One of the most difficult parts of marriage is dealing with a spouse's serious or terminal illness. It changes the present, and changes the future. Plans are put on hold or set aside, hopes fade, dreams die. The demon in the body corporeal comes to dominate the home.
The Hallmark view is that shared crisis brings us closer together, in an outpouring of sympathy and warm love, gentle hands easing pain, kind words bolstering courage, steady smiles reinforcing faith. It's true - much of the time.
But such is the thoroughness of the demon's attack that the healthy spouse will pull open a door, just a crack...the door marked "But what about ME?"
Living in a shadow is tough. "How's he doing?" is a question that gets awfully tiring. The thoughtful follow-on is "And how are you holding up?" As if you're an overloaded bridge.
Which, of course, is exactly what you are, with a sagging deck and groaning columns.
The demon will often be kind enough to send help. A co-worker, or perhaps someone from church, will focus on you, and it feels so good! Humanity recognized, you feel like a dying plant moved into the sunlight, and given water and framework on which to lean, and gather strength.
And what is more healing than a hug? And a kiss on the cheek...and hands held a little longer each time.
"I deserve this. I need this." A hug that can be held without fear of causing pain, conversation that doesn't feel like borrowed time. A new normal.
After all, you've got to be ready to move on.