In Sickness and In Health
The internet is abuzz with the Washington Post story about B. Smith, her husband Dan Gasby, and his girlfriend. Yep, you read that right… his girlfriend. Now before you start thinking this is the latest installment of Love & Hiphop, know that I am talking about the B. Smith. Model, restaurateur, interior designer, and all things stylish… 69-year-old Barbara “B” Smith.
Let me bring you up to speed. Several years ago, B. and Dan announced her battle with Alzheimer’s. Anyone that has watched a loved one deal with advanced dementia, Alzheimer’s or any long term illness knows that this decline is taxing on all involved. Not only is it taxing, it is tiring, all encompassing, and turns your entire world upside down. Alzheimer’s isn’t a quick fade to black. This is a multiple year decline. The Smith-Gasby’s have been dealing with this illness for more than six years.
So when Dan posted on the socials that he was seeing someone now and it wasn’t his wife, the web went will (well, he didn’t break the internet but there have been several items posted and I am writing this piece). And there are many layers to this and many questions. Can he still care for his wife while seeing someone else? Would it make a difference if the girlfriend was black? (In case you didn’t know, she is white.) Is he being selfish? Does this make him an adulterer? Is the girlfriend a side chick/mistress? But most importantly, what happened to “in sickness and health”?
I am not casting judgement. I honestly am not weighing in. I vividly remember the 2008 story of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and her husband’s battle with the disease. Once her husband had to live in an assisted living facility, he started seeing someone else. The life he lived with Sandra was erased from his memory and he started a new romance. Was he cheating? Was it different because he didn’t know he was married?
Honestly, I don’t know what I would do in either situation - Dan’s or Sandra’s. Chris, my hubs, is no where near as ill as B. I can attest to how lonely it is dealing with a serious illness. Every decision, trip to the store, vacation, and date night is framed around how it affects your spouse. You spend a lot of time sitting in the house watching Ridiculousness and if you are hyper like me there are times when it drives you nuts. So, I don’t know if I can judge or weigh in on Dan and his girlfriend. Love is hard. Aging is hard. Navigating illness is hard. Putting all three together is all damn near impossible. So let me just wish Dan the best and get back to Rob Dyrdek on MTV.