Tuesday, June 6, 2023


The truth of the matter is, that well worn section of traditional wedding vows was not a part of ours.

And while it was not vowed it has certainly been true.

On June 7th, 2010, I did something I never dreamed I would be legally allowed to do.

I got married.

Now, at the time I had to go to Massachusetts to do so, but I legally married a man as unlikely a choice as was the likelihood of being able to do so. We legally wed in the pergola at the center of the small town that my husband grew up in. His elderly father and several members of his family looked on as a justice of the peace officiated our simple ceremony. We had added a space to speak our own vows to each other, but the officiant forgot so we were hitched without those. The next month we had a larger though not legal spiritual ceremony in our home state of Florida. We were able to speak our vows to each other at that observance. It remains the most memorable part of our service for me. It was not legally binding. But it was beautiful and meaningful and witnessed by many of our closest friends.

And we did not vow “for better or for worse.”

As I type this missive the day prior to our thirteenth anniversary I reflect upon the years and experiences we have faced together. There have been wonderful times for sure. There have been several profound changes and challenges. There have been better times, and there have been times that seemed to be for worse. Losses. Life threatening illnesses. Career changes and endings and new beginnings. The best of both of us has been called forth. And truth be told, so has the worst. As strained as we have felt at times there has never been a moment that we questioned the continuation of our union.

While we did not speak the other oft repeated vow “till death do us part” has never been in question.

Donald has been for me a clear and vital part of my spiritual unfolding. I knew from the beginning that it was a sacred appointment. I guess all our connections are. Yet there are some that are clearly part of our Souls emergence. A coming together for the purpose of pattern resolution and alchemical growth. There are people we meet that we deeply know will lead us to an advancement of our earth curriculum.

Donald has and continues to be that for me.

And now, as many of my readers know, we face together the neurological disorder that is happening in Donald’s brain and most certainly in my heart. As the condition worsens, I am called to become better at how I manage our lives, and everything related to being a fulltime caregiver. While I had no inkling in that Massachusetts pergola that this would be our future here it is. That was our wedding, and this is our marriage.

I did not consciously choose this. Yet now I find myself choosing how to deal with it on a daily and even momently basis. I choose to become better at how I respond and how I relate. I choose to forgive myself when I am thrown into reaction, and skillful relating seems unavailable. I choose to stay true to the wholeness of me, that I may be true to the wholeness of my husband.

And he is still my husband. I love him as he was. And I love him as he is.

There are ways in which he is not the man that I married. Yet I also know that the same is true for him. I am not the same. Illness, loss, and circumstance have changed me. Not that I am worse. I do not frame the changes in that way. Nor do I frame the changes in Donald as a worsening of who he is. The same kind, gentle, sensitive man is here with me. His physicality is greatly affected for sure. There is cognitive decline. But there is also that smile. The occasionally witty retort. The adoring gazes. Even the rascal-like innuendos. All beautiful constancies of the man to whom I said I do. And to who I will always say I do.

Candidly I have some ugly moments these days. And some kind and skillful ones as well. I am better and stronger spiritually than ever before. Though it seems illogical somehow worsening times have always made me better. More compassionate. Merciful. Spacious. Fortuitous. These thirteen years have made me a better man. Even though in ways I am facing the worst of times.

So, we did not say “for better or for worse” on that wedding day thirteen years ago.

Nor did we say, “till death do us part.”

And yet both are true in vital, practical ways. My marriage is a high spiritual practice. It is a workshop in loving more and judging less. It is a PhD in how to be better in the worst of times. It is a gymnasium in self-care so that I may better care for him.

For better or for worse, Donald. Until death do we part.

Happy Anniversary, my love. I am more because we are.

I do. And I always will.