Sunday, July 20, 2008

caregiving: marriage, Multiple Sclerosis, and howlin' at the moon

Today, July 20th is Patti and my 23rd wedding anniversary.  


In 4 months, Thanksgiving morning will be my 19th anniversary of juggling Multiple Sclerosis spouse caregiving and basically single parenting.


Today's forecast of hot, humid, and high of 96 degrees is a perfect accompaniment for the above pictures from our outdoor ceremony and reception at the Newton White Mansion in Mitchellville, MD. It was dress up for the ceremony and bring a change of clothes for our summer picnic themed reception. 


“To have and to hold in sickness and in health …yada yadawas specifically excluded from our wedding vows that July day. Patti's choice, she had tried that vow 5 years earlier and a diagnosis of ‘probable MS’ loomed. Obviously it has not mattered. Living is more about actions.


While sorting old pictures I found ‘the words’ we did choose to use that day:

“Love one another, but make not a bond of love.


Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.


Stand together yet not too near together:

The oak tree and the cypress

grow not in each other's shadow.


Let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”


جبران خليل جبران بن ميخائيل بن سعد

Gibran Khalil Gibran bin Mikhael bin Saâd


Marriage when disability or chronic illness enters the relationship does not do well in the United States, 80% is the divorce rate.  Yet we are a society that rarely sees things through anyway, over half of all marriages end in divorce.


Plus with disability or chronic illness there are legal and economic reasons pro and con marriage and believe me they evolve over the years not unlike a mutated version of the 'traditional' wedding anniversary gifts.


That “hand of life” holds a lifetime of unknowns, dreams, and challenges.


July 20th is also the perfect night to recharge the dreamer in you with a glance at the moon.  39 years ago Neil Armstrong took that first small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. ... Oh what the hell, go ahead and howl at the moon! It's definitely more fun!


Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer 





(also available in Blogger edition, Caregiver Blog: "Caregivingly Yours")


  1. Patti and you look so beautiful, I bet it was the perfect day for a wonderful couple, what fantastic memories and picutres, thanks for sharing the greatest day of your life, tell Patti Happy Anniversary from me.

  2. Happy Anniversary.  Hope you take time to howl at the moon


  3. ((((( happy aniversary Patti and Patrick, those are beautiful words you gave to each other )))))) Rache

  4. Happy Anniversary Patrick and Patti!!! I loved the pictures and the theme of your wedding and reception!! that was an awesome idea for a picnic theme!! (I never heard of such, but I bet your guests had tons of fun)

    we never know what life will bring us, do we, when we make that commitment/vow, no matter what words we choose to use; what matters in the end is how we choose to live those vows and honor them no matter what life does bring

    it is encouraging to read and know of someone who didn't bolt and run when life didn't quite go the way they expected and threw them a curve ball not expected at all

    (I just don't know if I can howl at the moon, but maybe I'll try :)


  5.    congratulations....happy smiles on happy faces making happy memories for happy lives together no matter what life brings!

  6. (((((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU)))))))))))))))))))))))HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to you both.I admire you for you always being there for Patti and Patti always being there for you.I can see so much love both of you have for eachother.I love your pics and the wedding vow.I hope my Gary will always stick with me,so far He is a good guy,I have a chronic illiness,Arthitis in both knees.Many more happy days to you both.

  7. Happy Anniversary to you both.  Beautiful pictures, the reception looks like it was alot of fun.  I might just do that "Howl at the Moon" thing tonight.

  8. Happy Anniversary, Patti and Patrick!!

    Thanks for sharing the pictures with us... I think that was a wonderful reception, especially since it was summer!

    Have a wonderful evening...

  9. Wow Patrick what beautiful pictures!  A most happy Anniversary, belated wishes here lol but depth of emotion the same.  And thank you for mentioning our "one small step for a man" though I was so bust watching re-runs of it I never bothered to post!  Gettin old.  Again, blessings nad goodness to you and yours!  CATHY

  10. Hi Patrick.... Happy Anniversary to you and Pattie, if a few days late. Patti is as cute as you are handsome in those wedding photos. Just lovely! Thanks for sharing. You're her real Prince Charming. Genuine. The One! bea


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