“In sickness and in health” we both said to each other grinning ear to ear with tears rolling down our cheeks.
Our wedding day was magical. He looked so handsome and we had all of our loved ones gathered around us to celebrate our big day. Our love for one another was contagious, and that day was perfect in my eyes. It even rained during the ceremony, but then it was beautiful and sunny afterwards. They always say, “rain on your wedding day is good luck.” I knew we didn’t need the luck, we were meant to be…rain or no rain.
Like every couple, we have had our share of up’s and down’s. Concerns about finances, differences in parenting styles, lack of communication, making family a priority versus other things in this world, and the list goes on. We even have had the petty arguments of leaving things out and not putting them away, or dripping or spilling on the kitchen floor and not wiping it up, chewing too loud, not having all the light switches synced perfectly, and that list goes on and on. But, never did I imagine that life would throw us one of the biggest curve balls at the age of only 30. Our relationship soon began to change. It went from arguing about finances to how are we ACTUALLY going to pay for all these medical bills? It went from trying to prioritize family time to MAKING time for me to rest and be alone. It went from thinking our biggest problem was communication to, am I going to LIVE another year?
I know many of you can probably imagine how hard and difficult our lives have been the past two years. I know many of you can relate to our issues and disputes. But, what most people won’t be able to understand is how hard we have had to fight to stay together. I’m not saying you can’t imagine it, but until you have truly lived with a loved one that has a chronic illness…the sacrifices and the pain is something that you just can’t truly comprehend until you have been there. I thank God that many of you have never been there. That many of you will NEVER be there. Your greatest disputes or arguments will be about chores, or money, or church, or in-laws, etc and I pray that you don’t have to experience the pain and hardships that we have been forced to experience the past two years.
I go back to our wedding day often and wonder if we really truly understood the vows we made to each other that day. I think “in sickness and in health” was one of those things at the time that meant I would have to buy him cough syrup and baby him when he got a cold. I think it meant I would clean up his mess after puking from the flu. Temporary sickness. Nothing that would be life changing and permanent.
But here we are…at a fork in the road.
Do we continue to try and make this work? Do we stay together because it’s what we promised to do over seven years ago? Yes, we both love each other tremendously, but I can see the toll it is taking on my family. Of course no one knew that I would get sick. No one knew that life would become so hard and challenging on a daily basis. Would we have still made those vows if we could of had a glimpse in the future? I would have, but then again, I’m not the one that is watching his wife fight so hard to survive.
I see my husband struggling to stay afloat. I see him and his anger, his bitterness, and his depression taking over our once beatufully flawed marriage. To be honest, it makes me want to punch God in the throat. Too extreme? I don’t think so. It makes me want to scream and cry and throw in the towel. How much more can one take before breaking? How much more can Wes take before he drowns? Yes, life isn’t fair, but the cards that we’ve been dealt and the string of bad luck shows me two things. That life is so much harder than anyone could have predicted and that we don’t deserve this.
My one year anniversary is coming up from when I left for treatment and my birthday is also coming up. I honestly don’t remember a lot of last year and feel conflicted with my upcoming birthday. I don’t feel like celebrating. I don’t feel like my life is where it needs to be. And I know my relationship with my husband is in dire need of help.
How can I be full of encouragement and strength when all I want to do is hide under a rock and cry? How can I be strong and positive for Wes when all I want to do is give up? What do we do? Do I just hand him a get of jail free card and tell him it’s okay? Do we try to save what is so precious and special to both of us, but also so broken?
There are so many lessons to be learned from this journey and some I appreciate so much and they are invaluable, but some are a very hard pill to swallow. I have read many articles on the impact a chronic illness has on its entire family. I’ve also read ways to improve your relationship, but more importantly I’ve read many people’s stories about separation and divorce and the statistics are incredibly high. But, why wouldn’t they be? Think about it…your entire wold has been flipped upside down. There are no breaks and there are no redo’s. Your significant other has two choices…tough it out even when you feel like you have nothing left in you, or leave and be free of the misery and insane amount of responsibility that comes along with chronic illness. The burdens that my husband has to carry are too heavy and too large for anyone, and like I said before…we all have our breaking points.
What I have learned over the past few years, is that nothing in life that is worth anything is easy to obtain. People work hard to stay afloat and reap the benefits. If marriage was easy we wouldn’t see so many divorce and give up.
My husband is strong and wants to do the right thing. He doesn’t want to separate or get a divorce, but the guilt I have for making his life miserable is also a heavy burden for me to carry.
This blog is coming from my heart and soul. I am scared for our future, our children’s future, and our livelihoods.
More often than not, actions speak louder than words. So may our actions from now on speak volumes about the love and respect we have for one another. I pray that our hearts soften, that our anger and resentment fades, and that we draw not only closer to one another but also closer to God. Because it’s obvious we can’t get through this alone. It’s obvious that we are struggling and yes, we’ve been dealt a shitty hand, but giving up now doesn’t seem to be an option. We are both in it for the long haul and I just pray that God grants us wisdom, grace, love, patience, understanding, compassion, and empathy to get through these dark days.
I strongly feel that brighter days are yet to come. I have hope, and yes giving up would be easy, but that is definitely not the answer. As I’ve said before, He knows how much we can handle. He knows we are strong. We can handle this together with good communication and patience. But we both have to want to.
I will be brutally honest, today, I gave Wes the option of quitting. I felt it was time for me to be blunt and honest about where this was going. We are both miserable and I just knew if he could get away from me he would be better. Once again, my assumptions were proven wrong. So here we are…we met in high school and fell in love. We cannot predict the future but we have control over the choices that we make. Although, this has been the hardest thing we have ever had to experience…I cannot let it steal my joy. I cannot let it steal Wes’ joy.
As always, we will survive and make it but at that moment and in that moment, sometimes giving up feels like the easiest solution. Today, Wes chose the hard route and the route that we promised each other over seven years ago. We are a family and we WILL get through this.