Every couple has their story. How they met. What obstacles they overcame. What joys and sorrows they encountered. How their journey eventually ends. Maybe it is after a year. Maybe they get 50 or 60 years together.
Now I know. I know the story Jim and I shared. I know all the answers to what lay ahead and how long we would be together. I know how our story ends.
I have been asked a few times if I knew then what I know now if I would have still married Jim. It is a reasonable question. I can be honest and say there were times I am not sure what my answer would be. Right in the middle of caring for Jim, I was so stressed, so lonely, so overwhelmed, it was hard to see the forest through all the trees.
But now. Now I can see it all. The pain. The laughter. The love. Two amazing children. The struggles. The arguments. The make ups.
Yes. I would do it all over again, and hopefully with more grace and more patience and understanding. I would love Jim and he would love me. And there would be nothing we could do from stopping the Alzheimer’s from taking him so soon. Too soon. But we could still have the years together, which is more than some get. We could still be the family we both envisioned, which is more than most get. We could still be. Us.
I recently wrote about how we met here on my blog. It is a wonderful love story that I am proud to be part of. I knew the minute I met Jim he would never cheat on me. He didn’t. I knew he would provide for me and our kids. He did. I knew he would not lie to me (he did about one major thing that I finally worked through after he was very sick. It took a long time). He mostly didn’t. I knew he was safe and secure and he would love me. And I was right. I couldn’t have asked for a better man to be the father of my children. I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher along the way.
So, when I look back and wonder what I would have done different, my answer is never not be with Jim. I would still choose him and I hope if he could do the same, he would still choose me. Part of me knows he wouldn’t choose me for the simple reason he wouldn’t want to hurt me so much. Even through the loss of so many capabilities, Jim still knew me. When I walked in a room, he would light up. His smile filled his face. There are no words to describe how this makes me feel. He still knew me when he was days away from the end. He still knew our love, our trust, our connection. He showed me how he felt about me right up until he couldn’t any more. And I showed him. It was a long, hard, painful journey. But his love was worth every tear and every sob and every ache. He was worth it all.