Thursday, January 20

You Gotta Put Up With the Rain If You Want To Have the Rainbow

Something I've been telling my friends and family for years - if you feel sad sometimes, it's OK. It really is. As human beings, we were created to feel: happiness, anger, sadness... we run the gamut of emotions, sometimes in just a single day.

Sometimes the emotions span a longer period of time - like a few weeks, for instance.

December was a quiet month for me emotionally. I intended to describe myself as depressed over the past few weeks, but it wasn't depression that kept me quiet and thoughtful during the month. I think that I was mentally and emotionally drained. Taking some time for myself in December allowed me energize my thoughts, examine my emotions, and meditate on events that took place during the year. It also allowed me to plan for this year - take steps to make things even better for my family.

I don't believe in the tradition of "New Year's Resolutions" but I do like to use the beginning of a new year as a sort of catalyst for change. My primary goal is taking better care of myself so that I can keep supporting my husband. Like it or not, I'm a caregiver. Although that may not be my professional title, it is a role that I respect and am determined to do well. In 2010, I saw the demise of many marriages, which saddened me greatly, and made me all the more determined to work towards my marriage's success. I am also determined to have a more positive attitude about our situation. Last year, a dear friend told me what her marriage was like in living with her chronically ill husband. He was sick for most of their 30 year plus marriage, but they remained deeply in love and the best of friends. Another friend is married to a really nice guy who has been ill for many years. He was recently hospitalized, but has since been released. She is now dealing with his uber-expensive medication, live-in help, and the machines he needs to make it through the day. You might think that they'd be stressed out or depressed, but they aren't in the least. In fact, the last time I visited, he lovingly referred to his wife as his "life-saver." They looked into each other's eyes and shared a wonderfully romantic secret smile.

I borrowed a book from the library about managing your marriage when one spouse is chronically ill. I returned it without finishing it after I got to a chapter that talked about separation or divorce being a fair option. I won't quote the author directly because I don't want to mention the name of the book, but I'll give the gist of it. She said that one has to think about themselves, what sort of life they'll really be able to lead with the weight of an sick spouse constantly on them. 

I disagree completely.

Marriage is about so much more than arranging things to avoid unpleasantness. A marriage is like the weather - there are good days, and there are bad days, there are absolutely beautiful days, and there are lulls in-between. It's so selfish to be willing to bolt when the bad days outweigh the good. Unless your spouse's illness threatens your life or the life of your children, it just isn't fair to leave. What's that quote about rainbows? "You gotta put up with the rain if you want to have the rainbow."

Maybe last month was more about introspection than sadness.