There was a story in the Washington Post last week about love lost and found again. This beautiful love story is about a couple who each have a disability - When Bill Met Shelley: No Disability Could Keep Them Apart.
Shelley says, of the first time they met, “You know that scene in ‘Dirty Dancing’ where Baby meets Johnny for the first time? It was kind of like that.”
Like any couple they've had to learn how to live with someone else. Bill had been living with a couple of guys in an apartment when he and Shelley reconnected. Two years later they moved in together and Bill said, “Getting used to living with Shel was a big trial for me, ... It was a big transition for me, because I was living with guys. Guys
watch sports. Guys watch TV. What guys do is what guys do. They watch TV
in their underwear. Now I know to keep my pants on.” Haha! Finding their way together.
As I imagine is true with any love story, there are some challenges and sadness too.
They had a commitment ceremony with a priest and rabbi, but they are not legally married. As much as they are in love with each other and want to be married, they can't because Shelley's health insurance could be jeopardized if she married. But for all who were involved, their ceremony was considered an official wedding.
Then there is the topic of children. Bill and Shelley decided that Bill would have a vasectomy. (Side note: I've always read that males with Down syndrome are sterile and can't have children. I wondered if Bill had an analysis done before undergoing this procedure.)
Bill does mourn the loss of children they'll never have. “I’m such a loving person,” he says,... “I have so much love to
give. Shelley is such a loving person. And fatherhood is such a big
thing to me.” He knows they are a family though, the two of them, and says the best part is to “live with a woman who I’ve loved ever since I met her.”
I thought this was such a well-written article about the intricacies of being in, and maintaining, a relationship when you have a disability. A friend hit the nail on the head when she described the writer's tone as 'respectful.' I agree - it was written with respect for Bill and Shelley as individuals, and as a couple.
I wish them much happiness in the years to come.