Wednesday, September 28, 2011

On this day 19 years ago...

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


Gina said...

Love this. And I feel much the same way. It is amazing in retrospect how we go into marriage completely blind (although we don't think so at the time...), both about ourselves and our spouse. I feel blessed and lucky that so many of the revelations over the years as I've gotten to know Nephi (and myself) more truly have been happy and led to a deeper companionship between us. It is sad as I get to an age when friends are divorcing; their revelations didn't work out as well, I guess, and I deeply feel that there, but for the grace of God, go I. But reading things like this post, it is renewing and beautiful to witness a good marriage grow deeper with time.

Mitchell Family said...

Gina, I like what you said about how little we know about ourselves when we embark on marriage. I had considered writing something about how in some ways when I met Bill my own identity was also myth--or at least very fluid. A good marriage owes a lot to grace. You captured so much of what I wanted to say--and better.

Lettie said...

Bill is fantastic (as are you) and I love watching you two interact.You are so adorable together.

Linn said...

Absolutely beautiful. You and Bill are honestly two of my favorite people ever, and I feel grateful on a regular basis to be called your friend.

I love what you said about going into marriage. Jacob and I have often commented that we are so grateful for prayer that helped us to choose each other in spite of our youth. I didn't see it like that at the time, but now looking back, I'm so grateful.

Gina, love your thoughts. That is so true about closeness in marriage not just being about what you discover in the other person, but more so (at least in my case), what I discover about myself.

Thanks Ruth. This will go down as one of my favorite posts ever.

Michelle said...

I'm giggling at the irony of Bill wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt and his current profession.... not really funny, but I'm still laughing.

I also love your ACT comment!

But lest some people read the words about grace and justify their own poor marriage decisions, we should note that Bill was always an excellent choice and so were you!

TX Girl said...

A few months back when I called to chat I was a wreck and apologized for sobbing and bugging him yet again and his response was exactly why I adore him.. he sat quietly on the other end and said "just talk".

One of the things I've always admired about the two of you is how you have clearly grown together. You bring out the best in one another. Maybe that is part of why Bill is so much more than you could have imagined. The Bill you first met had yet to have your influence and vice versa. Without being cheesy, y'all are such a great case study of a successful marriage. Happy 19th. xoxo

Brandan and Becky said...

You've known Bill longer than you haven't!

So happy for your happiness!

Valerie said...

Beautiful post! Congratulations!!