By Patricia Florio
THINGS FALL INTO perspective when the one you love has been stricken by illness. Ralph and I celebrated our 40th anniversary this past January 2012. A few days later my husband prepared for his ninth infusion of chemotherapy. We’re counting down, three more to go. Then what?
We’re hoping the oncologist will say, “That’s it, you’re done,” and life will continue as usual. But will life really continue as usual? We’re aware that there will be blood tests, CAT scans, building up his immune system with vitamin B12 infusions, and those types of additional treatments for at least five years. We just don’t know what will happen. But then again, neither does anyone else, whether you have cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or some other form of illness. So we’re thinking of making this Valentine’s Day and every day that follows special and important, celebrating one another and the devotion we have for each other.
Ralph is my strength. We shared a career together for almost twenty years. We drove to work in Brooklyn and worked for some of the same judges as their court reporters. We’ve always had things to talk about even though we spent 24 hours a day together. That’s one of the many questions our children ask us: “What do you and Dad have to talk about after all these years?” It is amazing that we still do have lengthy conversations, sometimes about our court work, sometimes about a novel that we’ve listened to driving back and forth to work, now a bit closer than Brooklyn, to the courthouse in Newark, as I still fill in for him as his transcriber. We even talk about politics and religion, the two topics that can cause a rift in humankind.
It’s obvious to everyone that Ralph and I love one another. But more importantly, Ralph and I like one another. From the first day I met him he possessed an inner spirit of a strong, but tender man, not afraid to show his feminine side. And after forty plus years together he hasn’t changed one iota: he is still a gentle kind likable man.
My wish this Valentine’s Day for all of you lovers out there: take a good look at the woman or the man you love; time is of the essence. Enjoy one another to the fullest.
Ocean Grove resident Patricia Florio is the author of a memoir, “My Two Mothers.”
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