In the past few months people have told me how much they admire what I went through for my husband. They say I’m special, that I went above and beyond what most other people would do. I try to correct them, but they insist on make something out of these past eight months.
Fact is, everything I did was to fulfill a promise, or maybe several promises. We stood in front of John Smyser, a minister friend who played a wicked game of volleyball, and promised forever to each other. Including for better or worse, in sickness and in health. For burnt meals and missed laundry and shoes in the middle of the room. For TV football marathons and piles of books everywhere. I didn’t promise to obey, since I don’t like promising something I can’t fulfill.
And too much had to do with being angry. Angry with him for being casual about his health. Angry with his doctors for not listening when he said he lacked energy for the last year or so. After his successful surgery, when it could have been sunshine and smiles, the occasional poor hospital care infuriated me, but not as much as his lack of initiative. Always before after surgery he’d been eager to get up and moving, and could be found thumping around the hospital halls.
But nothing made me as angry as the doctors telling him bluntly he wasn’t going to make it, and he couldn’t go home to die since his wife (that would be me) couldn’t take care of him. Yes, I acknowledged his survival chances were slim, but why couldn’t he spend those last few days at home, and where did they get the idea I wasn’t competent? That anger carried me through three very good months, and a week of not so good.
Some of the anger has since died off but some will remain for a long while. I’m working hard to release it as we started a “goodbye tour” with a trip to a favorite high pass at a nearby mountain. The cutout he had made when he was a young teacher will be coming along on any trip where I have space. It’s pretty big, but in so many ways he was larger than life.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Hug those you love and forgive those who don’t love you.