Disabled Relationships

Today is Sweetpea’s 40th birthday. We were planning to go to a rock and gem show, to a lunch at a Japanese restaurant that we’ve not been to together in years, and then I planned to surprise her with a new car. This morning started off quite well. Her pain level was at a “dull roar” as she put it. I was very excited as that is sometimes a good sign that we will make it out the door together. As the morning went on I could tell that her pain was increasing by a number of signs. The amount of time she was able to move around without sitting to rest, the length of her shower, the length of her sentences or the timbre of her voice. Truthfully, I knew that it was most likely that we would not make it out today. But I had the hope that we would. As it turned out, she did not feel well enough to leave the house today.

13 years ago, less than a year after we were married, a careless driver in a large truck made a stupid decision that resulted in a broken neck, a spinal injury, a twisted back, a dislocated shoulder and various other smaller injuries. It robbed of her health and vitality and took from us all of the plans we had made for our future together. It took away the body that she had so proudly trained and disciplined in the United States Army. It took away choices that should have been ours to make. It changed both of our lives in a way that we had never imagined possible when we stood together in the rose garden under a blue sky, daffodils and trees in bloom, and pledged our love and lives to one another.

She suggested that I go out and enjoy the beautiful weather that we are fortunate enough to have today. She suggested that I perhaps go to my favorite spot in the park near our library and watch the ducks, watch the people, or sit and type on the notebook. She said that she would be fine curled up with her book and our kitty by her side. 

The park is beautiful today. The ducks are up to their usual ducky activities. The violets, pansies, ans alyssum are beaming at every passerby. The people are walking and talking, sitting and running doing their thing. At this very moment two ducks are busy making baby ducks less than fifty feet away(!). Of all this I am glad. I only wish that she were well enough to sit beside me and take all of this beauty in together. Her limitations are something that I have no control over and that is a very frustrating situation for one who can repair almost anything that almost anyone can break. She is the one intricate machine that I have no skills to restore of perfect. Acceptance of this, of her condition, of the limitations that it places upon our relationship, is a difficult proposition. Acceptance has been gradual over the past years and is a progressive process that cannot be accelerated or hurried. It is not always a forward and linear process. It will see ups and downs, progress and recess, but it does continue.

We are entirely dependent upon each other. She on me for emotional, physical, and financial support. I on her for strength and purpose. I am so very glad that that I can be here for her. in fact I am happy that I able to do so. I cannot imagine her on her own trying to deal with a life disarranged by chance and circumstance. We do the best we can with what we have. As she reminds me, it could have been worse. She is not paralyzed. She is not dead. We still have each other and she is my world. She is the reason I get up every morning. She is the reason that I do not give in to despair. She and her outlook are the reasons I keep on going.

She heals me.

It could always be worse...