Thursday, January 13, 2011

In Sickness and In Health

I am just watching "The Talk" from yesterday this morning and Holly Robinson-Peete just remarked how at her wedding, her father said something to the effect that it's all fine and good when the lights are twinkling and everyone is all dressed up and looks great but it's when the lights go out and things get hard that make the marriage.  The other ladies all agreed and shared personal points of view on this stemming from the pictures of Mark Kelly sitting at Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's side and just holding her hand in these days following the tragedy of the mass shooting where she was gravely wounded.  I have to agree with these ladies and give credit to some of the men in my life.

 We have a dear friend who is getting married next month.  He's one of those people in our lives that we can not see for literally years and as soon as we get together, it's as if no time has passed.  We adore his fiance but he is the one we are closer to in the end.  Well, I was talking to his fiance about driving back for the wedding and she mentioned that she didn't know if he had told us or not but that she has been dealing with MS for about a year and a half now.  I didn't know- and I was pretty taken back because she's young, seemingly healthy and beautiful and seems to have it all. 

My mother, who is a young 63, has had some very difficult health issues.  At 45 she had a heart attack and a subsequent double bypass.  Just a few years ago, before she hit 60, she had a stroke that has left her with residual memory issues and trouble putting things together when she is tired.  It's very frustrating for her. 

Of course there is my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia.  At the age of 37-38, I basically fell apart.  In January of that year I ended up in the hospital for a week with pancreatitis and gallstones.  From January to July I was dealing with bursitis and tendonitis in various areas and in August I got my major diagnosis.  In the 5+ years since, much of my life has flipped upside down.

These three medical issues are all very difficult to deal with in the first place.  None of them were expected, all of them affect not only us but in some ways, everyone in our lives.  The one thing that we have in common is that each of us has a wonderful man in our lives who have not only stood by our sides through all of this but have been incredibly supportive.  Not all men (or women for that fact) would be strong enough to deal with a loved one who develops a chronic illness.  It's a simple fact that catastrophic illness can lead to divorce and yet all three of these men, my friend, my dad and my darling husband, have all risen to the occasion. They didn't sign up for this any more than we did, and yet they deal with it every day right along with us.  A strong support system, beginning at home, is so very important when you are dealing with all of the other junk in your life and I cannot help but be so very grateful that not only do I have that for myself but that I am surrounded by examples of strong, faithful and loving men who take the "in sickness" portion of their vows as seriously as the rest. 

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