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To the Man Who Didn't Know I Was Sick When We Met

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Another day spent in bed; my new “normal.” I wasn’t sick when we met, or perhaps a more accurate statement would be that I didn’t know I was sick when we met.

Six years ago you met a fun brunette at a movie theater for a first date. We spent hours talking in the parking lot after the movie and kissed just before parting for the night. We didn’t know then that our kiss would lead to marriage, babies, dogs and multiple separations due to your military career.

Maybe the largest life adjustment for us was my diagnosis of a rare genetic kidney disease. A diagnosis that altered our daily lives. You took the news with grace and acceptance, while I melted into a puddle of emotions. Half a world away, I told you about my recent trip to the emergency room and the toe-curdling pain I endured, which I had been experiencing for weeks. I explained the findings of a giant 13mm kidney stone in my left kidney and the impending surgery for removal.

You listened while I cried. You comforted me with your words, while longing to be next to me. All I wanted was to be in your arms, somewhere I had yearned to be for months. Instead I slept on your side of the bed.

Your pillow has a permanent indent from the way you lay your head at night. I sink myself into the pocket, the way I would melt into your embrace. I still smell you on the sheets; a combination of sweat and deodorant fills my nostrils, while a myriad of memories dance around in my mind. Your side of the bed brings me comfort.

Whenever I’m feeling low, having a high pain day or just simply missing you, I lay on your side of the bed. I wrap myself into a blanket burrito like you do, hold your pillow and feel your essence surround me. I pull the pillow close to my body as if I can summon your love straight from its fibers.

Through all of the hardships our relationship has seen, I know you will always be by my side. Whether we are enduring a separation because of duty, or fighting chronic illness due to genetics, we remain a team. If  you can’t hold me, I’ll hold your pillow and find my strength sleeping on your side of the bed.

A version of this article was originally published on Hello Minder

Getty image by Grandfailure

Originally published: November 1, 2019
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