March 30, 2014, my wife began to squint a bit while sitting next to me. Our typical routine each night is to spend some time together, side by side, sitting on the couch… typically with laptops open and something interesting on the TV. Little did I know that this evening would be the last night for a long time, that she would be able to have a clear mind.
It’s been a little over 3.5 months since my wife got sick. Looking back at our facebook streams, the morning of March 30th, she had made pancakes… bacon and eggs. We shared a pot of coffee and it was an amazing morning. By that night though, she was feeling ill and we cancelled our broadcast of AkaLife (don’t worry… it’s coming back soon). From that day on, she’s been sick.
I simply can’t express how… hard it’s been on her. Seeing her go from glowing bright red with life, vibrant happiness and joy to being in pain every waking moment (and while sleeping too), exhaustion, fatigued and confusion is just heartbreaking. You guys have got to understand. This is the strongest woman that I know. Her pain threshold is through the freaking roof. Watching her go through labor and birth with our youngest with ZERO pain meds was a site to behold.
But what happens when the woman you love, the one you’ve invested your life in and plan on seeing the rest of your days with simply starts to lose her strength? There’s only so much fight one person can put forth consistently without a break. We’ve been to the ER 4 times, a Neurologist twice, one primary care doc that didn’t listen to my wife prompting us to switch to a new one that HOPEFULLY will listen. But still, there has been no reprieve.
Daily I can see her energy draining. Sure we have days were she’s peppy and smiling through the pain but that’s just it… it’s smiling THROUGH the pain. Our lovely, rambunctious kids try to watch their noise level but sometimes, kids will be kids and they just can’t contain themselves. It’s understandable and I try my best to lovingly remind them to keep it down a bit. But I still see her getting more and more fatigued as the days go on. She’s trying. She’s a fighter. And she’s everything to me.
So that brings me to my role. As a spouse, my role is that of the primary support system. The one that notices when her strength is waning and rushes over to take her arm and wrap it around my shoulder so I can lift her up. To provide for her the things that she needs, including the ones she doesn’t realize she needs. Being that I don’t work from home any longer, it’s made doing this a little more difficult than it used to.
2 years ago, she had surgery which essentially laid her flat on her back (well, on the couch because laying was too painful). I was working from home so that allowed me to be able to help around the house, be available at a moments notice and attend the her like a caring physician. I try my best to make it so she never has to look at a dish after meals, that clothes get washed/dried (ahem… I forget clothes in the washer sometimes… leave me alone), the kids are washed and in bed on time… and that we get some down time before going to bed. I make sure that she takes whatever meds are prescribed and that the environment is as comfortable as possible. Something as simple as bringing up the chapstick if she’s forgotten it downstairs when she’s headed off to bed… these are the little things that help.
I literally just asked myself what the purpose of this post really is. Is it self gratification? Am I patting myself on the back? No. I know exactly what the purpose is. It’s a reminder. Reminder of what this woman means to me. What life with her means. The fact that living with and FOR this woman is what makes life worth living all in itself. The story of “us” is not complete yet… there are many many chapters left for us and I am using this as a reminder that the best is yet to come for us. She’s my biggest cheerleader and I would be doing her an enormous disservice by not giving my absolute best support. I know she would (and HAS) done the same for me and will do it again in a heartbeat if and when I need it.
There’s a song that I listen too almost daily. It’s called “Mine Could Be You” by Blake Shelton. There’s a portion of the song that says:
What’s your double dare, your go all in?
The craziest thing you ever did?
Plain as your name in this tattoo
Look on my arm, mine would be you
This is how I live. This is how I love. We took a crazy leap of faith when it comes to how we A. Came together and B. live our lives. Those that know of our hijinks (moving on a whim, starting our own business, etc), you know we go all in with everything we do. And even that second part about the tattoo, my arm has this wonderful woman… a tribute if you will, there. And I’m going to stay strong, stay focused, and take care of my family, taking care of my wife…
Thinking about how we are coping with her being sick… and just like Hank Moody in the last moments of Californication… I’m not sure how to end this but I’ll leave you with one of his final quotes:
…As long as there’s you, and there’s me, and there’s hope, and grace…
She will get better and we can get through this… together.