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A Letter to the Man Who Loved Me When I Was Sick

I want to thank you, for making the hardest time in my life the best, simply because you were there throughout it.

I want to thank you for making me laugh until my stomach hurt and for holding my hair back when I threw up from chemo.

I want to thank you for all the times you did things you didn’t want to do, like taking me to pick up a walker from the medical supply store, or going to get my meds late at night. I want to thank you for making it all seem fun anyway, and like it was just a normal thing, not a weird, sick thing, like, “oh, hey babe, let’s go on a date to buy a walker today.”

I want to thank you for bringing me mac and cheese in bed on my bad days, and for always letting me watch my favorite shows to cheer me up, even if it was “Twilight,” over and over again.

I want to thank you for all the doctor appointments you came to and the times you held me while I cried, before, after or during, out of nerves, out of anger, out of sadness and fear. And, I want you to know that without you there, I don’t know how I would have gotten through it.

I want to thank you for making me feel beautiful, even on days when I maybe wasn’t so much – the days when I had a sloppy side pony tail with hairs sticking up this way and that, and dirty sweats, and my favorite cozy old jumper or some overalls on.

I want to thank you for showing me that it is my light that shines through, regardless of what’s going on in life – not what I look like, or what’s happening to me, or how much I can or can’t do.

woman lying on the couch wearing a mermaid tail blanket

I want to thank you for your patience and understanding when I wasn’t up for plans, and for being OK to take on the world alone anyway when I couldn’t come along.

I want to thank you for making the days when I did feel great extra special, because we both knew just how important they were.

I want to thank you for your patience, extreme kindness and care.

Your patience with the sickness, with everything it brought and the hardship and helplessness you must have felt.

Because you never showed it, not once.

You were strong, strong for me, strong for both of us.

You took it all in stride, and made me laugh along the way, so much so that it didn’t even seem like the bad times were bad. You made it all fun, and I was lucky to have your love.

I want to thank you, for being my special guy, for all these reasons, and all the ones I haven’t mentioned here too.

I am sorry, if my being sick hurt you in ways I cannot take back. I am sorry that we went through hard times because of my illness. And though I am sorry, I want you to know that I think they made the good times better, because we had those hard times too. We were more grateful, for each other and for the things we earned in life because we knew just how easily they could be taken away.

I am sorry it wasn’t like in the movies, like “Love and Other Drugs,” with Anne Hathaway, where she is barely ever sick, and has barely any bad days. Because, that’s not what love and illness is really like. It’s hard, and there are challenges, and I’d be lying if I said it was all smiles and mac and cheese in bed or all good days out at the movies and pizza nights with friends.

I could write you a novel about how much my life with illness was made better by you, and by being with you, but, I set out to write a letter, and to say thank you.

Thank you for helping me prepare for my surgery. Thank you for painting my cane with skulls, instead of the butterflies that came on it, because I thought it was too girly. Thank you for making me laugh, instead of cry, over and over. Thank you for making me feel like a real girl, in times when I felt far from it. Thank you for making me feel sexy when I had puke in my hair, and thank you for showing me and teaching me that there is more to life than my illness.

woman holding her cane with skulls painted on it

Thank you to all the men who love the women who are ill – you are the warriors alongside us, whom sometimes we forget to thank, and I’m writing to thank you for everything you do. Without you, we wouldn’t be able to fight our fight… and everything you do, the extra dishes, tucking us up in a blanket after we fall asleep in front of the TV, running a bath, all of it – it all matters, and we are grateful.

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Photo via Hybrid Images on Getty Images