will i?

I’m getting into my late 30s and, only as of today, I officially have a will in place. It’s been a long-standing joke of ours at home that D. and I got married because I didn’t have a will. After months of being ill, we decided it was the wise thing to do. At least legally he would have some say in making life decisions with me, and we already owned a house together anyway. So we tied the knot at the courthouse, took our witnesses to a fancy dinner, and I threw up everything I had eaten. And so it went for several months, a few trips to the emergency room, multiple tests and scans, a surgery, and so forth until we discovered that it was a medicine I had been taking all of that time that was causing the problems. D. stood by me, held me, helped me out of bed to go to the bathroom, fed me endless quantities of cream-of-chicken soup, and always made sure there was someone to take care of me if he couldn’t. He was (and is) my hero. Even when we had our daughter together, I was never very worried about leaving everything in his hands. But the nagging thought of “what if we both die together” imposed some sense into me and more than a year after consulting with a lawyer, I finally used an online company, dragged it out still further, and got the damned thing signed in front of witnesses this morning.

Then I dropped D. off at home and headed to the hospital for more tests today – thankfully for something much less disruptive to our lives this time. When I pulled into the parking lot I had a warm rush of nostalgia. This is the hospital where our daughter was born, and although I’ve been there for so many worrisome reasons in the past, now all my thoughts were about the many baby classes we attended and the hospital room where we got to know S. for the first time, my mother doing a cross-word puzzle in the window overlooking our university’s football stadium, the extremely cold-snap we were having at the time, D. with a wounded leg propped up, me with a gash in my belly from the Cesarean … It all sounds so romantic in retrospect.

As I checked myself into the radiology department today I remembered signing our living wills together in one of those offices before we were wed. That felt like a bigger commitment to me than the house. I give you my love, but also the right to take me off of life support. And now it’s summed up in a tidy but legally binding document.

It’s a balmy beautiful spring day with first flowers and greening grass; pollen lies heavily on the pavement. Somehow I feel unable to leave this place that inspires so much memory, yet thankful that I will, thankful to acknowledge what’s good here today and for the last six years.

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