Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Thinking of Al and Tipper, In Sickness and in Health
I got sick this weekend - really sick. It's a recurring illness that has haunted me for the past 20 years, reappearing unpredictably in frequency, but unfortunately always hovering, ready to pounce and attack me. When it happens, I feel not only like I have the worst flu ever, but I also feel terribly vulnerable.
The illness first appeared 10 years post-cancer, and scared the life out of my then-husband, Steve, and me. That initial bout was life-threatening, it turns out, but I recovered and Steve and I weathered it just as we had the cancer. In subsequent outbreaks, often on much-needed vacations, sometimes on business trips out of the country, Steve was a peach - FedExing me meds to Europe and Hong Kong, ministering to me when he probably would have preferred the originally-planned vacation. For whatever reasons, this particular illness sends me off the ledge emotionally and my inner baby makes a major guest appearance.
Though separated, Steve and I remain amicable, close enough that we still live in the same house (though it's now separated into two apartments), sharing his car and our dog when I'm in town. While it was very much time to move on from the marriage, the bond of 33 years remains strong. Knowing I was sick, Steve called this morning, asking how I was doing and offering to bring me groceries or anything else, and it meant the world to me.
I thought about this when I read about Al and Tipper Gore separating. From what they are saying, it sounds like it is an amicable parting, like it was time to move on from the marriage. They, too, have weathered illness and the worst of tragedies, the death of a child. I only hope that they can remain there for each other in their equivalent of my recurring illness, in sickness and in health, even if the promise of staying married until death becomes untenable.