As I was listening to friends recite their wedding vows it occurred to me that when it comes to the whole “in sickness and in health” part sometimes you get the short end of the stick. Thankfully they threw in the whole “till death do you part” bit so that if there is a serious illness the union had an out, in “good” time.

Not that this is something my friends have to worry about and I wish them well in their “official” life as a couple. But it did get me thinking about my own circumstances. Had I been born during a different time I would have already completed my life, certainly the medication that keeps me alive wouldn’t be available and therefore the chances of having reached my current age would be very slim.

And there is that whole piece about providing an heir, which has never been a possibility for me. The whole putting someone to death from not bearing children would be fairly moot for me, because again…hell chronic illness so probably already dead.

It does make me wonder, sometimes, how Beloved has come to the decision he has and wants to stick around. He knows things aren’t going to get better, not with my health coupled with my poor luck. He doesn’t mind though. For him any time spent with the person who stole your heart is a gift. He doesn’t add the time up the way some people do, the way our friends talk about fifty or sixty years down the road.

Granted he hasn’t planned my funeral either, but we are both aware that between ill-health and choices made the fifty years is a very far-reaching target, thirty being more likely unless there is more medical intervention and choices become different. Sometimes I wonder why he sticks around, knowing that for all the “good days” there are far more “bad” ones. That in the long run I rely on him far more than he on me because let’s face it, lupus is not the most reliable illness, save for knowing flares are likely to come when you least want them! (Not that I have ever wanted a flare, but happening when Beloved wasn’t’ being honored would be nice for a change; or letting me finish an entire school year without missing days would be lovely.)

It isn’t that Beloved got into this whole thing and then was blinded side by the side-kick. Nope, I decided to be upfront with him about my ever-present sidekick so he could run as fast and as far as he wanted to. What he did was stay, in sickness and in health, but mostly sickness these days because there are more of those. What he has done is listened carefully as I’ve gone over my medical directive with him. He has watched me fill out form after form declaring no “lifesaving” efforts for this girl. And he has read through the brochures of places that help people end their lives with dignity. (He joked once that it would be cheaper so simple give me too much of my meds and just let me die of an overdose. We laughed for hours at that, I safe in knowing he’d never be able to carry that out.) And we’ve held hands in the scary quiet look of a grey faced doctor trying to gently explain things that really didn’t need to be said.

So I guess, despite not having the ceremony, not having the dress, the cake or the ring. In some ways we have completed our vows; “in sickness and in health” has been tested and is solid. We’ll come to the “till death do you part” piece all in good time; our time, our terms.

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