When I Reaffirmed My Vow With My Husband Who Has a Heart Defect

I love and am loved by my husband who has a congenital heart defect. This has led to other physical complications and will ultimately result in a heart and lung transplant.

To say this has been a journey is quite an understatement. It has been exhilarating, terrifying, exciting, sad, happy and every emotion in between. For a while we lived with the fact that he would pass one day, most likely sooner than many. That was a horrible place to wake up to every day. Right now, we’re living in the day-to-day joys of what “mundane” we can find in our life.

I chose to spend my life with him through sickness and in health, but I had no idea what that meant at the time. We all come to points in our lives where we have to make a choice. I had to look at those vows and look at him and tell him — with full conviction — I still meant what I said 10 years ago. I really meant through sickness and health. I meant it.

This means being in and out of the hospital. This means taking a day off work so I can help care for the baby because he’s too tired. It means understanding that he wants to help, but sometimes he just can’t.

It’s really hard to describe to the general community. I found there are few people who can truly relate. I believe God has brought people into my life who understand my situation. They’re my cheerleaders in the middle of the night when I’m worried he’s retaining water yet again. It meant I had to work full time rather than be the stay-at-home mom I was planning to be because he physically can’t work full time.

It means watching him get let go from jobs because they don’t understand his condition, and he can’t keep up with the work. Watching him wanting to provide for his family while having to accept disability as a form of payment. Raising three young children and showing them that even though they’re scared when Daddy is sick, we believe we have a God we can go to and find joy, peace and true happiness.

That’s what I’ve learned most about this terrifying, exhilarating, exciting adventure. Look for the joy in this life. This world can seem broken and sad and sick, but we can still find joy and true happiness in the rubble.

Here’s what I would tell my loved ones about being a caretaker. I love that I have a man who truly loves me and would give his life for me and my kids. He is a godly man and is raising our children with morals and character. In the end, we have no idea how long any of us will be here. We can live in the fear of death, or we can live vivaciously in the life we have now.

For us, this means hiring a friend to help clean the house so we can spend the evening at Disney World. And eating dinner together as a family at night, talking about our days and when we were little. Letting Grandma and Grandpa take the kids so we can have precious alone time even if it means sitting on the couch laughing at reruns of “The Office.”

Maybe he wasn’t put on this Earth to be an amazing salesman or elite businessman, but he’s leaving a legacy with our three children, which, quite possibly, will become three families in the future. Families who will carry on the legacy their father passed on to them. I want my family to see the strong, courageous, joyful man I have the privilege to love and care for. Till death do us part.

The Mighty is asking the following: What do you want your past, current or future partner to know about being with someone with your disability, disease or mental illness? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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