25 Years ago Joan (aka cheerleader) and I stood at the alter of my hometown church and said these words to each other:
'to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
(yes, we chose the traditional vows)
All of us with MS know you find out a lot about the people in your life when you get sick, good and bad. Of course we find out about ourselves too! A disease with no clear 'endgame' can try the patience and reserve of even the best people.
I have never realized, or appreciated the amount of dedication Joan has had to our marriage and to me, to the depths I do now. Her tireless patience, selfless caretaking, good humor,, and suffering the occasional outburst of mis-directed anger my diagnosis has been a revelation to me.
And as you here, now, she has also been an invaluable searcher into the ways we can hope to improve the quality of health for all of us, and try to find a solution to this horrible disease.
So, with all of you dear people, this seems a very fitting place to pay tribute to the person who has made our 25 years together so rewarding and full of joy and good humor!
I encourage us all to take a moment to thank those partners, friends, spouses, family and other loved ones who have stood with you through this. I am very grateful to them all, as I am sure you are.