An article titled “The most overlooked characteristic of who you want to marry” by Kevin A. Thompson has been making it’s rounds on my social timelines of late. The article explores a specific vow you take when getting married; in sickness and in health. The article suggests that the most overlooked characteristic of whom you want to marry is if they can suffer well through those sorrows with you.
As a person who has dealt with sickness in the form of Cancer, I can tell you that good or bad, people will show up in unexpected ways. You may receive kindness from someone you never imagined would show up, and people you had expectations for may not show up as you expected. People deal with trauma and sorrow differently, but you never know how they’ll deal with it until you go through it.
I was bedridden for 3 months out of 8 months of being sick. I had to visit the Dr.’s office and hospital over 50 times. My family and close set of friends did as much as they could. My brother moved in for a week after each of my surgeries and made sure I had everything I needed. Friends showed up with food and conversation after my first surgery, but as time passed less and less people showed up. You don’t want to be a burden and people have to go on with their lives. That I understood, but at one point I laid in bed for 7 consecutive weeks and the isolation became intolerable.
I was single when I got sick, so I can’t tell you how my partner showed up for me, I can only tell you how I would have liked.
I wish that someone else could be strong, when I no longer had the strength to be strong for myself.
I wish there was someone who I knew would show up everyday because they couldn’t handle the thought of me being alone for days at a time.
I wish there was someone to walk around the neighborhood with even when my muscles were fully depleted from spending so much time in the bed.
I wish there was someone to hold me on the day my Dr. decided I needed yet another surgery.
I wish there was someone else helping me research on better ways to heal.
I wish someone were there to get those groceries for me so I wouldn’t have busted my stitches.
I wish someone wouldn’t accept me saying that I’m ok, and that I can do it a lone, because you can’t and should never go through this alone.
The role people played in getting through my illness and recovery were compartmentalized, and I feel lucky to have had people there for me at all. I know that one person shouldn’t be everything to you, but more than anything I wanted to be able to count on one person to be there in all of these ways. In my time of sorrow I needed someone who loves me unconditionally, and was wiling to suffer with me knowing that health and joy were just around the corner. All we needed to do was get through this together.