Last week, my wife faced big surgery — a total hysterectomy and related repair work. Elaine had put it off until after our travels, and it was clearly time. There were lots of relatives praying for her all over the world, and she felt well prepared and blessed.

Elaine’s hospital admission was pre-arranged so we went directly to the pre-op area where she put on that ridiculous hospital gown, and we waited. She wanted me to do a trance induction to help her participate fully in a positive outcome. We enclosed ourselves with those flimsy hanging curtains; I sat by her side and, like every good therapist, went into my own trance. Whenever you let your unconscious mind soar, you open up a channel to hearing and seeing things in a new way.

Holding her hand, I felt her spirit so intensely, and when I placed my other hand on her uterus, I saw the birthplace of our children. I told her I saw their faces and watched them grow up, literally, before my eyes . . . my fingers were tingling. I could feel my tears bubbling, long before they dropped silently onto my cheeks. My voice must have quavered because Elaine opened her eyes, and she was crying too.

We hugged each other, and I rambled on in trance that she was only giving up the place where our kids entered our lives. They are still around, we have a crop of new ones, and we’re by ourselves and still like being together. Can you imagine 45 years with the same person? (I can’t even imagine God having such an expectation.) It’s incredulous to me. We have survived, indeed thrived, together in life’s struggles: raising kids, facing disease, near-death experience, philosophical differences, and finding room to grow even if it meant exploring different spiritual paths. What saved us? We laughed a lot — a lot. Our kids laugh at us now. We have liked and respected each other always, and it’s never been boring.

Elaine put her finger to her lips, wiped my tears and said, “We’re so blessed to be here. This is how we began . . . no kids, no dogs, and the doctor says you’ll be happy with the kids’ room renovation.”