March 27, 2015

In sickness and in health.....

My wedding day, though nearly nine years ago, is still a vivid memory in my mind.  Soft, yellow sunflowers, love song melodies, a reading from Ecclesiastes, my dad's shaky arms as he walked me down the aisle, my Grandfather's tears.  But what I remember most is the look on my husband's face when we spoke our vows that day.  Those old, well-worn words - I could tell he meant them.  He was serious about what he was promising me that day.

For better or for worse.
For richer or for poorer.
In sickness and in health.
Forsaking all others.
Til death do us part.

Those words are so romantic and so real.  We opted for traditional vows rather than writing our own because I felt like those are the biggest promises - to be there.  To stay in even when the going gets rough.  To keep choosing the other person even if life is trying to offer you different choices.  When money doesn't flow like it used to or things feel awful or just mundane and you find yourself asking questions like "Are we really going to last?"  Or when you get sick and your body is broken and you have to lean on the other for tangible, physical support - nothing takes sexy and flirty out of a marriage like sickness.

My RA pain has been awful.  The mornings are the worst and starting my day usually begins with many challenges because my hands don't work and my knees and ankles feel like someone glued them with cement overnight.  And I get emotional on top of my inability to move correctly.  I'm frustrated with not being able to get my body going the way I'm wanting it to.

Every morning, Todd helps me put on my bra as my fingers aren't nimble enough for the small clips.  (TMI, but this is my reality).  On the really bad days, he helps me with my pants or blouse or shoes.  And every time he does these things I cry, and he will just hold me and tell me he's sorry.  I read sorrow in his face, knowing he would carry my pain for me if it were possible.

My tears come from this place of deep emotion where I am angry that I cannot do these things for myself.  I'm angry at myself, at my story, at my past.  Physical pain has a way of bringing to surface things that have been safely stored in the heart.  But the tears are more than anger too.  I feel deeply loved by this man in all of my misery and neediness.  He helps me with such care and gentleness and when I call myself useless or good-for-nothing or that I'm nothing but a burden to him because I can't get on my knees and give our son a bath or because I've had to ask him to clean our shower - he reminds me that he is here for all of this.  This is what he vowed, what he promised, and he meant it.

The same face he looked at me with when we spoke our vows, is the same face he gives me when he reminds me of what is true.

It seems that marriage is always full of give and take.  There is this constant ebb and flow where one has more to offer when the other is down for the count.  And maybe that's how it is supposed to be.  Lifting the other up when they can't do it for themselves.  Right now, it's his turn to hold me for a little while.  And this man I love....he does a really, really good job at holding true to his promises.

Even with all the pain, I am one very blessed, very loved and very cared for bride.

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