For Better or Better

So much has happened since my last post. There is nowhere to begin except at the heart of the story. When I met my husband, Booth Buckley in January of 1989 in a bar in Atlanta, Georgia I never could have predicted that we would be married and living in the Northwest almost twenty-four years later, yet here we are. We have been through so much together both good and incredibly bad, and we have only grown stronger and more in love. When we eloped in September of 1994 we did so for two reasons: Booth was previously married in a Baptist Church in Alabama, and he did not want a church ceremony; I wanted a small ceremony but the only person who I truly wanted to be there was my mom and she was dead. I had spread my mom's ashes on Martha's Vineyard, her favorite place, so that was where we eloped to. The ceremony was very quick and the justice of the peace forgot to do "the vows" so we never said the "for better or worse, in sickness and in health, richer or poorer" part. We did say "I do."

We have embraced those vows, however, and we are tested again and again. Right now I am facing one of the scariest moments of my marriage. If I thought getting through the loss of my mom, my husband's diagnosis of celiac disease, the discovery and recovery of two of my stepsons addicted to heroin (now clean), the bipolar psychosis of my very egomaniacal father, were turbulent waters to navigate, I have just been hit by a rogue wave.

Booth has not been feeling good for some time. In September, around the time of the photo of him holding those roses, he started experiencing chest pain while riding his bicycle up hills. A long story short: On November 20th we went in for an angiogram after trying just beta blockers and statin drugs, and we thought maybe the cardiologist would put in a stent or two, and we were hit by the wave. Booth has "left main disease" (which is genetic in his case) and he has 70% to 90% blockage in two dangerous places. This Thursday he goes in for open-heart triple bypass surgery.

We are very lucky. We did catch this in time. We have a great surgeon and one of the best hospitals for cardiac care in the world, here in Seattle. We have insurance; we are not fully insured being both self-employed, but we have always maintained our individual healthcare and now it has proven itself worthy. We have the love of so many friends and almost all of our family. The sad truth is that my very own father wishes us dead. This is mental illness speaking, and in this time of our stress I have let him go. It is the only choice I have. I did what I could to help, and now all I care about is my beautiful husband.

Thursday will be a very difficult day for me. I just want the 4-6 hours of surgery to be behind us, and the long recovery to begin. Booth so looks forward to a new lease on life, and so do I. I have book projects piled up and waiting for me to work on- three new toddler books for Chronicle Books, and I'm very excited about my 2013 release from Little, Brown & Company Books for Young Readers, "Once Upon A Memory," written by me and illustrated by Renata Liwska. I want my books to be back fully in my life and my heart, but first and foremost, I want Booth's heart to be better- better than ever.

All of this that we are going through has shown me the tenuous fragility of life and has highlighted only what is important. The Beatles really did get it right when they sang, "All You Need is Love." I have love. I give love. I hope for love. I don't need anything more- except for the man I love to get through this next week and onward.

With Love,