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To My Husband, as We Navigate the Murky Waters of Illness Together

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Honey, 24 years ago, when you asked me to marry you, I felt like life was falling into place. I knew you were the one I wanted to do life with only a few weeks after we started dating. You were the steady, ambitious, kind and loving soul I had been searching for.

And life was fun. We enjoyed an active lifestyle, traveling, and hanging out with friends. We raised two amazing kids. We have supported each other through career and lifestyle changes. And we have navigated through some murky waters of illness that we never saw coming.

As a young woman, I was proud to be independent, strong and low maintenance. I think that’s one of the things you liked about me the most. But now you like to joke that I am expensive to maintain. Not because I like to get my hair done or shop for expensive clothes. Mainly because I manage to hit my medical insurance out of pocket every year, have many expensive medical devices, and like to pursue expensive therapies not covered by insurance.

You have seen me at my best and worst. You’ve been by my side during every hospital stay, after every surgery, and during the toughest moments. You were the first by my side when the doctor told me I had cancer, twice. You have supported me through the struggles of multiple sclerosis and my endless pursuit of healing.

It hasn’t always been easy and there have been moments when I didn’t know if we would survive. But here we are. Instead of hiking together or skiing or playing in the surf, you are always there to push my wheelchair or load my scooter and make sure we can enjoy life together. Living with MS is a daily challenge and the little things you do for me every day are what really matter. Taking care of our home, cooking dinner, adapting the house so I can live comfortably. And you still look at me like I’m the most beautiful girl in the room.

Being a caregiver is often a thankless job because everyone is concerned about the one with the illness. I am so thankful you are my partner, my caregiver, my husband, my love. Not all men could endure the challenge, so I guess that makes me the lucky one.

Originally published: February 26, 2020
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