Married to migraine

It was 1989 on a warm spring Saturday just before Memorial Day. Sunlight sparkled through stained-glass windows as the notes of Pachabel’s Canon in D filled the air.  A procession of pretty girls in rose-colored dresses and 80’s hairstyles were escorted by handsome young men in black tuxedos. Panicked young candlelighters froze when the artificial candles didn’t light. Good friends sang beautiful love songs to serenade the new couple.

My 19-year old heart pounded as Daddy took my arm.

The first chords of The Wedding March startled me when everyone stood and turned to stare at me. Daddy smiled and led me through the tunnel of faces to greet a 20 year-old skinny boy in white who looked more like he was 12. When the preacher asked the traditional question, Daddy quietly responded, “Her mother and I”, then turned to find a seat next to Mom. The next moments were a joyful blur as we exchanged vows, rings, and lit a candle to represent “two becoming one”. Before we knew it, the preacher was announcing us as “Mr. and Mrs.” and the event we’d been planning for six months was all over.

Instead of traditional vows, ours should have gone something like this.

Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife…

in sickness and ~
well, nevermind the health. She’ll be sick for the rest of her life. While she’s stubborn and will try to fight it, the disease will eventually win. You’d better study medicine because she’s going to need a nurse more often than she needs a husband.

for richer or poorer,
Forget the richer because you will be poor. Having only one income will do that. You need to know right now that you are going to be sole provider, shopper, cook, and housekeeper for the rest of your life.

for better or worse,
You guessed it, buddy. There’s going to be a lot of “worse” so hang on for the ride.

until death do you part, so help you God.
God better help you. Otherwise, you might want to get out now while you can.

If he had to promise those vows, would we still be married today?

I’d like to think so. Neither one of us saw this coming. If we’d been told to expect it, we wouldn’t have believed it. We were a couple of naiive kids who thought we could conquer the world. Nothing else mattered except our love.

Migraine – it’s in the contract!

During the ceremony, the preacher predicted that our sense of humor would be the glue that kept us together through all the unexpected challenges. He was right! Over the years we’ve had this running joke about all the “fine print” in the marriage contract.

He would make some sexist remark about a woman’s place. When I protested, he would counter back, “It’s in the contract!”. I would retort back that he wrote it in invisible ink and we’d both have a good laugh. He’s never been a bigot or sexist at all, so it was funny. 

Now it’s become our mantra for nearly everything that happens. “It’s in the contract” is unfortunately true of migraine. Migraine somehow got into the marriage contract when we weren’t looking. It has been an unwelcome third party that has pushed us around and given us some pretty hard knocks. Migraine has robbed us of dreams, thwarted plans, and literally stood between us at times.

It can’t touch our love, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t tried.

Twenty-six years, two kids, a grandbaby, and thousand of migraine attacks later, we’re still best friends and madly in love. Our kids joke that we’re that couple who will die together in our sleep when we’re 95. They’re probably right, but make that 105.

One thought on “Married to migraine

  1. Reading your story reminded me so much of ours. My husband is the one with the chronic migraine though. It’s funny we don’t say “it’s in the contract” we always say “we have a license that says so”. Humor has been a huge part for us as well. We talk about the “in sickness & in health part” always discussing the health part isn’t accurate. I really enjoyed your post.

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