My partner, Katie, and I met at our first A-Camp where we were cabinmates. I had very recently been diagnosed with Antisynthetase Syndrome, which can be a devastating disease. It had been made clear to me that I might not make it to 40 years old. I was still processing when I got to camp and was looking forward to sort of a temporary reprieve from what had been a grueling diagnostic process.
The first night at camp we talked about what we wanted to leave behind for the duration of the trip. I told everyone about my illness, and about my fears surrounding it. I remember clearly announcing that I was not interested at all in finding someone to date. And, in an abridged version of this story, Katie and I both eventually left other relationships after months of daily Skype calls to be together. For the first while I was flying back and forth from Chicago to D.C. to spend a weekend here and there with her. It was never super stressful. We just fit. And our Skype dates went well into each night.
When she moved across the country to live together, it just worked immediately. We’re very similar in ways that matter, even though almost none of our interests overlap. (We’re also both slobs, which is important. Having just one slob in a relationship can be a struggle.)
At our second A-Camp, I spent a lot of the trip in bed. The travel was very hard on me, I’d gotten much sicker, and I ended up with a migraine. Katie reported back to me on all the activities I wanted to know about and was great at checking in without making me feel like I was bringing down the mood. Then, in our cabin’s Feelings Circle (totes normal), I shared that I was alarmed by how fast my lungs were breaking down and when it was her turn she told everyone that she was in it (our relationship) for good for all the eventual sponge baths and until I drew my last breath.
Like… she’s the love of my life. She makes me feel more seen than I’ve ever felt.
"When my grandpa began to fade, I didn’t realize that I would be the one who’d fracture. Nor did I realize how precipitously someone can slip away....