Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For Better Or For Worse.

For better or for worse.
In sickness and in health.
Until death do us part.

Last Friday hubs and I celebrated our five year anniversary, a milestone that feels as if it has sort of crept up on me somehow. When I think back over our married life, the three plus years since we sat down and decided to start a family are a bit of a blur. A kaleidoscope of joy and pain and anticipation and grief with a miscarriage, and the loss of our first child, and the incredible blessing of getting to raise our twins, and I can't help but to feel as if we have lived a thousand lifetimes of experience over the short five year span of our marriage.

Five years ago, we, as two excited and nervous kids with our whole lives ahead of us, made a commitment to love, honor and cherish one another for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, and until death do us part.

There are areas of my life where I feel cheated - Peyton no longer being here, my lack of fertility, my inability to traditionally birth children etc etc, but one area where I know I have won the lottery is in having married a man who is my partner, my best friend, and my love.

He held my body up in support, when all I could do was collapse through Peyton's funeral.

He allowed me the space to step away from the world and embrace my grief.
Embrace my writing.
Find my new normal.

He encouraged me through two rounds of IVF and cared for me through twenty-seven weeks of bed rest.

He has proven himself time and time again to be an amazing father.

Committing my life to my husband is the single best decision I have ever made. Of course when we recited those vows, we couldn't have known that the "for worse" was to come before the "for better," but that was how it was to be for us, and as we now know all-too-well, nothing in this life can be planned on or predicted.

I have been thinking a lot about love lately, not only because of the love I feel for my little family, or because of my anniversary, but because I have been witness to such incredible acts of it lately.

Two years ago, my Uncle Eddie learned that a funny looking mole on the bottom of his foot was metastatic melanoma, and though we were told that his time with us would in all likelihood be measured in months rather than years, my uncle recovered, resuming his active life of skiing, and biking, and dancing with his daughter on the day that she walked down her own aisle and pledged to her new husband that she would love him for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and until death do they part.

This past February, my uncle learned that some pain he was attributing to sciatica was actually the return of his cancer which had spread to his spine, among many other places. This time the cancer was much more aggressive, and though we prayed for one, it was becoming painfully obvious that a miracle like the one he had experienced in healing two years earlier, was just not to be.

My aunt and uncle have been married for 47 years, and together for over 50. They have had 5 healthy children together, several grandchildren. Their "for better" was a beautiful and long lasting gift. During a recent visit, my aunt told me that she knew my uncle's battle was coming to an end, and that she wanted, as a final gift to him, to renew their vows. She said,"It may seem strange to want to celebrate, given what a sad and difficult time this is for us, but I will not have another chance to do this, and renewing our vows, in the face of his illness, is my way of showing him how much he means, and has always meant, to me, now while he can still hear it."

I couldn't help but feel my eyes welling up as I took in the bittersweet beauty of what she was planning. My aunt could have run and hid from all that was happening, as many of us would have, but instead she stared cancer, and all of the unpredictability it brings with it, in the face, and forged ahead with her plans to surprise him with a ceremony that would reaffirm for him that even knowing what she now knows, even knowing how their story would end, she would do it all over again.

A backyard celebration was planned, but last week my Uncle Eddie took a turn for the worse, and knowing that his time was limited, my aunt called in the priest. In an intimate bedside ceremony, witnessed only by the families of their five children, my Aunt took my Uncle's hands in hers, and vowed before their family, and before God, to love, honor and cherish him, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, and until death do they part. My uncle, whose strength had already left him, rubbed at the wedding ring that he had placed on her finger nearly fifty years earlier and simply said,  "yes."

48 hours later, my uncle was gone.

Life can be crazy, and chaotic, and at times downright cruel, but it is also so full of beauty when graced by true love.

The true love of a husband who comforts his young wife through the loss of their first child.

The true love of a father, who finds the strength to heal to live long enough to see his daughter get married.

