Today Mr Q and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary! Holy mackerel. Right? Where did the time go? Look at us, omg, we look so young and thin!
Mr. Q and I have been through a lot together in 25 years. But I thought that today I would tell you the story of how very close we came to not having these 25 years together. You see, about five months before our wedding, I got that phone call. You know the one. The one you hope that you never, ever get. In the movies, it always comes in the middle of the night or something, but in real life, it comes when you are least expecting it and in the middle of something mundane. In my case, I was at work. The phone rang and it was someone calling from the hospital. My fiance had been in an accident. I should come right away. And I should let someone else drive. That’s all they would tell me. I asked, ‘is he OK?’ … the answer, ‘just come’.
So, my friend Sue drove me to the hospital. When we got there and I told the ER staff who I was, they said “oh, come this way, we have a nice quiet room where you can wait for someone to come for you.” What? A special room? A nice, quiet, special room? A room where they can break the bad news and you won’t freak out all the other patients? Of course, this is what was going through my head, and it wasn’t all that far off.
You see, Mr. Q had been driving home from work, and he was hit by a Mack truck. OK, maybe it wasn’t literally a Mack truck, but it was a large semi-truck. He had a severe head injury and was in a coma. There were really no answers to any of my questions. Will he be OK? No one knows. Will he ever be the same? No one knows. How long will the coma last? No one knows. It was a very scary time for me. Twenty-five years later and I still can’t even write about it without tearing up. Thank goodness for our friends. We have many friends, and every single one of them was invaluable to me during that time. I am still grateful to this day for all they did for me.
In the end, Mr. Q was in a coma for eight of the longest days of my entire life. Once he came out of the coma, he remained hospitalized for many more weeks while he relearned how to speak, eat and walk. As time went by, some people suggested I should delay our approaching wedding, but I refused. I knew I wanted to marry this man and I didn’t want to wait.
Twenty five years later, I know I made the right decision. It definitely hasn’t always been easy, but it has totally been worth it.
I love this man with all of my heart and don’t even want to imagine a life without him. I hope that he has inherited the longevity gene from his mother’s side of the family, whose members regularly live into their 100’s. Because I really want him to stick around for more than another 25 years.
Over the years, Mr. Q has worked very hard on his recovery. He’ll always have side effects from his brain injury. Most of them are not apparent to those who don’t know, but I see them. But he has somehow managed to find a positive side to having a brain injury. He has dedicated himself to helping others deal with their own brain injuries. He has facilitated support groups, served on the board for the Brain Injury Alliance of Minnesota, written columns for their newsletters, been a speaker at various conferences about brain injury and he has had two books of essays about brain injury published. Now, one of his essays has been included in the new Chicken Soup book, Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries, and the book is being released today. This particular essay, How I Learned to Walk, is about how the thought of being able to walk back up the aisle with me at our wedding was the motivation that kept him going through his rehab. So it seems especially fitting that the book is coming out on our 25th wedding anniversary!
If you are located in the Twin Cities area, please consider attending the book signing that will be held this coming Saturday in Stillwater by Valley Bookseller. I know he would be thrilled to see a nice turn out for the event.
But as for today, Mr Q and I are going into the big city to celebrate 25 years of marriage! We’ll probably do some walking, and some eating, and some talking. All things that Mr. Q can do just fine now, thank you very much.