Bill and I met in July 1995. His mother Connie was hospitalized with a degenerative illness five months later. It soon became clear that we would need to quit our jobs to care for her and help her transition to somewhere with skilled nurses and a back-up generator for the oxygen she would need 24 hours a day for however long she would live. She was 57 and we were devastated.
In the midst of that Bill proposed to me. He gave me a diamond ring and I gave him a black Cannondale tandem bicycle that we would later name Black Beauty as a symbol of the fun team I always hoped we’d be. Early each morning before his mother would wake and we’d decide what heart-breaking part of the house we’d try to clear out that day, we would go for a 20-mile ride on Black Beauty through the hills of Pittsburgh. We’d find our little private time together that was not sad. Often it was the only part of the day that was not sad.
So when, 13 years ago today, we painted a t-shirt for him that said on the back “Just” and one for me that said “Married” and we cruised down the driveway of his childhood home on Black Beauty we knew what that part of the ceremony about “in sickness and in health” really meant. And yes, that is a lace veil he made for my helmet. What a happy day that was.
And what a happy day it was today that, although we’re 13 years older and have had some of those “in sickness and in health” moments ourselves, we had a 40-mile ride together.