I used to belong to a service club, where every year you were expected to put cash in the donation jar commemorating your wedding anniversary. I dutifully put in one dollar for every good year and made a joke of it. “Here’s for all the good years I’ve had minus one. The first year was touch and go.”
Our first married year was somewhat unusual. No, it was bizarre. We lived on a thirty-six-foot sailboat on the west coast of Florida with my two kids eight and twelve from a previous marriage. Lots of sibling bickering; very little privacy. Our friends thought we were crazy. They were right. Forty-one years later, we’re still together. Maybe families need challenges to be strong.
So this is a tribute to Mark on the seventh day of my recovery from knee replacement surgery. He’s taken over the cooking, the dishwashing, the trash, the laundry. He gets up in the night if I have to get up, just to make sure I get safely back to bed. He brings me ice for my ice wrap and ice water for the ice machine I wrap my leg in. No complaints. No whining. We even practiced with him bringing empty trash containers back to the garage from our sloped driveway.
And why is any of this unusual?
He does it all from a wheelchair with one usable hand.
Me: thanks for taking care of me.
Him: You’ve been taking care of me for six years. Now it’s my turn.
Six years ago he had a stroke. We’d been cruising for eight months in our Nordic Tug thiry-two and were starting to plan our next trip in the Pacific Northwest. Delays in getting the boat painted kept the boat in Anacortes, Washington, and sent us back to Las Vegas where we’d rented a small apartment so we’d have a land base when cruising. It was June, 2017. A few days later Mark was paralyzed on his left side.
He recovered, partially, can walk with his good hand holding a cane. He had no cognitive decline but can’t drive and he is my number one beta reader.
I no longer belong to the service club, but if I had to put money into a donation jar for years of happy marriage I would no longer leave one out. Mark is a keeper and his care of me, which will go on another few weeks, deserves this shout out that is long overdue.
One more thing: A very special thanks to my daughter who drops by every day, drives the cat to his weekly hydration appointment, runs errands, and takes us to appointments. I am blessed with caregivers.
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