I have been thinking about those words and what they mean when we say them.  I am obviously talking about when we get married! When you are young and planning your wedding, do you think beyond that day much?  Do you think about the words you are actually saying that day?  I wonder how we would feel or what we would say if we could look into the future at not only the better , but the so-called ‘worse’.

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I have been thinking about one part of it specifically. What happens when you become different people?  I am not talking about just acting different, or just getting older.  I am talking about actually becoming different people.  Things happen to us that are beyond our control to change us physically, whether it is by accidents or disease.

Then what?

For better or worse…..

Will you stay if it happens to you?  Is love enough?  Can you endure everything the changes cause?  Obviously the physical changes can change you mentally and emotionally, too. Will that change how you feel about your partner?

For us, the first change started over 12 years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had all the treatments, including a bi-lateral mastectomy with reconstruction.  I have struggled with self-image ever since. I am thankful to be here, of course, but I can and do mourn the old me.  How can you not?  How can you feel the same?  You can’t. Because you aren’t. I am reminded every day I look in the mirror. I am reminded every day just watching tv. I often do not feel whole. I feel less of a woman. Those who have been through it, probably know what I mean. I suddenly became NOT the person my husband married.  He has said many times that he is just glad I am here and he HAS stuck around all these years…but it has to be different for him.  There is no doubt.

This year, it was his turn. Early in the year, he had a stroke.  He was lucky and he recovered fast. It happened in March and he was back to work in April. But, he also is not the same person and never will be. There have been changes to him that will always be there. Being on this side of change has been eye-opening.

So here we are.  29 years later…After ALL the for better or worse. Still married. To the same, but different people. I would have never guessed all those years ago when saying those words that we would have been able to go through everything we have, including these BIG changes. I would never have imagined that we would be able to get through it and endure. Has it been easy? No, but the good things in life never seem to be!

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