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To My Wife, on Days When the Stress of My Chronic Illness Overwhelms Us

Good Morning Sweetheart,

It’s the morning after. What a day yesterday was! Not quite what either of us hoped for or expected. What should have been an enjoyable, peaceful day, turned out to be anything but. Harsh words were exchanged. Accusations levied. Misunderstanding and miscommunication once again led to hurt and pain – all because of my body and the limitations and stresses it puts on us and our family.

Some days, like yesterday, my doubts, fears, anger, and hurt get the best of me. Doubts about our future, and your commitment to being with me. Fears about our future, and if you can still love this body I view as broken and beat-up. Anger at my condition and frustration with this prison I sometimes feel trapped in. Hurt at the distance this puts between us physically and emotionally due to my body not doing what I want it to do.

First arthritis, then Parkinson’s, and so many other “things” have overwhelmed me. As a young man with multiple chronic illnesses, I never thought I would fight these battles, and I feel guilty and angry at the unfairness of the path you must walk with me. As a young wife, I feel like you should not have to be saddled with this “old man” and that I’m a burden you and our kids must shoulder. Yes, I know these feelings are mainly in my mind and that these are the mental wars I wage daily. I know this is not how you feel every day. I know we all get tired of this fight some days; I know we both do, and I know there are days when like me, you are just “done.” If I feel these things, I know there are days you feel them too. Some days, no matter how hard I fight, these emotions win. It is exhausting, and honestly, that does not help either.

Some days, like yesterday, these feelings overwhelm me, and I lash out, and the anger, hurt, fear, doubt, and frustration come boiling out onto you and the kids. My fear and doubts drive me to push you away – maybe before you will have the chance to do the same to me. My doubt drives me to question how you could choose to love me and stay with me, when some days, I feel like I offer so little.

I see hurts where none were intended because of the hurt I feel, and things are magnified in my head that really should not be a big deal. It does not help that the medication I take for Parkinson’s accentuates many of these feelings and can cause me to be paranoid and question things I have never questioned in my life – including your commitment to me.

As my anger at these things begins to boil, the barriers I use to have in place to guard against outbursts are washed away by this disease, and I explode to those closest to me. Like an out-of-body experience, I watch this unhinged person attack those who love and care the most for me.

It hurts me to see the struggles our family has and will have because of me, and some days it is more than I can bear. I am sorry that yesterday was one of those days. I wish I could say it will be the last, but we both know that is not true. I am still trying to figure this out, and day by day, hopefully, we will both find new and better ways to cope.

Until then, I hope the love, passion, and thankfulness I have for you show a little brighter than these other things, and that you know how deeply I love you, how blessed I am to have you, and how thankful I am that you still choose me, even with all this pain, suffering, and struggle.

Thank you for loving me well, and reminding me that I am more than just this body and that you love me for me – not for what I can and cannot do. Thank you for loving me through this anger and pain, and showing me that I am still loveable, even when I do not feel that way.

As I said to you, over 20 years ago, in that first love letter to you,

I Love You Always, With All My Heart,


Getty image by Fizkes.

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