twice

In the last 11 days since I’ve written, our lives have been dramatically altered. Not yours..ours as in my family. I’ve toyed with whether I would write about this and am not interested in sharing details of a personal matter but more about the story of love and of unbelievable irony. And of broth.

My mother was remarried on April 7th to a wonderful man, a man who has been a part of our lives now for almost 6 years. Their story is one of love twice…This is the toast I read at their wedding
 

“To love once is such a gift. To find a partner to start a life with, to build a home and accept the blessing of children, perhaps the greatest gift God can ever provide a couple. This was the joy that both our mom and John shared but in separate lives and so happily. Somehow God chose to take two angels…two people whom without we would not be. We wish to remember their love and their everlasting role in our lives.  Today we are here to celebrate love twice..that happiness is possible  with a partner and a lifelong friend a second time around. How beautiful is the gift of a second chance. We are so happy for you and grateful that you have one another. We love you both and wish to toast to your new chapter of love, one we are so proud to be a part of…. “

That room was filled with a palpable love and support. I couldn’t count the times they were stopped and embraced by family and friends wanting to show their true happiness for this next chapter of their lives. It was real, it was beautiful and it was a hell of a good time. We teased for a while that we were on a wedding high for at least the next few days that followed.
Exactly four weeks later we were with family, but in a very different place. Mom’s husband has been diagnosed with an illness that we all know too well and underwent a very major surgery to begin this road of his cure. Living the admittance to the hospital, the emergency surgery and the diagnosis was all too surreal. Actually to be honest it’s a bit like a nightmare. It doesn’t make sense, but I think once we could move a bit out of the phase of shock-you begin to understand that for whatever reason this is our reality now and as shaking as it is, we can only move through. Twice doesn’t seem fair, but twice is where we are.
Every person on the hospital staff from nurse to tech to food services knew that they were newlyweds..because he told them so. No matter what his own physical pain or psyche must have been doing when his wife was around he was sure to tell everyone. “We are newlyweds”. On May 7th mom arrived to the hospital after work at which point he gave her an anniversary card- for their 1st month of marriage. If this is not testament enough to the kind of man he is I don’t know what is. To have found a way to acknowledge their love with that much significance from a hospital bed is beyond words. You can imagine how touched she was..how touched we all were. 
As a part of his healing it would be days before he could even begin a liquid diet..his body is relearning how to function properly. On a lunch hour in prayer at the cemetery where my dad is laid to rest, I missed a call from my sister… when I called her back she was exuberant “He had broth, they gave him broth”. It warmed my soul and of course made me cry. It made things clear as day. How incredibly grateful we were for a bland, warm liquid to soothe his hunger. How broth can put life into perspective. I will never forget that call, ever. 
Their wedding photos were ready the same day as the pathology report. The irony was bitter sweet and I struggled with whether or not to show them to my mom. Whether it would be too painful or if it would get her through. She was glad..he looks handsome and she looks truly, from the bottom of her heart, happy. That feeds the soul, so it was good. They will focus on their love. We all will. 
He is home now, he is comfortable, he is loved. There hasn’t been a day that hasn’t passed without calls or visits or love and strength shown to us all. He is a fighter and we will be together. She chooses not to be a victim. They will have a new normal. A love at a deeper level. Another test to pass, to make them better. 
How much clearer it is now what’s important to cherish and what to let go of. If it is real it will stand the test of all that can possibly invade. 
As far as I’m concerned this thing doesn’t stand a chance against love twice.

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