This article was featured on The Mighty.
What would you do to see your loved one better? How would you feel if you found out your wife had a serious chronic illness a few short years into married life? You’d see her in constant pain, but not be able to do anything about it.
What would you do? When you can’t afford the treatment required? When you wake up every morning to the face of someone who is ill? What would you tell her after the first year? After the second year? When you don’t see an end in sight? When you’re working as hard as you can at each job that comes your way?
When you’re exhausted coming home? When the sight of home makes you more exhausted? It’s up to you to finish whatever housework wasn’t completed – the dishes; the dinner; always the basics, no time for fun.
What would you do? When, despite her disabilities, she is caring for your child – a miracle, but a handful? When that child is a growing boy, looking up to you? You’re divided between family and work. Family needs you, but family needs you to make money.
What would you do?
Would you sell everything you have? The things that used to be your life, the things you hold sentimental value to? Would you take the crazy shift jobs? Would you work longer and harder than your body is meant to? Would you give up your dreams, even though you’re a dreamer? Would you become an expert in fields that don’t interest you? Would you work a twelve hour day outside the home, only to continue your work inside the home? Would you do all the grocery shopping, all the meal planning, all the cooking, all the cleaning, all the budgeting, all the [dot-dot-dot].
Would you set your mind to learning about her illness? Watch documentaries, read articles and books? Would you fight for her? Would you join her in her battles – big and small? Would you attend her appointments, acting as her chauffeur, secretary and errand-runner?
How would you feel, knowing she is largely misunderstood? When she smiles, it drives you crazy – because you know what’s really going on and you wish others could see too? Would you smile? Would you be honest? When you see or hear about people mistreating her, judging her and taking advantage of her, would you become outraged? Would you stand up for her when she can’t stand up for herself?
What would you do when you start to miss that special woman in your life? When she doesn’t look like the person you remember courting? When your time together now isn’t what it used to be? When you fight too much and kiss too little? When life becomes all about work and each day is more tiresome than the last? When you ask God for help and all you hear in return is silence? When you start to doubt: will she ever be better? Will things ever get easier? How much longer can you keep going on like this?
Would you see past the prisoner she has become, and remember the bride she was? Would you love her through her moodiness, sickness and ugliness?
Yes. Yes, you would. Because you are.
You are kind. You are brave. You are compassionate. You stand up for what’s right, no matter the cost. And even though this doesn’t feel right – no one in their right mind would ever wish this upon themselves – your dedication is right. Your commitment is right. Your love is right.
Thank you to my other half. Happy 30th Birthday. I love you.