Ok, well, it is really not the simple. But it is really not that complicated either.
Let me explain…
I won’t go into too many details because it is not my place to do so, but I will tell you that the medical luck in my husband’s family rivals the luck in my family. But this post isn’t really about the medical issues as much as it is about my husband and his outlook on life. First, I need to explain a few details. For one, my husband is the youngest of four children. His mother was diagnosed with cancer when he was nine and passed away when he was 16. To him, she was sick in almost every memory he has of her. Secondly, my husband very rarely shows emotion. If something is wrong or potentially wrong with anyone in his immediate family his reaction is to block it out. So, it may seem that he would not be the ideal spouse for someone with a chronic illness. And furthermore, it absolutely seems like he is getting ripped off; a sick mom and now a sick wife. However, my husband is the most amazing partner. And as I discovered, his perspective on this whole situation is one that I am sure will surprise you.
As I am sure many of you understand, and can relate to, I feel guilty. I feel guilty that my husband got royally screwed in the wife department. I feel guilty for the sacrifices he is forced to make because of me. I feel guilty for all the time he has to spend taking care of me. I also feel guilty for the stupid things, like having to leave a restaurant after we get our drinks because, um, yeah, maybe it is a little too hot in here. But, you know what? That’s his job. Yep. He said it, and I agree. He promised, in front of God and family to be in this through it all. And his is. He knows I would do the same for him. So, that’s really not that surprising or crazy. The crazy part is the way he looks at the time I have to spend at home either resting, or sitting on the couch because of how I’m feeling. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he sees it the other way. He feels kinda lucky. I’m around. I’m around him. I’m around the kids. We are around each other. The time I spend on the couch is quality time I have with my family that I may not have if I were perfectly healthy. I think that is how he looked at his mother’s illness. Yes, she was sick, but she was home with him maybe more than she would have been if she wasn’t. He deals with his reality now the way he dealt with it when he was a kid, he looks at the bright side.
Some months are better than others for me. The past few have been pretty great and we’ve been able to do more. However, it is nice to know that when I can’t do what I wish I could, in his mind; he’s gaining, not losing.
So, what about the blocking out and shutting down? Well, that has its positives and negatives. When I was younger, and I had the flu, my mom, like most, checked on me constantly and brought me Popsicles and ice. Wellllllllll, let’s just say that now, when I’m upstairs in our room, with the flu, he’s not exactly banging down the door with a fist full of Popsicles. BUT, that is not because he doesn’t care. For one, when he is sick he doesn’t like to be bothered, so he doesn’t bother me. But secondly, when I’m MS sick, he doesn’t break down. He doesn’t get depressed. He doesn’t fall apart. He brings me ice for my skin and lets me rest. He takes care of the things I can’t and goes on about his day. THAT is the amazing part. If our roles were reversed I would be an emotional wreck. He handles it, because unfortunately or fortunately, that is what he is used to doing. He doesn’t dwell on anything negative about my medical situation. He just does what he can and moves on.
And some days I, like everyone, get kinda down on myself about my situation. And his response? At least you are here. At least you are here for the kids. At least you are here for me. You see, the kids don’t know how life is “supposed” to be. They have their reality, and to them, it’s a great one. (and that’s another post: Mom, Isn’t this the Best Day Ever?) They don’t know about everything I wish I could do with them, and that is ok.
According to my husband, he and the kids are not missing out on anything because they have the one thing they really need. They have love.
And so do I.