No happy endings

If this was fiction, I'd write it with a happier ending, but there was no happy ending for Stephanie and I. We were pretty dang happy all along the way, though — almost to the end. That's what matters, I think.

If Stephanie had lived even a year longer, I think the ending would have been a bit happier. I'd be able to tell you that she'd battled the prosthetics company, and forced them to finally build her a leg she could walk with; that without the crippling pain of her misfit prosthetic she'd been able to resume practicing with her new improved leg, down the hall, then around the block, then around the park, and finally all around the city, until she'd left her wheelchair at home and walked everywhere. I'd be able to tell you that we'd gone dancing to celebrate her leggy liberation. Can't tell you any of that, though, since that's not at all what happened.

In real life, the bad guys won. The prosthetics-makers were paid thousands of dollars for building a leg Stephanie couldn't stand on, let alone walk on, and Steph spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair. The kidney crew that regularly subjected her to inhumane, degrading, and dangerous medical care were completely immune from criticism and consequence, and Stephanie ended up dead.

Of course, we all know that there are no happy endings in life. Any time there's a happy ending, even in novels or movies where some couple kisses and marries and lives happily ever after, that's only the moment where the author decided to stop the story. We close the book, but if the story continued then the people would grow old with aches and pains and one would die and the other would be devastated, or maybe one would develop kidney disease and never have a chance to grow old. Either way everyone's dead at the end. That's the human condition. There are no happy endings here on Earth.

If you're lucky, though — and Stephanie and I were very, very lucky — you can find some happiness before the end. That's what we did. All our happiness came before the story ended, but there's no denying that Stephanie and I were happy together, very happy, for a very long time. Yeah, that's what matters. She had less happiness than she deserved and I had more, but there were huge amounts of happiness for both of us. We had a pretty good run. And then we had an ending that was anything but happy. Same as everyone else.