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Vegas, Baby

jencullenvegasrenewalelvis

Graceland Chapel, Las Vegas Strip, November 18, 2016

“How ‘bout that ride in?” – Alan Garner (Zach Galifianakis), The Hangover

I don’t write too much about my husband. He’s not on social media. He doesn’t have a Facebook page. He hasn’t read much that I’ve written in the past 10 months. He doesn’t need to because he’s been living it with me. Every step of the way.

Back in June, when I was halfway done with chemo, we decided to look forward and plan a trip. A trip to celebrate our ten year wedding anniversary. Something almost six months in the future.

I’ve never been married for ten years, though I’ve been married before.

We decided to plan a trip to Las Vegas. Really a no brainer. Right?

And now, it’s here. We got up at 3:00 am and we’re on the plane. He’s snoring in the seat next to me and I’m drinking my second cup of coffee.

The last time I was in Vegas was 11 months ago, for my 50th birthday. The best fucking birthday ever. The memory that I’ve held on to so tightly as I’ve been going through this debacle that is cancer.

Las Vegas was the first place that Fred and I traveled to together. Back in 2004. Eons ago.

Las Vegas is the place that we go to at least once a year. Usually more. We hike the mountains. We hike the desert. We explore neighborhoods and grocery stores and restaurants. We sleep in the comfortable beds of the Wynn and are embraced by the people there.

So that’s where we’re headed. Like I said, a no brainer.

It’s been one hell of a year for us. Lots of grieving over loved ones lost. Plowing our way through cancer, from diagnosis to treatment and everything in between. And so much more. Our kids, all three of them, have had a tough, tough year. They’ve proven themselves to be resilient, just like their parents. We will all be okay.

But I wanted to celebrate with Fred. He’s gotten kind of the short end of the stick with all of this. And it’s time to turn my attention on to him and on us. And on our ten years together. I won’t lie. It hasn’t been easy. We’ve had our moments. A few of them. But we always end up on the right side, together. And I couldn’t have made it through as strong and emerged on the other side as healthy, without him. Our whole family owes him more than anyone will ever know.

I owe him more than anyone will ever know. The “sickness” part of the whole “in sickness and in health” thing is not for the faint of heart. Or body, mind and spirit.

So on November 18th, almost to the hour of when we first said, “I do,” we’ll say it again. In front of Elvis, in a little chapel on Las Vegas Boulevard. I’ll be wearing the dress I wore when we got married the first time. He’ll be wearing a Ralph Lauren Ultrasuede jacket that we found at Goodwill last week for $20.00.

And we’ll celebrate each other. And for a brief period of time, the world around us will stand still. It will be just me and Fred.

And Elvis.

I can’t wait.

jencullengracelandchapel

Yes, that is the same dress I wore in 2006!

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