I am No Hero

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.


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8 responses to “I am No Hero

  1. trish taylor

    Well, if not a hero at least consider yourself a damn good dvocte, caregiver and life patner. Tom’s last three months likely would have been hellish, if not for you. You certainly fulfilled your vows…and kept your promises. Hugs


  2. trish taylor

    my typing!!!!! advocate* and partner*


  3. Jane T. and the Khamsa Krew

    I wish I could be there with you but what could I do for you that hasn’t been done. My heart aches for friends that i am so far from in physical diatance. Please do know spirits Soar and nothing is forgotten. Memories of little cartoons are cherished and made new again each time they are viewed. Little snippets of spirit that will always live on. Hugs to you and the salukis


  4. Carla Wade

    You were everything that was needed and then some! We should all be so fortunate to have someone in our lives like you. May you find peace and healing too. Holding you in my heart.


  5. Cindy

    Monica, so long since we have connected…but you are a piece of my life. I understand what you mean. I live with mom, who, at 88, is, well, 88. I am often told that I am a saint, or, like you, a hero for doing what must be done. Some days good, some days I am astounded at my sin nature and selfishness. But, through it all is my love and devotion to mom. I feel blessed to be able to be there for her and would not trade a minute. I love your story.


  6. gus fuenmayor

    i was at first baptist church of downey, playing basketball in the gym, the thursday night you were married. tom was a good friend to me and i am so sorry for your loss. he was lucky to find you.


    • Thank you so much. John Smyser came over from the volleyball court and pulled on a jacket to marry us. A wonderful ceremony. I feel the luck was very mutual. If things work out I’ll be in Southern California in April for a celebration.


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