Tuesday, January 31, 2012

For Worse, Poor or Sick

As surprised as I am Fibromyalgia has not destroyed my marriage, there is something else that strikes me as even more incredulous than that. My guilt. I feel so terrible for getting sick, convincing myself I have ruined my husband's life. Despite his reassurance, this guilt causes me to behave in irrational, panicked and often paranoid and delusional ways. I can't comprehend why somebody would want to make all the sacrifices he has made to be with, me? I have tried to convince him, many times, to leave me and go live his life. I have even offered to find him another wife! One that can clean the house and go to work and have children. One that can keep up with him and his voracious appetite for life. You know, the former me. I have projected this guilt on to him and gotten mad at him for being mad at me when he was just sitting there watching TV! I have flipped out a' plenty and behaved in desperate and pathetic ways because of this guilt. But for some odd reason he likes me enough to not only put up with my illness, but my craziness as well.

I was discussing this common emotion ill people feel towards their healthy counterparts with a friend. It is sensibly irrational and rational at the same time. As the years pass and my health problems pile up he is getting closer and closer to sainthood, in everyone's eyes but his. So as the conversation with my friend was winding down she summed up what I expressed in a supportive way, but threw an "It wasn't what he signed up for" at the end. I stopped immediately, cocked my head to the side and said, "Yeah, actually it is." I said the same vows he did. I have been a faithful and supportive and engaged wife, always willing to keep working at the living and breathing entity that is our marriage. I got him through college, the second time, after I graduated and he was expelled. I taught him the difference between napkins and paper towels, tissue and toilet paper, and the specific reason one was for your mouth, counter top, nose or ass. The first trip to the dentist I dragged my former frat boy to looked like it was straight out of Little Shop Of Horrors there was so much blood. I snatched up his checkbook early on and merged it into one bank account because the dear man did not know how to balance the darn thing and I needed his money to pay half the bills. And I have written every check since.

If you asked me at any point in our marriage, when I was healthy and unmarred by disease all the way to today, if I would stay by his sick side, be it chronic or terminal illness, I would kick you in the shins for even asking me. Of course I would. He is my husband. He did not ask to get sick, and neither did I. By continuing to feed into this guilt complex I have turned myself into a piteous victim not worthy of the charity of his love. Well to hell with that! I am worthy! Oh life is so different than what we had planned. So different. But the love and respect we have for each other has only grown, despite a union full of flinging wrenches. He married a healthy 24 year-old woman. But that is certainly not who he expected to die with, at the end of his long 98 years of life. When I ask him what he sees in me he tells me I am the strongest person he has ever met, he sees a fighter. He still views me as the ditsy, sarcastic, smart-ass that originally attracted him. He says because he could not imagine living life without me, no matter how sick I am or nuts I can be at times. He gives the exact same answer I would, because I am his wife. Am I a pain in the ass? Oh yes. Am I dramatically histrionic and extremely high maintenance? You bet! Am I worth it? Overwhelmingly so. I am quite glad he agrees...

Thanks for joining,
Leah

13 comments:

  1. If only my husband felt the same way. I havent stopped crying in months. He left me Dec. 16th because he could not deal with me being sick all the time and it was not what he signed up for! So much for in sickness and health and for better or worse. And yes...I said those same words and when he was set on fire and got 3rd degree burns on his right hand and arm and lost his job and left me to pay all the bills for him and 4 kids.... I never backed down... I did it. Now that its my turn... he runs!

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  2. Hello all, this is Leah's husband. Uh...just a few points to clear up. 1) Leah resembles the bride in the picture, I do not. I'm more of a mastiff. 2) I wouldn't say I was expelled necessarily...more like "placed on probation". 3) I buck the trends when it comes to proper use of paper products. Quilted Northern is more than capable of handling spilled fruit juice. 4)She hasn't written every check, I wrote one once for present for her birthday and it cleared...so that put's that non-sense to rest. 5) Even when we're 98, I'll still look into her baby blues and see the 24 year old I married.

    Namaste

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    1. You are a prince........the Babs

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    2. You guys are adorable!

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  3. I am BLESSED with the same type of man for 28 years I have said the same things many times to my husband about leaving me and apologizing. But I am going to quit. Thenwoman that wrote the first comment,I am so sorry for the hurt and betrayal that you are feeling.Are any of your children old enough to help you?Do you have any family ormfriends that are like family? I sure hope so. I know you are hurting physically and emotionally right now and I am so so sorry. I will pray for you. Keep commenting on this blogmon the Fun House I have found awesome people there who listen and give great advice. My name is Angel.. I do not know how to get it off annoynomous.

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  4. OMG, this was awesome!!!! This is the story of my life... The guilt is the worse but when you come to think of it, is not my fault, I didn't ask for this thing to come into my life and make it miserable.

    I have the best husband in the world because despite every tantrum, every misunderstanding (mostly on my part), everything, he's always there to love me and care for me. So, I'm really greatful!

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  5. Yes! Thank you! So well written and right to the core of what, clearly, is a common issue with those of us who are ill. I am working hard at finding and really tuning in to my worth as a partner in this marriage of ours. Thank you for this provocative, thoughtful post. You rock!!!!

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  6. We were married 13 years before I was diagnosed with FM / CFS (and I've only been diagnosed officially for 5 years). He's knows the old me better than the present me, but I'll be honest, I'm not sure he got the short end of the stick when I came down with this illness. I no longer want to run the world, control every situation and require so much maintenance. I'm much more thankful, slow paced and introspective than I was before I became ill. (don't get me wrong, I can still give 'em hell! :^) I'll never say I am THANKFUL to have FM/ CFS but I am thankful I let it do a good work in me. And I imagine that is what your and your husband are also experiencing.

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  7. I have this guilt from time to time as well.

    I tend to also over worry and over analyze things.

    I have learned to take one day at a time, do the best that I am able to and leave the rest for another day.

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  8. So to sound like everyone else, I am in the same situation. Today is our 2 year anniversary. I started getting sick shortly before getting married, but nothing as bad as it is now. I work as a speech therapist with special needs kids.I dropped down to 30 hours a week from 40 recently.

    My question is how do you know how much you can do and how much you can't? I know I need to cut back, but I am terrified that life won't keep going if I stop working. I am the primary source of income right now because my husband is getting his PhD. And I am 25, so in less than 1 year I won't be able to get insurance from my dad.

    Right now, David does all the house work. He cooks, cleans (not very well but I love him for trying), brings me things I need, etc. I feel like it is not fair for him. And I think if I didn't work I could do better. But I also know that it is very easy to just do nothing when I don't have anything pressing.

    Advice?

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