She was 23 when they married; he was 29. "I had no business getting married so young," she told me, smiling. But now she's glad. They didn't know that their time was limited.
For 17 years, they were friends, lovers, business partners. When he became ill, she cared for him with a very specific, concrete purpose: to help and love him through his last breath.
Their life became vastly different than anything they could have imagined. Their perspective and priorities changed. It was easier to see what mattered, and they appreciated life in a way they couldn't have before.
He died 13 months later. She had promised him that if there was a way to be okay, she would find it. She knows that now she can meet any adversity with resilience and grace because she has gotten through this.
It’s been just over nine months since he died. She's starting to regroup, to look ahead, although some days she feels so tender. So she hikes in nature, takes Fridays off, and knows that in a year from now her life will look very different.
The measure of our love is the fullness of our grief. It is beautiful, it is horrible, and it is nonnegotiable. It is the polarity of life.