Tom and I are flying back from Seattle today. Thanks to a generous and helpful friend, Tom was able to sidekick with me while I appeared in the Moth GrandSlam event (more on that later). Another great friend transported us around the city and handed over her condo for us to catch some much needed sleep last night. The Moth event was amazing. I made memories I will never forget and had a blast doing it.

It was also exhausting. No surprise there. Because Tom flew standby on this trip, we weren’t sure if he would be able to fly home with me. Here is what that uncertainty revealed to me:

I love my husband.

Paltry words, I know. But this is an older, wiser love that we now share. He has always been my steady- a constant support and by far a mellower partner than I am. But now, I feel more like he is a part of me. He has taken a space in my heart and soul that I cannot imagine teasing apart. I get so much safety and reassurance just by reaching my hand to find his, or resting my head in his shoulder. I did not realize how much I need him, and how active the choice is to still seek him out.

Before my diagnosis, we had drifted away from each other. Not out of spite or malice, but out of the all too common threads that come bare over time and circumstances. I was insecure in my love for him, worried that I wasn’t as desired or admired by him as I wanted (needed?) to be. It left us both hurting and lost, trying to find a way to come back to each other and anchor into something deep and solid.

Now, he is someone who has seen me at my most vulnerable, at my least desirable, and also at my best. I am a better person now because of disease, and that allows me be a better partner, too.

Before, I would have scoffed at the idea of “needing” someone. It felt insecure and terribly dependent. It had all the negative connotation of an irresponsible, self-involved, flighty, younger me, and I couldn’t stand it. I hated the time in my life when I tried to fill the gaps with affection and attention from men/boys who were clearly not interested in loving me back.

What I realize now is that needing him has arisen from finally letting him in. I am not insecure for needing him more, I am more open to letting him fill the broken parts of my heart.

And that, that is truly brave.

Choosing the vulnerable side of life, complete with all the potential heartache and pain is gutsy. The truth is, he has seeped into those cracks because I want him there.

While I know someday we won’t be together, that death will someday part us, he will always live in those spaces. I will risk that certain pain for the monumental love we share right now. I will not guard my heart against the worst only to also keep out the best.

I know not everyone gets to love like this. I know I am lucky. If this is the result of what pain brought me, I would walk through it a thousand times to be where I am with him. And then walk one thousand more. And a thousand more…

Give ‘Em Hell

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