It had been a busy week out in the Bay area, where my wife, Kori, is originally from and also where her company's headquarters is located. We had flown out for her work and to spend much needed time with friends and family.
Kori was still in the thick of it, plowing through one meeting after the next. She takes her career extremely seriously and always places a high value on developing relationships, especially those she doesn't get much face time with.
Now at this point, it was Thursday night. One day left before we could flip the switch into weekend mode. And it was a long one. Due to all the meetings, her team had stayed late at the office catching up on deadlines so when she finally got home, she was exhausted. Plus, on top of her work commitments, she had been looking out for me all week. It's always challenging for us when we travel because my limited mobility and strict diet require constant planning ahead. Bottom line, Kori was spent.
Then, as she got ready to turn in for the night, I suddenly heard a gasp from the other room but couldn't figure out what to make of it. It was only as she approached that I saw the culprit: a chipped front tooth...
Not a great look and not great timing. She still had important meetings that were basically first impressions the next day. What was she going to do? Hadn't we dealt with enough these past few years fighting cancer? It was simply the straw that broke the camel's back and she collapsed into bed, the way you do when wishing life had a reset button. But there were no easy escape routes and she would have to figure it out.
In the meantime, I held her close to me and that's about when it happened. The return of a feeling we've become somewhat familiar with these past few years. Her and I, in it together, dealing with whatever comes our way. At the very least, we felt safe with each other.
Life with cancer presents endless challenges and suffocating anxiety but it's taught me a valuable lesson about relationships. If you look at reality TV or Instagram, you might think that love is all about buying fancy jewelry or taking luxury vacations. But in my world, love's not about glamor. Sometimes it's just about having your partner by your side and knowing they've got your back 'til the end... whether it's laying next to you in a hospital bed over the summer holidays or holding you tight as you prepare to face a day of dread and discomfort.