I was talking to a friend today and she was telling me about a mutual acquaintance who recently started dating a woman with a serious heart defect. Her life is hanging in the balance. My gut reaction was to ask “Why is he with her?” It seemed almost masochistic to become involved with a woman who would soon be dead. As soon as the words fell from my tongue, I was struck with panic. How could I, of all people, say such a thing? For just one fleeting moment, I saw myself through your eyes.
You fell in love with a woman who, relatively speaking, will soon be dead.
I have been living with illness for so long that I have become immune to some of its horrors. It was easy for me to put those scary parts aside and focus on the beauty of our connection. From my perspective, our love was simply too powerful to walk away. I was fully immersed in the romantic ideal of true love and understood only a portion of the gravity of your position. But, in the moment when I saw it in other people’s lives, I was able to appreciate the choice you had to make. Love with loss or walk away. Many would have chosen to walk away. You chose to stay and walk into the unknown realm of uncertain health and a precarious future.
In the few years we have been together, you have provided me with a sturdy platform on which to stand. I have been able to reach for things that would have been impossibilities without the foundation of our relationship. You have given me unwavering love and treated me with a kindness I always thought was reserved for characters in fairy tales. You challenge my intellect while respecting my individuality. You hold my hand while helping me to my feet so that I may walk on my own. You do not judge me, you are always on my side. You are my perfection.
When I think of you as the man who is with the woman who will soon be dead, it makes me sob. You deserve a relationship built for a lifetime of happiness, not just a sample. You deserve all of the strength, insight and kindness you have given me. You deserve forever. It just doesn't seem fair. Why should you get the short end of the stick?
Sometimes, I simply do not feel worthy. What have I done to deserve such an extraordinary man? The only explanation that makes any sense is that God has given you to me, and me to you. I don’t know why and I don’t know how. I do know that to second guess it would be foolish. The only smart option is to cherish it and I will do that until the day I die.
You are my everything. It is such a helpless feeling to know that you will lose me someday and I can not protect you from that grief. I can only hope that we will continue to use my illness as a constant reminder to treasure each day we have together. I can only pray that the life we share today is worth any pain the future may hold.
I love you.