To My Husband: Thank You for Loving and Supporting Me Through My Health Struggles
To my husband,
I have been writing this for a while but have saved it because I figured you’d need this after the 4th, when your PTSD is sky high and your nerves are frazzled.
When we got married I was a happy 18-year-old with the occasional migraine and slight, barely noticeable nerve pain after work. You’d rub my tingling and sore feet and we’d call it a night. We had a beautiful baby and I was able to mother her with ease. I juggled work, home, children, and pets like an average person.
Our second child’s pregnancy was a little worse. You took care of me and eventually I recovered. Then our third child came along. Migraines started getting bad, soon I had a couple a week. Depression and anxiety became crushing. I recovered, for the most part, with your help.
Then our last child came around. The pregnancy was so hard, I couldn’t leave my bed. You took care of the kids and house, plus worked. I imagine you thought everything was temporary. After the pregnancy I would bounce back like I always did. I didn’t though. In fact, I got worse and worse. As our child was being diagnosed with disease after disease, I struggled to stay afloat. I was told I had cancer again; the treatment was much more invasive and took a toll.
Everything eventually declined until I couldn’t get out of bed. I lost myself in a spiral of self-loathing, depression and guilt. I don’t know how long I laid in bed, wishing everything would just end. I put on weight. I knew from therapy that the sustained grief was normal and it could take a while but it felt like it would never end.
Over the past year I have finally moved into acceptance. I am disabled, I am in pain, my life… our lives are completely different now. While not happy about it, I am accepting of these facts.
While in this enlightened state of being I wanted to say I love you and thank you. You have been by my side the whole way but at the same time, when I needed space you gave it to me. You held wet rags on my forehead when the chemo got to me, you put me in the shower when I couldn’t stand on my own, you held my hand in a pitch black room when the migraines got too bad while not saying a word. You took care of the children and the house, including our sick child, on your own while I struggled with the grief process. You were kind and patient with me when I called on terrifying deities to help me stop the suffering, when my pain was at its highest and I was at my lowest.
I can’t imagine how scary all of this has been for you. How many tears you shed in the dark, how many awful things you had to say to the universe. You still held it together for me.
Yet, your work hasn’t ended. Every day you help me walk a little further, you encourage me when I’ve given up, you pick me up when I’ve done too much. You realize that just because I have accepted my fate, that doesn’t mean I don’t need help anymore.
You are my hero.
You hate that word, I know you do, but that’s what you are. A lesser man would have cut and run but here you are, taking care of the kids and the pets… and me. You do the work of four people.
Do you realize everything we have gone through? Somehow we are still standing and for some reason, you still love me. That is no easy feat and it deserves a title recognition. So I am giving you the title of hero, and you’re going to like it.
Your always grateful wife
This story originally appeared on Facebook.
Getty Image by Dragan Smiljkovic