I believe my gay marriage was one of the happiest marriages any couple has ever had, even though we faced great adversities together. Separately, those challenges would have destroyed each of us. I am alive because I had my life partner to live for until I finally got the right diagnosis and treatment at the very brink of death. And she had a much longer life with multiple sclerosis, paralysis, and then quadriplegia, than she would have had without me. For both of us, those 20-plus years were the happiest of our lives.
I met Margaret Ardussi on June 30, 1984, when I traveled from my home in Silver Spring, Maryland, to Fairfield, Iowa, for a world peace assembly for yogic flyers. I had arranged to stay in the house of a lesbian couple where she was renting a room. Within a day, I felt like I’d carried her image in my heart all my life and at last I had found her. I knew she was the love of my life. I was 30 and an unemployed writer. She was 43, a genius artist and highly regarded teacher of the transcendental meditation technique, who had been diagnosed four years earlier with multiple sclerosis when she became too disabled to work.
By the fourth day I knew I wanted to marry her and spend the rest of my life with her. I only hesitated in this intention for an hour to reflect on the challenges we would face due to her MS. Then I decided to trust the flood of love I felt for her. To have rejected her for any reason would have torn the heart out of my chest.
I spent every minute I could with Margaret getting to know her and falling more and more in love. This was made somewhat easier by the fact that God smote my car before I was accepted in the course. A friend paid my way, but I had no car to go to all the meetings, so Margaret and I would hitchhike to the flying hall in the morning and evening and we spent most afternoons together.
When the course was over, I went back to Silver Spring and she visited her parents in Issaquah, Washington, so a dentist friend could exchange the mercury fillings in her teeth for composite ones — something that was thought to cure MS at the time. I continued to court her with beautifully typed letters, mix tapes, and phone calls. To reassure Margaret that I loved her just the way she was, MS and all, I read a couple of books about multiple sclerosis so I could prove to her I knew what I was volunteering for.