My Husband is home from work today, burning through a vacation day early in the year. Selfishly, I love waking up and having him here, but he isn’t here so we can go off doing fun things or going on vacation. He’s here because today, as many other days, he woke up with terrible anxiety about leaving me here alone.
We married in 2008 with plans and goals; dreams for the future. We bought a house and settled in raising the kids. Until those plans and goals went awry with my getting sick. So here we are, 11 years later and those old dreams, they’ve been put by the wayside-changed like me.
He bustles around the house taking care of long overdue projects. With working, full-time school, taking care of his wife and pitching in around the house, he hardly has time for projects. Yet happily, he bustles around the house, today, doing so.
Mid-day, his anxiety is confirmed. When getting off the couch, my foot suddenly becomes paralyzed. Horrible pain tears through it, the pins and needles only mildly lessening the pain. Unable to move my foot, put it down or stand on it, I collapse, calling out for him. I have just successfully sprained my ankle. Yay me. It wouldn’t be a year if I didn’t have a good fall.
For the remainder of the day, I sit with my foot propped up on pillows and minimize any activity. I seriously didn’t need anything else to limit my already diminished activity (eye rolls here).
Such is this, our new life. My Husband is no longer my friend, partner and lover; he’s also become my caregiver at only 44. And I absolutely cherish him for it.
Our love is one of the very few things that keeps me going day in and day out. I cannot imagine doing any of this with anyone else, or that anyone else would have the patience and demeanor to do so with me. And it hasn’t always been easy. The tolls of this chronic life has brought our marriage to it’s knees twice now. Financial ruin, loss of family and friends, a massive shift in responsibilities and lifestyle has twice proved to be a lot on our marriage and we crumbled in the strain. Yet here we stand, almost 11 years later; ever stronger from overcoming that strain and proving that true love really does conquer all, including devastating illness.
So to my Husband, Father to my Children, my life, my love; it is long overdue to pay homage to you and all you do.
Many men could and would not still be here-I never take that for granted. I try to always be cognizant of all he does and all he has sacrificed. I’m thankful to never feel resented or that I am less because of illness beyond my control.
I am often riddled with guilt; guilt over getting and being sick and never being able to get well again. I feel guilty for having a life now, that is no comparison to all we planned or hoped for. I am guilty I cannot do what I want or hope to on most days. But most of all, I’m wracked with guilt that I have become what he grew up with; a sick wife, whose Husband has to do everything. His growing up with his Mom constantly ill, left an indelible mark on his soul. And yet, never once has he ever made me feel guilty, lashed out at my being sick or been frustrated that perhaps my illness is just laziness. Not once. The guilt I harbor is all of my own doing.
So today, as he happily buzzes around tending to the house, his music playing as he goes about, I want to thank him and recognize him for all he does.
Thank you for being my love, my life, my partner, my friend, my caregiver.
I appreciate everything and all you do.
I am grateful that you never lash out, admonish me or get angry over our circumstances.
Thank you for carrying me up and down our stairs, cooking for us, babysitting while I attempt to shower, holding my hand when the pain and frustration proves too much, endlessly watching tv (which you hate) with me, doing a large share of taking care of the kids when I couldn’t, going to all the Doctors; time and again, making me laugh when all I could do was cry and giving me my reason to live.
This chronic life is *not for the faint of heart.
Instead, it is for a man like my Husband and I could never feel more love or gratitude to have him by my side.