For Worse or For Better

I think when they, whoever “they” were, drafted the wedding vows that have become pretty much today’s standardized script, instead of saying “for better or for worse,” the pairing should have been led with worse, as in “for worse or for better.” They do the sickness before health part in the vows, so they shoulda gone for consistency.

Leading with “for worse,” it just sounds more serious, like probably you should pay more attention to Item A than you do Item B as your wedding officiant goes through the spiel. It’s more in your face, right? Oooh, worse? I mean, that’s something I should really lock down. Sticking with anything when it’s better? That’s easy. It’s the when it’s worse part that requires more depth, more commitment. When you’re marching down the aisle in your white gown, bouquet of tulips in hand, you don’t actually envision worse. It’s ridiculously incongruous to the celebratory theme. I mean.

At their wedding, no couple really thinks about worse as they stand smiling up in front is what I’m saying, but the worses, well they’re there. (And did anyone notice I used their, they’re and there in one sentence?) Today marks eighteen years since our “I do.” Happy anniversary to us!

Eighteen years and another lifetime

OBVIOUSLY when I write about “worse,” I’m referring to “the accident.” Sorry for all the quotation marks in this post here, geez. There really needs to be a font for my tone of voice. Anyway. THE ACCIDENT. That’s about as worse as worse gets. It’s a curious fallback topic–when speaking to people who don’t know me well socially or know me only through professional contact, there’s always THE ACCIDENT to take up conversational space. People are so kind to ask after my husband’s well-being, and I appreciate their asking. It’s a kindness, that concern, and honestly, the accident occupies a great deal of my mental bandwidth a great deal of the time, especially around May 7, the worse of the anniversaries I observe this week.

At a weekend family gathering, a few people mentioned the anniversary of the accident to my husband. Unlike me, he doesn’t mark this date in his calendar. He asked if I thought it was odd he didn’t even remember the date, or that May 7 didn’t carry significance for him. (Internally, I was like, Honey, since your head was smashed and cracked open on the concrete, that’s just one thing of a million you don’t remember. . .) I wish I had his particular brand of amnesia! I can’t wait for the year I wake up on a May 7 and the memory of meeting Yellow Wood Doe in the Emergency Department isn’t the first mental movie scene punching me in the face. And isn’t that the most bizarre John Doe name ever, Yellow Wood? That was who he was for a week, Mr. Yellow Wood Doe.

Worse is when you learn what you’re made of though. Sometimes I feel like a dang superhero–how did I not lose my mind? My survival of his accident was entirely different in scope and scale than his; he WAS a dang superhero to have survived.

My younger son’s baseball season opened Friday night, Friday, May 7; in my mind, baseball and the accident are inextricably linked. I distinctly recall thinking that what I was doing for the kids in the days and weeks following the accident–getting the boys going to school, arranging for them to get to baseball and music lessons–was meant to help them, to keep them in “their routine” while understanding full and well that I was screwing things up. Scrubbing baseball pants clean (I am SO GOOD at this, you guys), I’m reminded of how much I messed up then and how much I’m messing up since.

I tried though. I tried then, and I’m trying now–and I don’t just mean about getting grass and dirt stains out of baseball pants. My attention span is shorter and I’m a weak conversationalist, either grunting single words or babbling incessantly. I’m constantly worried, and I’m easily distracted. My brain is much like my work computer with a hundred tabs open at all times, but I’m still trying.

Today is not a for worse day though, it’s a for better. Happy anniversary.