When John was diagnosed with cancer shortly after we moved in together people said to me. “Well you have a fairly new relationship and now you are dealing with cancer too. How do you know where the relationship will go, and if it’s really OK?”
And when I thought about their questions I realized that, after a certain age, any time you enter a new relationship you are going to get a surprise—just like getting a prize in your Cracker Jack box. It might be stepchildren, bad credit, chronic illness, job dissatisfaction. It might be a crazy former spouse, or it might be cancer. It’s always something.
What seems to be crucial is that we can’t always separate the relationship from the things that come with it. Rather, it is about seeing those things as the factors you will deal with, or talk about, or maneuver around in the relationship. There is not “the relationship” and then also the cancer. It is folded together. Dealing with all of it is dealing with all of it.
We don’t know who discovered water but it certainly wasn’t the fish.