Memories of My Late Husband Marvin Spieler
By Sharon Spieler
Meeting My Soulmate at the Age of 51
What can I say about the most wonderful man I ever met? I called him “my sweet man” and he called me his “wifey.” He had a heart of gold. Marvin was kind, gentle, caring and intelligent.
Marvin came into my life as a surprise. I did not make dating easy for him because I was not looking for a relationship. I had three very disappointing relationships with men in my youth and had given up on any possibility of finding Mr. Right. I did not pick up on any of Marvin's signals, being clueless that he was interested in me.
We met at an empowerment meeting run by my psychiatrist in January 2003 where we were given the chance to talk. I found out that we had a lot in common. He had an emotionally disabled mother and I had a physically disabled mother. He grew up in the projects as did I. We both liked to write and we both liked history and politics.
Marvin said he was very impressed with me because he thought that I was intelligent and expressed myself well. He came to the February and March meetings just to see me again, but I did not show. I came back to a meeting in April and afterward, Marvin asked if I would drive him to the train station. I agreed. The business card he gave me said, “Marvin Spieler, Director of Consumer Speakers' Bureau, Mental Health Association of New York City.” He told me to call him any time. However, I am from the old school and will not make the first call to a man no matter how much I liked him.
In May we met again at the empowerment meeting. He was taking no chances this time and asked me for my telephone number. He called me that week and we arranged our first date at Battery Park. I had a great time.
At the age of 51, I finally met the man I was looking for my entire life, a man I admired, and who shared my interests. This man was clearly my soulmate as he was easy to talk to and we had a lot in common. We became inseparable for the next thirteen years until his passing on March 23, 2016.
I was aware of Marvin's existence even before I met him. It was the year 1999 or 2000 and I was in treatment for depression. I mentioned to my psychiatrist that I always wanted to write for a newspaper. She told me about City Voices, the newspaper written by and published for mental health consumers. My doctor happened to have copies of City Voices in her waiting room and I read Marvin's column “As I See It” and noted his title “Editor at Large.”
I was very proud of Marvin and impressed with him because of his accomplishments despite having a psychiatric disability to contend with. Marvin taught me so much. He was my own personal peer specialist. He helped me not only by being my boyfriend and later my husband, he introduced me to his friends in the mental health community and the recovery movement, which I never knew existed. I did not know that recovery from mental illness was even possible. He knew so many people, was on so many boards, and was constantly looking for ways to spread the word about recovery.
His favorite slogan was that a person needed, at the very least, “a home, a job and a friend” in order to lead a satisfying life. He certainly helped me to achieve these things. He turned my apartment into a home when he married me. I held three jobs with him: wife; administrative assistant as I typed his speeches, his column in City Voices and his monthly statistics for his Speakers' Bureau; and circulation manager in charge of the bulk subscriptions for City Voices. He served as City Voices' business manager in addition to being a columnist. Lastly, Marvin was my best friend, husband, and soulmate. I will keep him in my heart forever. May he rest in peace.
Note: You can read Marvin's many columns in City Voices here: http://www.nycvoices.org/marvin_spieler_column.php