if i needed you
would you come to me?
— the prophet townes van zandt
June 18, 1977.
They stood next to each other and promised to take care of each other in sickness and health, till death do they part.
I think I was there, but I don’t remember much because clearly I was still a baby at the time. But I can guess what it was like. You’re young, you’re in love, it’s the first day of your happily ever after. It’s so easy.
The tricky part is when it stops being easy.
I drop in now and then to hang out with Rick. it’s a fun hobby. But June is always here.
So much work. So frustrating. So scary. An endless series of tasks. Finding his shoes is a full-time job. The guy loves to hide his shoes. Just putting on a seat belt can be a test of your patience. I know that over the course of a couple of days I’ve tried to abandon him out in the country several times, but he keeps finding his way back. But not June.
She is so kind, so understanding, so patient. i know how crushingly difficult this is for her. They’re hitting the age where they should have been opening the third act in their comedy/musical. And now the play is so bittersweet.
She’s a professor. She’s a minister. She’s constantly juggling meetings with students and church members. She takes care of her 96-year-old mom who lives 40 miles away. She is always guiding her daughters as they try to find their way through life.
And while juggling it all, she takes care of Rick. Always.
It must be so hard to be with this guy who was the most clever person on the planet, no longer able to communicate. To go through the grinding routine of taking care of him every minute. The constant worry of where he is, how he is, who he is. The fear of what’s next.
But when they’re sitting at the breakfast table, she still gives him the same look of someone madly in love. They’re back at Fort McKavett taking those vows.
It may not be the perfect third act. Life is like that. But Rick was a lucky guy to find the perfect co-star. She’s the best person you could ever hope to know. If you ever see her, buy her a cookie.
They’re going to live happily after anyhow. Love does that.
June 18, 1977.