During the past year Jason has been sick. He tried to manage his symptoms on his own for a long time, and somehow served as editor to various publications, organized academic conferences, and got one of four spots in one of the best theological PhD programs in the country while feeling pretty terrible. And we forged ahead with our lives together in New York as best we could.
Suddenly, two weekends ago, his symptoms turned into a crisis and we ended up in the emergency room two days in a row. Jason could barely speak for himself and I tried my best to get him proper care while fighting to keep my spot at his bedside as “the girlfriend.” While filling out forms on the first morning a male nurse (who was chewing on a toothpick!) had the audacity to suggest Jason was simply stressed out by his schoolwork. “Burnin’ the candle at both ends, are ya?” he said while Jason sat in a chair slumped over and shaking with his hair covering his eyes. It was one of the saddest and most frustrating moments of my life.
After our weekend in the ER I was exhausted and emotionally drained. I made countless phone calls to doctors, ran back and forth from the drug store, and made futile attempts to get Jason to eat and drink. Every ailment became the most important part of my day. I began to see how different life is for people whose loved ones are sick. All of my problems seemed childish and insignificant. I didn’t care what I was wearing or how I looked, and I forgot to eat. I lived on bad coffee and stupid iPhone games, lacking the focus to read even a magazine.
Eventually, Jason’s condition started to improve. And while he’s still not feeling great he’s miles away from where he was. We’re making baby steps toward getting him treatment. I’m starting to care about silly things like cardigans and pumpkin carving and local pastured eggs again.
Saturday was the seventh anniversary of the first date Jason and I went on in Kalamazoo. Seven years ago we went for coffee. We saw the Mountain Goats play a show. This Saturday we saw the Mountain Goats play in New York. (They couldn’t have had better timing with their tour schedule.)
Before the show Jason said he wanted to take me shopping for our anniversary. We stopped for lunch at one of my favorite restaurants on the Upper West Side, Le Monde, for croque madames.
After lunch we took a cab to Midtown and ended up at Tiffany’s, where I picked out my engagement ring. The afternoon was sweet, classy, and romantic. Of course, the evening concluded with live music, the foundation of our relationship.
I couldn’t be happier but still can’t believe the roller coaster we’ve been on over the past week, from the ER to Tiffany’s. In sickness and in health. I’m marrying a seminarian. For ever and ever. Amen.