I spoke to Bill for the first time and in the course of the conversation I told him I loved him--not seriously but I said those words all the same. His hair was a little longer than it is in his I.D. card above and he was wearing a Grateful Dead T-shirt. Probably because of the long hair and the t-shirt I did not consider him boyfriend material. That all changed when I heard his ACT score a few days later--just kidding (kind of.)
Thinking back to when we first met, despite lots of late night talks bringing each other up to date with our life stories, I didn't really know who Bill was. In many ways I was in love with a Bill I imagined in my head. Over the years, over and over again I've discovered how much more amazing the real Bill is to the mythical Bill I first fell in love with. And now I wonder if some of my first love hyperbole wasn't some sort of second sight, that though at the time I couldn't fully explain or articulate why Bill was the "most wonderful boy ever," something in me recognized his beautiful soul.
I hesitate to say too much about how good my husband is. Praise generally makes Bill uncomfortable. So if I praise him, it's for myself and even though I have a blog I do try to avoid bragging. But it is worth mentioning once in a while and even documenting for my children how proud I am of my husband. Every day he faces death. He is an oncologist who specializes in palliative care. He is called in by doctors from all specialties to help when patients are dying. He has the courage to face some of life's hardest and most painful moments. He has to tell patients and their families that they are not getting better, that they are going to die, sometimes soon. These meetings often go several hours. Bill usually begins with, "Tell me about your life..." or if the patient is incoherent, "Tell me about your father..." And then he watches death--sometimes sudden, sometimes arduous and try his best make those lost weeks, days and hours--comfortable. Most of his patients and their families love him and appreciate his long hours and big heart. But some yell and scream and vent all their frustration and disappointment at him. He works long crazy hours. He comes home with heartbreaking stories--parents losing children, young children losing parents, bodies disintegrating. Generally, he can't stop death, but even in the face of death he helps people heal.
Then he comes home and sweeps the floor and orders groceries on-line and wrestles with his boys. He spends half of his Saturday's doing paperwork and all of his Sunday's doing church work. Every spare moment he gives to us. He truly is a good man.
So hear's to the wisdom of young love and great souls hiding out in Grateful Dead t-shirts. Ruth