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To the Man Who Loves Me Through My Illness

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We met in college. Our first date was the day before Valentine’s Day, and you had already remembered my favorite flower after meeting only once before. I hoped you wouldn’t run when you saw my wheelchair. I prayed you would stay after witnessing the intense muscle spasms and pain. I feared you would leave when my fatigue wouldn’t allow me to keep up with you. You committed to me so effortlessly.

man and woman getting married

You did stay, and you walked by my side all the way to our wedding day. It was the happiest day of my life. We had so much fun together. How could we have known that we were just beginning the rollercoaster of health worries at that point? The plans we had made and the future we imagined were far from reality. But, after nearly 12 years you’ve stayed by my side.

man and woman sitting on a slide at a playground

You are my strength and my hope. You are what gives me motivation to keep fighting. When my mysterious health needs took us out of state, you dropped everything at your new job to be there with me, supporting me and advocating for me every step of the way. When we finally got a diagnosis, you researched and learned as much as you could to help and support me. When you are called away from work to be with me at the emergency room, you come without hesitation or complaints. You change your schedule without a second thought to ensure you are home when I need you most. When my pain keeps you up at night, or ruins your plans, you speak to me with compassion and concern rather than anger. When my medical bills and inability to work bankrupt us you tell me not to worry, you will take care of everything. You don’t make me feel guilty for not working any longer. You say you’d rather have me happier and healthier. These are the moments that make me proud to call myself your wife.

man and woman smiling at the grand canyon

One day a man in a store called you a good man for being with me, a woman with a disability. He was right, you are a good man, but not for simply being with a woman with a disability. You are a good man for everything you do for your wife with a disability, for everything you sacrifice to be with your wife who has a disability. And, more importantly, for making me become the best person I can be. You love me not despite my disability, but through my disability. You still see the woman you married no matter how much my symptoms change, and you love me unconditionally regardless of my abilities… or lack thereof. You love me when I’m too tired or in too much pain to do the dishes, and you smile as you do them for us. You love me when I’m angry because I’m in too much pain to think straight. You love me when I irrationally feel like you shouldn’t. You love my strengths and weaknesses. You love our happy times and you pull us through our troubles.

man and woman smiling together

You are a good man. For all you do and all you are, I love you. I can’t wait to see what our future together holds!

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Originally published: November 3, 2017
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