In our state, we will be voting a referendum on whether same sex couples will have the right to marry. My church's denomination has been a big advocate for marriage equality, and yesterday we sang this song in hopes of the referendum's success tomorrow.
What struck me this time, again, was how intrinsically linked are the right to marry and the legacy we leave after we die. As the song goes:
... The only measure of your words and your deeds Will be the love you leave behind when you're done
(The rest of the lyrics and the credit are at the bottom of this post)
After all, Gavin and I married in the shadow of death, nine years before he died. After complications from a heart valve replacement, he had several dangerous cardiac incidents and we thought he might die... it was in that light that I felt it was important to bind my life to his in that public and peculiar way we call marriage. (I had never, I don't think, figured I'd marry.) But leaving a record was important.
Eight years later as we endured multiple hospitalizations fighting kidney cancer, I found another reason the marriage certificate matters -- without it, I would not be allowed to visit ICUs. I saw five ICUs in those 22 months and he could easily have died in one (we moved to hospice at the last minute -- four days).
How much more unbearable would that time have been -- and afterward -- if we'd not had the right to marry?
So I learned first, that marriage does matter, and second, marriage is an essential right. I hope if you live in a state where similar initiatives are up, that you'll consider supporting marriage equality. You know how I like to say that "we widows 'get it!' "
Everything Possible Words and Music by Fred Small Copyright 1983 Pine Barrens Music (BMI)
We have cleared off the table, the leftovers saved Washed the dishes and put them away I have told you a story and tucked you in tight At the end of your knockabout day As the moon sets its sails to carry you to sleep Over the midnight sea I will sing you a song no one sang to me May it keep you good company
You can be anybody you want to be You can love whomever you will You can travel any country where your heart leads And know I will love you still
You can live by yourself, you can gather friends around You can choose one special one And the only measure of your words and your deeds Will be the love you leave behind when you're done
There are girls who grow up strong and bold There are boys quiet and kind Some race on ahead, some follow behind Some go in their own way and time Some women love women, some men love men Some raise children, some never do You can dream all the day never reaching the end Of everything possible for you
Don't be rattled by names, by taunts, by games But seek out spirits true If you give your friends the best part of yourself They will give the same back to you
You can be anybody you want to be You can love whomever you will You can travel any country where your heart leads And know I will love you still You can live by yourself, you can gather friends around You can choose one special one And the only measure of your words and your deeds Will be the love you leave behind when you're done.