"How is married life treating you?"
I hear this question at least 5 times a day. It makes perfect sense. I have been married for less than two months and people recognize how important this part of my life has become. Recently, I have struggled to answer this question, because I don't know how. I feel like a fraud if I smile and pretend everything is fine.
The truth is that my wife is sick. She doesn't feel sick, but she has a very serious disease that is going to change the rest of her life. I believe in my heart that she is going to be OK. I believe that she is easily going to out live me. But I also know that she is always going to have the fear of cancer in the back of her mind.
She is 29 years old. She shouldn't have to deal with this. No one should. But she has carried herself with courage and determination through this first few weeks. She has given me strength, because observing her has prevented me from feeling anger, resentment or despair. I can not feel bad for her when she doesn't feel bad for herself. I admire her more now, than ever before.
As for me, I feel distracted almost all day, everyday. When I am at work, all I can think about is her, and when I with her, all I can do is worry about how we will manage while she goes through this. When we are home, I want to talk with doctors, and when we are with the doctors, all I want is a chance to breathe. I feel like we have lost all sense of control in our life, in the matter of 2 weeks.
While I struggle in these moments, I know in reality that we still have more control than it may seem. We still have each other. We still have a bright future. We still have great friends and an extremely supportive family. We are very blessed in many, many ways.
When I first found out Melissa had cancer, I thought it was unfair. Melissa does so much for so many different people and organizations, that I immediately had a sense of anger and resentment. She donates her time and energy to a variety of different charities, many of which she has no personal connection. She dedicated herself to making a difference in leukemia, animals, kids and yes.... even breast cancer, without any sense of obligation, or personal experience. She just wanted to help. It was hard for me to fathom that a person like this could be so unfortunate, so unlucky.
That was then. Things have changed.
Since the moment she told me, my perspective has transformed to one of hope optimism and even appreciation. I believe in my heart that this experience chose her because she is someone who can handle the enormous amount of pressure that must accompany a cancer diagnosis at age 29. She was chosen because she has the mind set and perspective of someone much wiser than your average 29 year old. She was chosen because she has a bigger heart and a bigger will.
I also believe this experience will change me for the better. I needed perspective. I needed to be reminded of what is really important. This has reminded me that nothing is promised, but everything is possible.
I love Melissa and I will spend the rest of my life with her. When we arrive at the other side of this long journey, I believe we will both have a greater appreciation for our lives and our marriage. This will be a hard lesson to learn, but in a way, we are fortunate to gain this type of perspective at this point of our lives.
How is married life treating me? Being married is the best thing that has ever happened to me.