“100% of marriages end.”
This is a line from “Marriages and Other Acts of Charity,” by Kate Braestrup, a book I highly recommend for anyone who likes to read about relationships.
Don’t you love it when a line or paragraph jumps out at you from a really good book? In fact, I am quick to judge a book as “good” precisely because of those moments.
100% of marriages end. 100% of relationships end.
This is, of course, a truth we don’t often ponder. My marriage will end at some point, despite my best attempts to stay married. One of us will die, eventually. One of us will lose the other. Even if we were to die together, our marriage is, in the words of the Bible and our vows ’till death do us part.’
My daughter’s Godparents, Cliff and Eloise Hastie, were long-time friends of my husband’s family, and then, by extension and through a continued relationship, our friends as well. Cliff always said that he didn’t want to live without Eloise, and the truth was, we couldn’t imagine one without the other. Eloise died first in the car accident that killed them both, and Cliff, who never regained conciousness, died soon after. I always wondered if somehow he knew that his Eloise was already gone and there was no reason to come back. Our relationship with these two people ended with Cliff’s death, as his children did not answer my letters, despite my initial attempt to maintain some contact. Our relationship with these two wonderful people completely ended with that car accident.
My marriage has not always been such that I could not imagine living without David. It pains me to admit that there was actually a period when I considered, without a great deal of sadness, what it might be like without him. That thought horrifies me now.
My book is not really a story of David’s illness; his cancer story and my caregiving one. On the surface, it seems to be just that, but the reader who finishes my book will set it aside and think about their marriage relationship, not cancer.
What sentence will jump out at them? What paragraph will they think about when they set my book aside? Will it be the horrifying details of an invasive surgery, or will it be the moment when I take David’s hand in mine and plead, “Make it mean something.”
“100% of marriages end,” Kate Braestrup writes.
I feel as thought I’ve just gotten started loving David the right way. Let mine not end for a long time.