Tomorrow I will celebrate my 17th wedding anniversary. The day after that I will, uh, observe my 60th birthday.
60 appeared like a small dark cloud on the horizon on my 59th birthday and has been looming larger and more threatening as the year has progressed.
I’m not sure why 60 is so rough; turning 50 was no big deal. Perhaps it just sounds so old.
I know I should simply be grateful to make it this far; it did not always seem so certain that I would.
I remember lying in a hospital bed in Canton when I was 49. I had suffered a stroke about a month before, and my bride, alarmed, insisted that I get my whole cardiovascular system examined. I had just endured a heart catheterization, when they claim to insert a tiny camera into your arteries and examine them from the inside. I am skeptical; such a thing sounds impossible. But however they did it the cardiologist, a Dr Gross, approached with his diagnosis.
It was memorable not only for the verdict but for the delivery. He had eaten a spicy lunch and his breath was awful as he bent down to speak quietly to me. Plus, he sounded like Elmer Fudd:
“I’m afwaid I have some vewy bad news. There is sevewe bwockage in thwee of your awtewies. Because of your stwoke we are going to send you to the Cwevewand Cwinic for evaluation.”
Thus, a couple of months later, when I was deemed stable, I had triple bypass surgery. I was pretty sure at that point, with two such devastating events in such a short time, that the rest of my brief life was going to be one catastrophe after another until the Big One took me out.
But I was wrong.
While I have had various ailments and minor surgeries (and needed stents a couple of winters ago) nothing has been life-threatening. I continue to walk about 10 miles a day and despite various aches and afflictions am in pretty good health, apart from these pesky cardiovascular issues.
And while I am too old for a midlife crisis, because I started so late all the elements are there: the decisions made so confidently that turned out foolish, the older kids resenting, among other things, being homeschooled when little, the million ways I turned out to have been wrong. And while I never made a decision that didn’t seem right at the time if I had to do it over I would do most things differently.
Except one thing.
I have never regretted marrying Michelle, even when it has been difficult. I fear to think what would have become of me without her. I offer this love song for my bride, and only regret that I did not write it: