surreal. Quiet in an other worldly sense. The nurse was a temp, not one we knew from the agency. Part of me was glad to be alone, part wished someone was there with me.
I wept as I helped the nurse bathe him one last time. Sponging down his lifeless legs, I thought of the rich man who claimed Jesus’ body. I wondered if he washed off the blood from the wounds in his hands and feet. Something in that exercise was so reverent. As if respect for the empty shell of a man honored the life he lived.
Tim’s three year battle with cancer changed my perception of love. I discovered there’s a depth of romance found in the midst of a struggle. That a powerful bond forms in the simplest moments. Like waking in the night because he reached for my hand. How silently laying in the dark, we were more connected than during any act of sex we’d ever had.
I remember the many times I wanted to give up on us. How foolish was I to think life could be better without him.
I want to tell young couples my story. Tell them not to be so eager to trade in what they have for what might be. That there’s nothing like a relationship that spans a lifetime. That staying together, until death does them part, beats anything else out there.