Yesterday, the day after my first chemo treatment, was Pearl's and my ninth wedding anniversary.
I wasn't much up for celebrating, having been intravenously poisoned for 6 hours on Tuesday, so we didn't mark the occasion, other than to happily, though wearily, acknowledge the day and how happy we are to be together. Oh and of course, there was a little gift-giving of the RedPeg variety.
The thing about having an eminently talented jewellery-crafter as a good friend is that pretty much every single gift-giving opportunity calls for a glorious visit to a glorious shop. After much deliberation, I selected one of Gab's perfectly imperfect recycled silver bangles, and brainstormed how to personalise it for the anniversary occasion. We decided on stamped letters - A's and G's - randomly scattered on one side of the bangle, with two O's hidden in there for good measure. And Gab even let me stamp them myself, as Olive pottered away at Gab's work bench, which was kind of fun and exciting as I'd never done anything like that before.
It was nice to be chatting away there in the beauty of the studio, working and just thinking about the event being commemorated by the piece, admiring all of Gab's amazing trinkets and artworks, distracting myself from the terror that was chemo-eve.
Pearl and I had our wedding party at the Bundanoon Youth Hostel in 2005. It was a beautiful, fun, joyful day of emotion and deep love and happiness (a little bit more on this, and some pics, here). I love remembering that day - what it meant and continues to mean for us, how each year's passing, and each acknowledgement and remembrance of the day allows us (yes, even amidst the tumult of cancer scariness) a moment to pause and consider and be thankful for the life we have together which has grown, at least in part, from the words we said and the commitment we made on that day.
We had no "sickness and in health" in our vows, but we didn't need to. We've both seen each other at our lowest ebbs, and we've both pulled each other through with tenderness and love and as much strength as we can muster. I'm hoping that this experience of mine - a mastectomy and months of chemo - will mark a low point that we don't have to return to. But even if we do, I know it'll be OK. Because when you find someone who you can get through the shit with, and not just survive but also end up more in love than before the shit, you know you're on a good thing.
A few weeks ago, my grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Here I am, so elated at celebrating number nine, I can't even imagine how rewarding and satisfying it must be to look back over 60 years of joy and love and sadness and brilliance and big downs and utter crappiness and super-unmatched-awesomeness, all with the chosen person by your side. Something to look forward to, I say.
And in the mean time, all I can do is (literally) sit back and watch in wonder and awe as this lady I chose soldiers on through the shittiness of our current situation, tending chickens and dogs and ducks from dawn til dusk, feeding our family, loving our kids, and looking after me in all my bald, one-boobed messiness with a big smile on her face and so much love in her heart. I have to try hard not to wonder: How did I get to be so lucky?
|A handmade wedding ring, a handmade anniversary bangle and a bunch of nasturtiums.|
** For those of you not lucky enough to be living in the gorgeous Bega Valley with close proximity to RedPeg ecostudio, you can purchase Gab's creations online, or visit her at the upcoming Finder's Keepers Market in Sydney on the 6th and 7th of June. Make no mistake, RedPeg jewellery is the real deal - recycled silver, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind jewellery, which is TOTALLY beautiful and lovely to wear, and makes the most EXCELLENT gift for loved ones of all shapes and sizes.