The true love of a wife, who sees beyond her own suffering and sadness, to provide for her dying husband the reaffirmation that he is the best thing that has ever happened to her - and to let him know before he passes, how very, very blessed she has felt to share her life with him.

I have lost my child, but I have still been blessed.

My uncle was dying, but he still was blessed.

My aunt has lost her husband, but she too has been blessed.

For better or for worse.
In sickness and in health.
Until death do us part.

We have each been blessed by the gift of true love, and despite the heartaches that life may throw at any couple over the course of their marriage, that is a gift to be celebrated.


  1. What a truly heartwarming post! How beautiful of your aunt to do that, what a symbol of the sanctity of marriage that so many take for granted! I feel very blessed with my husband too, not knowing the 'worse' that we would hit, and still will in future times, but knowing that he is there through it all, definitely the best decision I ever made! I love hearing the happy in your voice, while you still embrace the real! So sorry for the loss of your uncle!

  2. Congrats on your anniversary. You know your love is strong when you can go through everything and still come out in one piece.

    Peace to your family though the pain of loss.

  3. Yes. Yes. Yes. "I have lost my child but I am still blessed." Beautiful post Kristin. Sending love to you and yours, especially your aunt. xxxooo

  4. Others have said it but there is no other way to describe this post: BEAUTIFUL!!!! You have such a wonderful way with words. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Oh Kristin, this is one of the most beautiful, amazing, wonderful posts I have ever read. Congratulations on your 5th anniversary.

  6. I loved this post. In a world where marriages come and go, it is so wonderful to hear about a real true love story.

  7. Dear Krissy,
    Thank you so much for your loving words. Happy anniversary too. I am so sorry I didn't remember that special date for you, but I was a little preoccupied, as you know. May you, and all couples, be blessed as we were for 47 years of our marriage, to be best friends, lovers, parents,grandparents, true partners throughout our lives. As painful as Uncle Eddie's loss is, I'm focusing on celebrating all the positives we had, including strong and loving relationships with our children,(including our dear daughter- and sons -in law),grandchildren, other family members, and many kind and dear friends. Although not materially wealthy, we surely have been rich in all the things that give life meaning, and that (and my Faith) is helping to carry me now. Thank you to all who sent condolences.
    Aunt Evelyn

  8. Such a beautiful post, I am in tears. I love true love stories.

  9. You made me cry.

    Praying for peace for your family.

  10. Moving, beautiful, inspiring post. Deepest sympathies to your Aunty and happy anniversary to you, my friend.

  11. Krissy...You have captured the true essence of our family...such a beautiful post. As I sit with tears running down my face I realize how blessed we are as a family...My Dad would be so honored and touched. Love you!

  12. Such a beautiful post! **tears**

  13. What a super attitude and affirmation! I always say that the BEST thing that came out of losing our son was the strengthening of the love my husband and I have for each other. It sucks that we had to accept a consolation prize instead of having our son for us for life, but I am glad that consolation prize was a renewed and strengthened love between my husband and I, a strong love that got us through our loss, infertility, and the challenges of pregnancy after loss. Thank you for reminding us all how truly blessed we are, despite our heartaches. I don's know how I would have survived the last two and half years if not for my the blessings of my marriage. HUGS friend!

  14. oh this really made me cry!!!

  15. Krissy.. Beautiful post..I,d only met Eddie and Evelyn a handful of times but you could just tell they were the real deal. You and Andy have many good role models to emulate but the first thing is picking the right mate to start with. I think you both have but I might be a little teeny bit biased. I'll miss seeing him the next time we visit, give Evelyn my love and take care of my Panda. Nana Nina

  16. Such a beautiful post.

    What an amazing aunt, and uncle. And husband and wife. Mother and father. What a wonderful thing it is to have love, when all around else you fails you.

    So I wish you a happy anniversary, and hope the snowflakes are just the beginning of your better.

  17. I love the story about your aunt and uncle's enduring love.

    And how you intertwined big love and big loss in this post.