...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

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Two years ago, I got married. I married the love of my life at a very hard time in our lives because well, it was time and we wanted to and we loved each other ridiculously much and there was not going to be a better time. Yes, he had had a stroke two years before and no, he was not "better"’ but he was himself, in almost every way that mattered. (No, he could not write well or draw. That was the worst part. But he could talk, and laugh, and kiss, and joke, and remember, and be a friend and be a support and be a wonderful guy.)

As most of you who know me and knew Stu are aware, Stu died in November of 2014, only five months after the wedding. Mind you, we had been together since 1988, moving in together in a relatively short time in 1989, and moving to Seattle together in 1990. The longest we were ever apart from that time was three weeks. Thank the gods for cell phone technology or our long distance bill would have swamped us.

On Tuesday I put a new refrigerator magnet up. I looked at it and said "yeah, Stu would have found it funny" even if it is more my humor than his. ’m still very slowly getting used to his not being there. We were woven together. By choice. He was wonderful company, my greatest friend, my sweetie and my love. Fifty per cent of my life was Stu Shiffman. But together, we were way more than 100%. We were somewhat joined at the hip, yeah, but there was still llots of room for each of us as individuals.. So earlier this week,, putting the magnet up where the Sherlock Holmes magnets would reside, or the ones about Betty Boop, or flying cars of the future, there are more Anne Taintor magnets and feminist rants. Today's addition is reads "Dream Big. Work Hard. Be Brave. Shine Bright. Fuck Off."

It's more my humor because Stu was on much more of an even keel than I ever was, and weeks would go by and he would not swear. I don’t think I have gotten through a day in many years without swearing.

Also up on the refrigerator- still - are the comic strips where we were sure that they were spying on us again ("Arlo and Janis" was downright spooky sometimes) and some magnets reminding me of places we went )New Orleans, Anchorage) but there is the occasionally overcrowding due to cute hedgehog photos.

And as corny as this is going to sound (and oh, is it) I realized that while i am filling in those gaps that he left, putting my socks where he would have gone, moving to "his" side of the bed because it brings me way closer to the wheelchair, getting a lot more involved in disability politics than I have been (in part because I’m, uh, more disabled than I have been) that it is not that anything has changed or will change. Stu is still the love of my life and I loved him ridiculously much. I would not be who I am today -not the good parts- without having spent 27 years with Stu. We were good for each other, I know that, but at times - damn - I don’t recognize myself because to the degree that I am more patient, nicer, friendlier, easier, if I am, it was because I loved and lived with Stu. I cannot and will not unsee the empty spots on the refrigerator even as I put new stuff there. I cannot and will not stop talking to Murray the Gorilla, the soft toy essence of Stu, who talks back to me, yes. (Pause so you can all roll your eyes and not gag

One shelf on our beautiful glass-doored display bookcase, which Stu never got to see, but that we boug)ht together, holds the kiddush cup from our wedding ceremony, along with Stu’s blue suede kippah, my gorgeous wedding hat, the broken glass and more from the ceremony. The Glasgow rose style ketubah hangs, as it has from the day it got home from the framers, in the bedroom. Also on the shelf of the bookcase is a tired, much folded piece of paper which has the words I said to Stu on June 18, 2014.

Stuart Shiffman

I cherish you.
I love your good nature.
I love your boundless curiosity.
I think you are the wittiest person I have ever known.
I admire your ability to persevere, and your perfectionism.
I love your ineffable kindness and acceptance of people.
I love your appreciation of what life has to offer.
I admire your astonishing talent.
I adore your sense of humor, sense of silliness and sense of fun.
I love your kind heart.
I adore your basic fundamental goodness and respect for others.

And I vow, from this day forward and forever, to be worthy of all that and more. And to always, always love you.

"And once again I am blessed, choosing again what I chose before." from a poem by Wendell Berry “The Wild Rose.

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