What Is My Husband Thinking as He Looks at His Chronically Ill Wife?


What is he thinking?

As I walk down that aisle to say “I do,” what is he thinking?

As he deploys for the first time, what is he thinking?

As he looks at our firstborn son, what is he thinking?

As he says goodbye to his pregnant wife as he deploys again, what is he thinking?

As he hears over the phone in a war zone that there are complications with the pregnancy, what is he thinking?

As he sees his daughter for the first time, what is he thinking?

As he returns to the war front, saying goodbye to his newborn daughter and toddler son, what is he thinking?

As he receives a Red Cross message in Afghanistan saying his wife, in Germany, is blind and has a brain tumor, what is he thinking?

As he waits in that waiting room during his wife’s brain surgery, that is taking longer than expected, what is he thinking?

As she wakes up from surgery and can see again, what is he thinking?

As he struggles to care for his kids and help his wife recover, what is he thinking?

As he watches his wife recover, but never truly become herself again, what is he thinking?

As the years go by and his wife’s health gets poorer and poorer, what is he thinking?

As he wakes up extra every morning to help his wife get out of bed, what is he thinking?

As he helps her walk to the shower, only to watch her collapse in her shower chair, what is he thinking?

As she yells out in pain, and being unsuccessful in holding back her tears, what is he thinking?

As she goes to doctor after doctor without any definitive diagnosis, what is he thinking?

As she get discouraged and expresses that she doesn’t want to be a burden, what is he thinking?

As he holds her as she cries in his arms, what is he thinking?

As he kisses her forehead, and reassures her it will all be OK, what is he thinking?

As he hears the doctor say there is no cure and no treatment that seems to be helping, what is he thinking?

Is he sad? Frustrated? Silently happy? Thinking of leaving? Compassionate? Understanding?

We may never know what he really feels, as he holds his emotions in and puts on a jolly, laughing façade. He is the stronghold. He is the provider. He won’t shed tears. He won’t admit defeat. He is her strength, but he is also suffering.

When she can’t get out of bed in the mornings, does he get frustrated or concerned? Does silent anger consume his emotions more, or compassion and helplessness?

Some days she can tell he is upset with her. It is perceived that he thinks she isn’t trying, when in reality, her worst days are the days she’s fighting the hardest.

She’s fighting anger, frustration, and sadness of being trapped in an unhealthy body. She’s fighting her guilt that she has to call into work again; the guilt of not being able to help with the kids; the guilt of not being able to cook, clean, or do anything but sleep.

Some days she feels like she doesn’t want to go on, and her family would be better unhindered without her weighing them down. However, her family is the exact reason she pushes on.

Does he see these feelings in her eyes? Can he tell she feels like that? What is he thinking?

So many times in life she has wondered how she is truly affecting his life. Is he satisfied in life? Is he where he wants to be in life? Is she still just as perfect in his eyes as when they fell in love?

Some days, she just looks at him and tries to read his expression, but to no avail. She may never know, and will forever ask herself… What is he thinking?

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo by Jupiter Images


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