Handling Sickness

Today my mind is on a subject we do not like to think about in a marriage or in a child. Sickness. I am not talking about the little bugs that come along, or even some bigger bugs, but those illnesses that are life long, life threatening or terminal.

When we marry and say our vows we are saying for better or worse, in sickness and in health.  For me I married with rose colored glasses. I said those words and really thought I would never need the worse or the sickness to be tested. Yet, it did not take long to have them tested. I had our first child a year after we were married. I went in to the hospital had a 7lb 4 oz boy and lost 8 lbs. I should have lost more, and I was pretty upset. However, not nearly as upset as I was when I found out that the time I was in the hospital my husband lost 17 lbs. I was furious. It seemed so unfair and I let God know how upset I was that he could lose that much in 3 days and I had the baby.

He continued to lose weight and soon we found out he was diabetic and had to go on insulin. I found myself feeling scared, disillusioned and worried.  I remember thinking that we were trying to serve the Lord and now this. I thought his death would be just around the corner.

It was tough on both of us. A new lifestyle, a new diet, shots, no sugar it was overwhelming. We got through it and adjusted. As the kids came along I made it a point of keeping us all on his basic diet. For the family, I felt it best if we all kept his diet and not make things seem any different. Our kids grew up without a lot of sugar in the house, eating veggies of all kinds, salads and  as balanced a meal as we could afford.

Why did I make us all eat that way?

  • We are a family and stick together
  • It was easier than making a number of meals
  • My husband did not feel different and “more trouble”. It was a family eating plan

What were the benefits?

  • My kids are not picky eaters and will eat at people’s homes and eat what is put in front of them
  • They grew up with veggies and eating them was enforced
  • they hardly had any sugar growing up, a very healthy thing!

There are more benefits, but these are obvious. We adjusted and accepted it as a family.

Things went along well for years, then, at the age of 46, my husband had a heart attack and was between life and death for 3 weeks.  Another big change in our lives.  Several Dr. errors and a year later we found out that his condition was terminal. We were doing kidney dialysis at home as well as watching all his vitals constantly. Things were a daily care and touch and go.

All this brought more into my life than I ever thought I could handle. However, God was good and helped me adjust all the way. We grew closer and talked over his coming death and what he wanted for his funeral etc. It was precious time because we did accept it together.

A year before he died he told me he was praying for who I would marry after he was gone. He prayed God would bring a man into my life. How blessed I felt, yet was so touched that tears did not stop and I yelled at him for telling me!

When he died God was there and with me the whole time. I could write a book about how God had us on vacation (yes, I tried to keep everything as normal as we could, dialysis and all we went camping in a pop up!) when he died, how he had the driver of the ambulance be a close friend and how he went before me to have the state of NY let me return to ME and release his body without delay. Someday I may tell it, but right now I want to impress the need to let sickness draw you closer.

So many couples let a sick child or spouse separate them. The death of a child brings a divorce. A sick spouse brings resentment and abandonment. It should not be.

Prepare your marriage now. You never know what is around the bend in this life.  Begin now to get closer.

  • pray together, if things happen pray together more!
  • support one another, do not get at each other over things
  • find ways to show love, leave notes etc. Find your way and keep at it
  • If someone is sick, they need to be loved, and not made to feel like a burden.  When my husband was bad, I never felt it was a burden. All I went through was out of love and like that old song, he ain’t heavy he is my brother (husband, son, daughter, wife) Where love is and abounds there is no burden. Tired maybe, drained from not sleeping more than 2 hrs at a time maybe, but it was never a burden, never a regret.
  • Help them feel independent when they can, but be there to help when needed.

We all hope it never happens, but  we need to decide ahead that we will do all to keep the marriage together and learn and live through the best and worst of times.