A Walk Down the Aisle Tainted by Illness

Looking back at photos from my wedding, I see the ghost of someone I didn’t know, someone who spooked me. Whatever my body was carrying around, refusing to let go, has forever tainted that day.

After our wedding, it took about a year to feel the strength of my body again. As the illness ran its course, months of feeling unwell turned into weeks, then days, and finally the few hours here and there. Now married for eight years, I have mostly left that hollow body behind. This isn’t to say that my body is entirely predictable. There have been flare-ups when I still have days, sometimes weeks, of that old poison in my veins.

Years after I began feeling like myself again, I received some comfort with an answer, a label to slap on the curious condition that plagued my body: myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), a complex, under-researched illness that only left me with more questions.

I’m working on listening to my body, resting when I need to without judgment, attempting a form of anger management toward my own self. My husband, by joining me for therapy sessions, is also working toward understanding my body and his reactions to its unpredictability. Each day, we have worked on forgiving each other for our failings, our fears, our resentments, our human tendencies.

It was amid this ongoing process that I realized I wanted to redo our wedding.

“Another wedding?” asked my husband, panicked at the dollar signs that flashed in his mind.

“More of a vow renewal,” I assured him.

I don’t want anything fancy. I just want the moment back so that I can feel it all in full, and not only from those small details observed in my sick meditative state. I want my husband and I to recommit to ourselves and to celebrate my body’s renewed strength, even if it remains unpredictable.