Six years ago, J. and I tied the knot in our living room. The only ones who knew about the plan were: a) J. and me; b) our two Bassets at the time, Peanut Butter and Jelly; and c) the marriage commissioner we had hired. Even the witnesses, who had driven in from out of town that day, had no idea why we were rushing them through dinner.
During the ceremony, which was short and sweet, we said our vows, exchanged the rings we had already been wearing for many years, and legitimised our relationship after 12 years together. We were no longer living in sin. Peanut Butter brought some levity to the event by dropping her ball by the commissioner’s feet in the middle of the ceremony.
We got a lot of flak over our micro wedding. People were sad they weren’t invited to celebrate with us. We were legitimizing a relationship that was 12 years old already; we didn’t want to register for kitchen appliances we didn’t need, we didn’t want to drag our long-distance families to Calgary for a brief ceremony, and you’ve got to know by looking at me that I’m not the kind of person who would enjoy getting gussied up in a white wedding dress, Not my thing.
Then there was the whole gay thing, and knowing some were uncomfortable with the idea of two women tying the knot. Let’s spare everyone the inconvenience and potential discomfort, we thought.
No, it wasn’t fair of us to make the decision to exclude our loved ones. They would have been happy to celebrate with us, and we should not have taken that choice away from them.
Some days I do regret how we married. I wish we’d had our nearest and dearest there with us. Sometimes J. describes the love and support for the union of a marriage she’s officiated, and I am sad that we deprived ourselves of those sentiments on our wedding day.
I may regret how we married some days, but I never regret that we did marry. However long we’d been together prior, marriage felt different. I’m glad we made that commitment to one another.
Two months following our wedding, I almost died in the ICU following my leukemia diagnosis. In sickness and in health, people joked, in between discussions of funeral arrangements. Sure, we had the documentation in place that would allow J. to make medical decisions on my behalf but being married meant that J.’s decision-making power was assumed.
In the six years since, I could not ask for a more devoted partner, one who has stepped up to every challenge that has crossed her path. Many would have bailed, but not J. The sicker I’ve gotten, the more she’s shone. She is still my spouse but she is also now my caregiver. She cooks, she cleans, she does laundry, and she drives me wherever I need to go. All without complaint.
In the end, the anniversary was bittersweet: cause for celebration mixed with sadness that this would likely be our last. The one thing that salvaged the day was ice cream for dinner. Ice cream cures all ills, I’m told.