I love a good story. I love good stories so much that I want my own life to be one. I want to follow my bliss, visit exotic locations, open the world to my daughter, get to know interesting people, and write it all down to share with kindred spirits. I want to live a life worth writing about.
On that quest, I also have a tendency to overlook some important details. I figure that I can overcome any obstacles with sheer will and positivity. Often times I can. But at what cost? In the long run, some details refuse to be overlooked.
Life is about decisions. I often write about the moment when I asked Laurie to marry me the day after she got two years to live. That decision set off a chain reaction that defines my life to this day. In my mind, I had a story that I wanted to tell. I wanted the story to be that our love saved her life.
I wasn't thinking in these terms back then, but I wanted to be prince charming riding into the castle to slay the dragon and save my damsel in distress. I couldn't control the medical reality, but I could control how I wielded my love for her. Love is a nuclear weapon. To a large degree our extraordinary love succeeded -- just not happily ever after.
Laurie lived another 10 years, eight more than doctors predicted, but she did inevitably die. No matter how much sheer will and positivity one can muster, some details are final. When she died, and even throughout the two extremely difficult years prior, I was living with the consequences of my fairy tale-like fantasy.
Suffering during our final years together was relentless. And not just for me and Laurie, but also for all of our friends and family who chose to be there for us. They found our story compelling enough to write themselves into it.
Many of my struggles today are a legacy of the original love story I wanted so badly to come true. It didn't turn out exactly as I planned -- no matter how bravely I fought. But maybe I wasn't really looking for a good or a bad ending. After all, unlike a fairy-tale, a good story must have both.