In February of 2020, I was supposed to be married by April first.
I was not. Instead, I was heartbroken, alone, and crying my eyes out.
The man I thought loved me did love me, but not enough to marry me, or so I thought. It turned out that due to an unresolved issue that reared its ugly head, it was just the date I had planned for us to be married that he didn’t love.
Communication is key in any relationship, and it was clearly missing from ours. I thought April first would be ideal. We could say, “We got married; just kidding, April Fools’. No, we actually did get married!” Oy! I had a lot to learn about communication myself. With broken hearts, and now tears on both our parts, we decided to cancel our wedding.
In September, my fiancé suffered a stroke. Disagreements flew away and communication couldn’t happen as he could not speak nor text. What we thought was important really was not. We were together, alive, in a hospital room. He looked so tiny and frail, lying there asleep. And as he slept, I wept.
We were so crazy in love, and here I was thinking that after all these years we have waited to be together, I would now lose him. Again, my heart was broken and the tears flowed. Apparently, I was in a season of tears and grief, and I let them wash over me like waves, coming in, then going out. Fear in, crying out.
I was sitting with my emotions of loss, grief, fear, all settling on me, and just crying my way through them all.
I was so worried about losing my honey, and right there at that moment, I knew this was the man I would marry. He was my forever, however that may look going forward. Maybe now he would see it too. Maybe this was the catalyst to propel us to say, “I do,” but at the same time, looking at him asleep so frail, I knew it was him and me for life.
Married or not, this man is my person. When he could finally speak a few days later, he said he wanted to marry me, and I fell in love with him all over again. To quote Dr. Seuss, “My heart grew three sizes that day.” His first words were about marrying me. Yep, you guessed it. I cried my eyes out and he did, too, and we just held each other. We realized life was so frail.
My heart was broken when I had to cancel the wedding in April, but we managed to pull through it stronger.
After the stroke, things have changed. We talk daily about what we are feeling, how we are handling all the long-term side effects of the stroke. Life, I thought, was challenging, and then this stroke happened and it took the meaning of challenging to another level. I helped with showers, installed a shower chair, and made sure he did not fall. I rearranged the furniture to make sure his walker had clear paths. With his physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech, and every other appointment he had, I got him, too.
I took notes and I asked for printouts. I did medication management and I still do. I was taking over steering the ship alone for a while. This time I did not cry. I grabbed that wheel with both hands and I weaved us over the rough seas. What other choice did I have? The other choice was to sink, and that was not going to happen on my watch.
A little over a year has passed since the stroke, but it has taught us both better communication skills. It has brought us even closer as we now navigate these choppy waters together. We are a solid team now.
Life may never be back to what it was before this happened, but life is pretty dang good right now. At the end of the day, this stroke taught us to love more, to show each other how much we mean to each other on a daily basis.
It has taught us how to be there more for each other. It has taught us how communication is so important in our relationship. Without it, our ship would sink. But at the end of the day love prevailed and we are less than 40 days out from our “I do.”
The date is set, the rings have been purchased, the hotel booked, and soon, we will move forward as husband and wife.
This man is my home, my love, and my light, even when darkness surrounds us. We are a team, tears and all.
Here is to a wedding, a happy new chapter of our life, to still navigating the stroke issues as a team, and a soon-to-be husband and a wife.
I am sure life is still not done teaching us its lessons, but we look forward to learning them together as Mr. & Mrs.