“Everything else could wait until tomorrow.”
Over the past month, I’ve promised a lot of you that I will take care of Ken, will watch out for him and make sure he takes care of himself. I know what you were really saying was, “We love him, and we’re trusting you with him.” I want you to know how seriously I take that promise.
Ken and I went to the courthouse and made this whole deal legal today. It wasn’t something we ever planned on doing, but we considered all our options for getting him covered on my insurance, getting medical powers of attorney for each other, etc., and in the end, marriage simplified everything. So I promise you, and him, and the state of Oregon, to always be here for him, taking care, watching out, doing everything in my power to keep him well and happy, as long as we both shall live.
Several of you hinted around and/or asked us flat-out about getting married while we were in Minneapolis– I hope you won’t be upset that we were coy about it. We had the idea in mind, but weren’t ready to go public yet. In different circumstances, we would have liked to have you all with us, but once the decision was made, time became the critical factor. This way, Ken will have insurance coverage starting August 1st, rather than waiting for the start of the new year.
We strongly believe it should be this simple for everyone who wants to make their partnership legal and public, to provide and care for their beloved, and to enjoy the rights and privileges conferred by marriage. It is unjust for it be so easy for some, and so difficult–or even impossible–for others. On our wedding day, we’ve made a donation to the Human Rights Campaign in support of their marriage equality efforts. We have no need of gifts ourselves, so if you feel like making a gesture in celebration of our marriage, please consider a donation to the HRC. Marriage equality would be an awesome wedding present!
“Everything else” will be a part of all our tomorrows, forever. My partner, my best friend and the love of my life–my husband, if I can get used to calling him that–has a chronic condition that, if not managed, could easily mean an early death for him. It requires a massive overhaul in our lifestyle–eating habits, exercise, and daily monitoring of glucose levels and foot condition. (Ken has serious neuropathy in his feet, which means he doesn’t feel injuries to them, like the one that set all this off. That means daily examinations to guard against new problems cropping up.) I’m joining Ken on the diet & exercise makeover–partly to be a supportive partner, and partly because it’ll be good for me. With my weight and family history, diabetes is a potential problem for me, too–best to get with the program now and maybe, if I’m lucky, head it off before anything develops.
When you love someone, your biggest fear is losing them; all the terrible ways they might be taken away haunt you. When I heard the diagnosis, I had a weird sense of–well, I hesitate to call it relief, but it was a resolution of uncertainty. There! That’s the direction from which doom approaches. That’s what I need to guard against. I’ve spotted the tiger in the tall grass stalking my beloved; I have the chance to stop it before it pounces.
It’s funny the things that motivate us, and the ones that don’t. My previous doctor nagged me about weight loss and the risk of diabetes to the exclusion of all other health concerns; I changed doctors, rather than habits. Threaten me with possible diabetes and early death? Mmm, shrug. Threaten Ken with the same? IT IS ON! I don’t know why it’s easier to make radical changes for his sake that it is for my own, or why I needed an excuse to adopt healthier habits, but there it is. Truth be told, I’m relieved to finally have a compelling reason to make the change. I’m sorry it comes with such risk to Ken’s well-being, but now that it’s happened, I’m determined to take advantage of the opportunities presented.
I think getting the diagnosis in the same week that Michael died helped us both accept it much more calmly than we otherwise might have. Diabetes is a condition that puts the power in our hands to manage and control it. It’s not easy–we’re lazy, carb-stuffing, sugar-loving people! But we’re not helpless in the face of an insidious, relentless disease; our enemies are our own habits, and we have the power to get and stay healthy. The more we pay attention to “everything else”, the more tomorrows we get to spend together. That’s a fair deal, in my book. I know Michael and his family would have given anything to have a similar measure of power over his illness. We’re lucky, and we know it.
Here’s to tomorrow, and all the tomorrows after: may we never take a one of them for granted!