I miss my mom so badly.
Tonight I am watching So You think You Can Dance, and there is a dance about a woman that does not have a spine. She is unable to move without her partner. He is her arms and legs, moving her in the fluid motion of dance. And with his help, she is graceful and beautiful.
I’m not sure why that made me think of my mom. But it did. It made me think of those days at the end, when she could do nothing for herself. When she would want to walk, but couldn’t. My dad would rush to the bedroom to catch her before she fell. Or to pick her up once she had fallen. When she wanted to talk, but couldn’t make her voice work. Those days were not beautiful. Or at least I could not see the beauty in it then.
I see it now.
It’s the “for better or for worse” part of marriage.
When we get married and we say those vows, do we really picture going through the “worse” with our spouse? Do we know that what we are promising is to care and love and preserve dignity and faithfulness even when cancer has rendered the other unable to . . . to do . . . anything?
I never saw my parent’s marriage in that light before. My mom was always strong and tough and never the one to show weakness. I never saw my dad carry her. I never saw my dad feed her. Or brush her hair. Before then, I had never seen my mother turn to my dad and cry with all her heart, “I don’t want to leave you.”
In those moments, there were also glimpses of the “for better” promise.
I can do this because I love you.
I can do this because I gave you my word.
I can do this because you are apart of me.
I serve you because, in serving you, I am serving my heart.
Oh the pain. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but . . . like a moan the word just comes out. Oh . . .
The ring on my finger represents so much. The ring on my finger is not just a diamond. It is a promise of my very life. To my dying breath I will love and serve you. To your dying breath I will love and serve you.
Were I the woman that I am now at my wedding, the service would have looked much different.
I would have walked barefoot as a symbol of my submission- not submission to an authority that wants to dominate. Submission as in trusting the one who holds my heart. I would have washed my beloved’s feet, as a symbol that I will serve him even when it’s not pretty. That I will forever put him before myself. My vows would have sounded so much more different.
Starting today, I give you all me. I will wake up every morning from now until forever and will love you. I will celebrate when your dreams come true. I will serve you enough to NOT let you walk away from your dreams even when my own heart is breaking. I will trust you even when I do not see what you see. I will give you my firsts. I will hold the pieces of your heart when you are betrayed. I will stand beside you when you are attacked and abandoned. I will forgive you. I will walk through that fire with you, whatever form it may take, and I will rip out the roots of fear because the spirit of the Living God is upon us, you and me, as we become one.
My seven year anniversary is approaching.
I plead with God to give me more than a lifetime with Nick Ristow.
And I plead with God, on my knees with groanings that cannot be uttered, that cancer NEVER touches my family again.