Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me...

I've had some terrific experiences in my life.

When I was a high school senior, late one night my friends and I broke into Shea Stadium, which until recently had been the home of the New York Mets. Under the cover of darkness, we sat in the stadium's clubhouses and dugouts, and ran around the very same base paths trod by our baseball heroes.

During my fifth ever round of golf, I hit a hole-in-one on a short par three hole.

In 1994, I won $14,000 in the Florida lottery.

But as memorable as these events have been, by far the best thing to ever happen to me is named Karen.

By some unfathomable stroke of good fortune, this incredible woman is somehow my wife. She is beautiful and kind, smart and funny, endlessly patient and relentlessly upbeat. Karen is simply a good soul. Despite my illness, the balance sheet of my life will forever be in the black because it includes her, a credit so positive that it far outweighs any debits that have or ever will come my way.

Of course, nobody is perfect. Much to my chagrin, Karen doesn't enjoy Godzilla movies. She's not that crazy about zombie movies, either, especially right before bedtime. (note to self: great idea for screenplay-"Godzombie")

Don't let anybody ever tell you that it's impossible to meet a great person in a bar, or that the only thing you are likely to pick up in a pub at 4 AM will doubtless require medical attention. I can happily report that both of those pieces of conventional wisdom have been proved wrong, as Karen and I did indeed meet in the early morning hours at a neighborhood saloon, an establishment that neither of us normally frequented. Call it coincidence or kismet, but in the unlikeliest of places I found the stuff that dreams are made of.

Karen and I married, as they say, "later in life", tying the knot in our late 30s. Just around the time of our first anniversary, I was diagnosed with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. It would have been perfectly understandable if Karen had decided that this was simply too much to deal with and had taken a powder; it certainly wasn't what she signed up for. I was stuck with the illness, but Karen could have opted out, and I often wonder if I would have been as brave and steadfast at the news had the roles been reversed.

Since that unhappy moment, her devotion has been inspirational. She's been by my side through every doctor's appointment and frightening medical procedure, has quite literally picked me off the ground physically and lifted me up emotionally, and has done it all with strength, humor, and grace.

The rest of the world sees a kooky and funny and sometimes intrepid Wheelchair Kamikaze; Karen lives with the human being who struggles daily with the despair that comes with progressive illness, who tries his best to keep an even keel through the storm, but often falters. She is my anchor and my light, my comforter and my guide, my lover and my friend.

When in moments of darkness I ponder whether there is order and justice to the universe, whether we are all alone or guided by some unseen hand, I have only to look to Karen to see that there is reason for faith.

To borrow a line from Brian Wilson, God only knows where I'd be without her...


  1. Hi,

    A beautiful story thanks for sharing it.

    I too am fortunate to have a partner who is my rock.

    He is the love of my life and my best friend.

    Hope you and your lovely Karen are having a good Easter Sunday.



  2. Marc,

    You are lucky and we really enjoyed the article and the videos. I am glad you paid props to the Cleveland Browns O-line. Since you came from the rear of the O-line, they technically did a great job breaking you free. Hope you had a great Easter!

    Take care

    Mark with a K

  3. Marc and Karen, you are continually in my prayers. You are both wonderful people! (Marc, I sent you something in your e-mail)

  4. What a wonderful love story. Thank you for sharing. Karen is indeed a beautiful woman, inside and out.

    I have an incredible partner too. It is a wonderful gift. I always remember what a treasure he is, I certainly tell him often.

    BTW, nice to see more than Karen's blue coat. lol.

  5. You sound like two people who fit together so perfectly. Thanks for sharing your beautiful love story, and may you continue to be richly blessed.

  6. That was a lovely tribute to your beautiful wife. You sound like a great team.

    re: "(note to self: great idea for screenplay-"Godzombie")" I prefer "Zombzilla."

  7. This was a beautiful tribute to your beautiful wife, Karen, who I have the privelege to know and am amazed by her strength and demeanor.

  8. To find a friend and companion who you can rely on and trust, is a great gift. But to find these these qualities in the person that you love, escapes description, words alone can not express the feelings within your heart and soul. If it is possible, I hope that your relationship with Karen, only grows stronger with time.

  9. kicker (AKA Anonymous)

    It was wonderful to see more of Karen than her blue coat. She is beautiful.

    I like Zombzilla best too. Don't go to movies but definately would rent DVD.

    Looked at your pictures, like your look at NY.

  10. Thanks for all of the kind comments, folks. Karen really is terrific, and I'm a very lucky guy.

    Hmmmmm, two votes for Zombzilla, and none for Godzombie. I'm so torn...

  11. Wow, that was so touching. You and Karen are blessed to have each other.

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  13. OK - now I'm gonna cry - how beautiful.
    Ivy2 at NT

  14. Hey Kamikaze! i got here because i am looking for mobility options. im a para and can walk with braces and a walker. im 47 and my disability is result of accident 4 yrs. ago. i am trying to figure out how i'll have the stamina to work which i must do to support myself and my 8 yr old daughter. goal is to teach. am on track except for the stamina issue. im looking for solutions. back to wheelchair is certain because walking in the braces is so exhausting and can't carry much with a walker. now must decide how to manage. these are complex issues as you know. thanks for being an inspiration. we are HUGE! it's just the damned packaging that's failing. glad to be having my moment of life in the 21st cent. so at least i can get around! best wishes. K.

  15. H0w cool to read about someone who with his partner can make things work. When I was married to my high school sweetheart and hd 3 children, I was diagnoed with MS that after two relapses that has become progressive. I have now been married 37 years to this same great guy who still calls me sweetie. He is at my side through all my medical treatments and all our fun rock n roll concerts. I would not chose this, but sometimes being in a wheelchair has great advantages. And as they say, laughter is the best medicine.

  16. I think, in a past life (see previous comment on other post), I must have abandoned my spouse when s/he got sick. (That is, if I believe in past lives.) Now I'm the MS patient, with the husband I can't even believe I'm lucky enough to have. I, sadly, know if the shoe was reversed I would not be the good person he is. Hope that doesn't mean I have to redo this life again.