Seperis (seperis) wrote,

other than that thing with the illness and the wedding

On Saturday, my mother's brother and my aunt celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. In a lot of ways, they are as ordinarily as any couple that makes it through a quarter of a century with two kids. They're friendly and kind and remarkably fun; my uncle has a wicked sense of humor and my aunt is gracious and witty and funny. And corrects my Spanish a lot.

Their lives are ordinary except in all the ways they aren't.

My aunt was born in Venezuela and came to American, I think to attend college. She and my uncle met soon after he got out of the army and fell in love. They agreed to get married.

That's when things get complex.

They tell the story a thousand times better than I ever can, evoking the humor of a wedding that started with bad omens that only got worse, navigating immigration and flight schedules and maybe some kind of mild unpleasantness going on with the Venezuelan government. Eventually, my uncle and my grandmother went to Venezuela so they could marry, when my aunt promply got sick and ended up hospitalized.

Being on visa, they were restricted on how long they could stay, and for that matter, the restriction on the marriage. My uncle offered to go back to America and come later for teh wedding. My aunt, being--herself--decided that wasn't quite good enough. She got herself released from the hospital, carted to her wedding, where she got through her vows, got her husband, and immediately returned to the hospital after the wedding so she would avoid making her husband a widower.

From what my uncle suggests, the fever helped his courtship along a lot.

The picture of them when they finishd their vows, by the way, is beautiful. I think it amuses her to know she would be throwing up about a minute later.

A year later, my aunt's visa (I'm unclear on teh details of how this happened), expired or was revoked while she was visiting family in Venezuela. Their first anniversay was spent apart, sending documents not through the mail, which was dangerous, but through people coming and going to Venezuela so she could come home. Eventually, she got back.

Five years ago, my uncle was diagnosed with stomach cancer, a hazard of being a firefighter. He lost--his stomach and some other internal organs (I am unclear on the actual losses farther: I think part of his pancreas, his spleen, and part of his liver). A few operations, chemo, radiation, and three and a half years later, he was emaciated to the point of starvation, unable to eat or hold down food, and thought he was going to die. Finally, his doctors gave him access to a pain management clinic to teach him how to use his pain medications and how to schedule his life.

He gained forty pounds. I watched him grinning and raise his glass to his wife when he told stories about the time he locked her out of the house in a fight, relented, went outside to get her, and she went in behind him adn locked him out. He told us about how early in their marriage, they only had one car and she'd walk a mile to the bus stop for work every day. My aunt hosted my baby shower and brought me gifts from Venezuela and made fun of how I conjugated my Spanish verbs.

They had two extraordinary daughters, one of whom is *sighs* nineteen and in her senior year at the University of Texas at Austin and is freaking quadrilingual. (Not that I'm bitter.) The youngest will probably turn out the same.

They're ordinary in all the ways I think one day I want to be ordinary with someone who makes me want to.

Twenty-five years. I am hoping we'll all be there for fifty.
Tags: family
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