chronic illness · chronic pain · sean · writings

lets hear it for the boy

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I love my husband fiercely for a lot of reasons. Too many to name.

One of the things I love most is his ability to keep standing next to me when things have been really hard for a long time.

Yes marriage in its very core is all about “hanging in there” but lets face it that doesn’t always happen.

People for whatever reasons hit their breaking point. They cross the point of no return and say “Im sorry I just can’t. Not any more”. After seeing two divorces involving my parents, I get that. As my dear Atticus Finch says “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view..until you climb into his skin and walk around it” so  I can’t judge why people find themselves worn too thin in a marriage to keep going.

Marriage is hard at times.

Marriage when one person is sick is makes it a lot harder.

I refer to the first year my husband knew me as “the good year”.

We met and fell madly in love in the fall of 2010. Me on the heels of a hard breakup, feeling doubtful that anyone could really love me and not cheat on me. He also doubtful of love, fidelity and single for several years on his own volition. He moved in 3 weeks later on Halloween. We spent a cold cold winter in our 1920’s duplex huddled under blankets laughing and a lovely spring adopting a dog that grew into a pony and began to talk seriously about joining together our lives permanently.

He asked me to marry him May 21st 2011.  The world was supposed to end that day but my world instead just widened and bloomed. We ate sushi that night and my heart felt joy I had never known.

That October my foot began to really hurt and CRPS would soon set in. Less than 6 months later I was bedridden with Chronic Lyme Disease.

My husband knew me for one whole year as the old Genevieve.

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She ran before work 3-4 days a week braving single digit cold or 95 degree heat and obsessed over PRs. She worked 40 hours a week and sometimes volunteered for a 6th day if her boss needed it. She loved going to the bookstore, taking long walks with the dogs, chatting her boyfriend/fiance’s ear off, and cleaning the house.

And then that person kind of left and a new person took her place.

In the past 4 years Sean has: helped me shower myself, helped me get dressed, carried in his arms to the car to take me to the ER, sat in the ER with me, driven me to god knows how many appointments, picked up 100s of bottles of medication from the pharmacy, made me 100s of meals washed many dishes and many piles of clothes and held me in his arms while I sobbed.

Many times he sobs too.

Caretakers often get left in the shadows when someone is sick. They are trying to keep the world in one place when everything else is crumbling but most of the attention is the ill person.

Sean has been my Atlas. Everything else can feel like its falling apart but Sean is always my constant. He keeps our household afloat and he keeps my heart open.

Assateague Island.

Me being sick has worn on him. He has to dually mourn the partner he thought he was getting while trying to make sure we have a roof over our heads, meals, that our dogs are taken care of and lots of other menial tasks.

Sometimes I have been able to help depending on how I am feeling and a lot of times I can not.

I know one of the hardest things is that he feels alone. I hate knowing that I contribute to this by not being “present” in my body when the pain gets really bad.  There have been many months where we didn’t spend much time together because I lay in bed all day. It breaks my heart to hear him be so   lonely. I am working to try to change this.

Now don’t get it twisted. We have had a lot of happiness in our marriage. Fun dates out when I feel well enough, awesome vacations, movie and tv show marathons where we debate the characters and try to predict outcomes, walks around our neighborhood, playing video games and laughing at how horrible I am at it.

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So lets hear it for the people who stand by their partners side when they are sick with no prediction of when they will get better. The people who take on multiple roles while mourning who their partner used to be. The people who hold their partner up when everything is really awful.

I know how lucky I am to have someone like Sean, who sticks it out year after year and loves me irregardless of my health. When he tells me how lucky he is to have me, it is the biggest compliment.

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You are amazing Sean.

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