I’ve been thinking about that lovely part of our marriage vows that states “in sickness and in health.” That one part of the vows to me seems to be the hardest one of them all to be equipped at dealing with.
I was sicker than sick on Monday. I haven’t been that sick in ages. I literally wanted to dig a hole and bury myself in it and DIE. Yep, I said die. That’s just how miserable I was.
There are spouses though that don’t recover in a short period of time. What then?? All the focus gets placed on the sickly. Granted, the sickly need a lot of attention. However, what about the spouses taking care of the sickly?
I guess this is weighing on my mind because I was so sick it’s not even funny. My kids had to take care of my literally! My oldest cooked dinner for all of us, and he did a remarkable job. My husband had to work and didn’t get home until late. It got me thinking about the fact that although I was sick, he still had to work to pay the bills. When he did get home, he wasn’t up to doing anything to help around the house. He still had to unwind from his long day at work. It reminded me of how much my mom sacrificed for my step-father.
My Mom had to take care of my step-father, who ended up with heart congestive failure, and she was a nurse by day and had to come home and be a nurse again. Her nursing duty never ended for her. She got drained after so long. I can very strongly remember her crying and saying that she knew he needed her to care for him, but what about someone taking care of her. She refused to let me to be her nurse maid when she was dying of cancer. (I’d NEVER make a good nurse in a million years and she knew that, but she also knew that I don’t handle emotional stress well. I can handle a lot of challenges at once, but if it pulls at my heart strings in any way I crash and burn.)
He was literally dying in the hospital one day (or at least the doctors made it sound like he was), and she was out riding her horse and had me come along with her. I got mad as fire and left her on the trail and went to the hospital myself to be with him. I was a teenager at the time. I stayed angry at her for years over that incident! Horses were my mom’s life, everything she did or didn’t do revolved around them! I felt like at that point in time she was choosing a darn horse over the man she vowed to be beside until the day he died.
I guess I learned while being in bed on Monday while my husband was at work that sometimes in order for someone to take care of their sick spouses, they have to continue on with their life. In my husband’s case, he had to work to pay the bills, there’s no way around that! My Mom NEEDED to get in an hour ride just to be able to cope with being beside her husband. She also knew that there was NOTHING she could have done in the hospital beside him at that given point in time, but wait! She had been his nurse maid while he was at home. That period of time was literally her first escape she had from dealing with his sickness since he got diagnosed.
I’m writing this for spouses who are dealing with a sick spouse. Please for your sake as well as your spouse’s sake please make sure you take time out to take care of yourself too!! You will be better equipped to help your spouse. Plus I’m confident that your spouse who loves you dearly would not want to see you suffer as the result of them being sick beyond their control. I know that is way easier said than done! I’ve seen it first hand as being the sick spouse who has been trapped, whiny, and extremely needy!
I’ve lived on one end of the spectrum already. I hope and pray I don’t have to live on the other end because I honestly don’t feel I could survive it. However, I know God will give me the strength to get through it. I am always impressed by spouses who have been through the sickness and health with their spouses!
Have you been in these shoes already? Do you have other words of wisdom to add?