In sickness & in health
My wife and I got together when I was in my 30’s, she was 29. We had both already had long term, meaningful relationships before we met. I have some dear friends who are in rich long term relationships that started when they were significantly younger (basically people who I see as being considerately more sorted than I am!) but for me, someone I think was a late maturer in the relationship stakes, I believe I started this one much better equipped to be a supportive and meaningful partner than I had been able to when I was younger. My wife, though younger than me, is more street-wise, more emotionally capable and undeniably tougher than I am. On the (thankfully rare) occasions when we’ve strayed into rows, she’s had no problem in reducing any unjustifiable arguments I might offer in haste into dust, and me to a quivering blob of goo cowering in the corner. Whilst I’ve always believed we started this relationship on a really strong foundation (in terms of where we were as people) I think that being stronger individuals also equals less inclination to put up with any shit and less tolerance for undesirable behavior. The way that we’ve worked through our ups and downs is through talking, and whilst I pride myself on my ability to articulate my thought processes into a dialogue, she takes this to a whole new level. It’s one of the many things about her that got me hooked when we met, and we’ve never run out of things to say to each other. When I arrived home with the news of my brain tumour, it was the very first time that I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to provide the factual information that Dr. B had taken me through; I could do that easily, being careful to provide as balanced and undramatic account of the facts and unknowns. The problem wasn’t articulating the partial diagnosis I’d been given, it was more the fact that I felt (crippling) guilt and shame for bringing home this ‘condition’. I knew it was going to potentially disable me and reduce the contribution I could make to our family / relationship. I saw increasing demand on her for emotional support as well as unknown additional actual physical work. It might cover everything from having to look after the kids single handed through to nursing me in some undefined state of disability. It was truly dread inducing stuff. She listened keenly as I relayed the conversation with the Doctor and when she saw me faltering as I started to talk about how I didn’t understand what the impact might be on what I could ‘offer’, and how it might change me as a person, she held my hand. It was a subtle, kind and very gentle gesture that spoke so much more than any words would have conveyed. When I had finished she just nodded in acknowledgment and simply said “Don’t worry. We’ll work through it.” Go here to the start of the journey. Go here for next blog entry. Go here for previous blog entry.