A Mother’s Love

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A mother’s love is something special, given freely and without expectation. A mother’s love is fierce and proud and often boasting. No one knows us like our mother. She knows about our secrets before we do.

A mother’s love is boundless and brave and faithful. A mother’s love comes from her wisdom and her good common sense. In our most troubled moments, it is our mother who knows the answer to our problems and encourages us to face our fears.

A mother’s love is guiding and example setting and full of insightful care and counsel. A mother’s love is enlightening, instructive and inspiring. When we are lost and unsure of what to do, it is our mother who is our beckon and our source of strength.

A mother’s love is gracious and kind and full of compassion. A mother’s love is respectful and dutiful and devoted. A mother’s love comes from her deep understanding of loyalty and allegiance to the purpose and value of family. It is a mother’s heart that holds these relationships together.

A mother’s love is unyielding and without end. A mother’s love never dies.

 

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Not Just My Disease

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I might be the one who is physically unwell but my sarcoidosis belongs to both my husband and I. This is not just my disease. We both endure the emotionally disquieting unpredictability of what my body will and won’t do each day. I’ve lost a lot but so has he. I’m not the same woman he married. In some ways, I hope I am better because I realize how important the real things are…like our marriage and my love for him. But, I’d be foolish or naive not to acknowledge that my diminished energy puts a damper on our lives together.

During this month dedicated to sarcoidosis awareness, I feel that I would be remiss if I did not take time to acknowledge that while there are parts of this journey I walk alone, most of it I walk hand in hand with my husband, my partner and my best friend. I would not be where I am without his unconditional and unwavering support. Yet, it is the very support that I know takes a toll on him. The stress of everyday life with someone who is chronically ill, unpredictable in their energy levels and foggy in the brain, is not easy. He takes it in stride and rarely lets me see his worry, his grief or his pain but we know each other too well for me not to know it is there.

This disease is not just mine. It belongs to both of us and I believe anyone who unselfishly stands by someone chronically ill deserves the courtesy of some kind of acknowledgement that we are aware of your sacrifice and that even when we fail to say it, we understand this disease belongs to more than just ourselves. It also belongs to any one brave and kind and loyal enough to trudge this uneven path of mixed up chaotic medical mayhem with us.

In the spirit of raising awareness, I am want my partner to know that I am utterly and completely aware of his commitment to me and that there simply are not enough words to share my gratitude and respect for him. This disease is not just mine. It belongs to both of us and together we are committed to living and loving our lives together despite whatever it might throw our way.

One Thing

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Most things fade. They turn to grey or deteriorate to dust. Most things wane. They shrink or dwindle. Most things weaken. They wither or wrinkle. Most things ebb. They retreat or pull back. Most things abate. They decline or let up. Most things moderate. They soften or grow boring. Most things deflate. They shrink or decay. Most things blanch. They become pale and bleached. Most things die. They expire or perish. 

One thing grows stronger. It is fierce and intense. One thing remains powerful. It is unstoppable and without end. One thing is true. It is potent and forever. One thing is secure. It is unbreakable. It does not bend. One thing is spirited. It remains deep and rich and bright. One thing is dazzling. It is vivid. It is vibrate. It is passionate. One thing is indomitable. It is invincible, courageous and brave. One thing is unshakeable. It is solid and unyielding. One thing is…my love for you. 

We Don’t Need Hearts And Flowers

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Today is Valentine’s Day. It’s a weird holiday. One of those made up ones for greeting card and flower sales, no doubt. But, I will say that any day that makes me stop and think about the man I love, is a good day and fortunately I have a lot of good days. I don’t need hearts and flowers to be reminded of my husband’s love.

A lot of women say they are the luckiest woman in the world because of the man they married but I truly am. I know this for so many reasons but when your “in sickness” vow is called upon, that’s when the real test begins and my sarcoidosis has been one big test.

My husband has stood by me through it all in a way that has drawn us closer rather than pull us apart. I owe most of that to his ability to see me despite my disease. He looks past it to who I really am and while he makes allowances for the sarcoidosis, he does not allow it to define me anymore than I do. He knows that despite being sick, I am still me, the woman he fell in love with and that is who he focuses on.

He doesn’t ignore my illness. He rubs my back lovingly when I have a coughing spell and can’t get any air. He asks me just about every day with caring concern how I feel. He reminds me to take my medications. Sometimes he pushes me to exercise and other times he knows when to help me pull back. The point is, he pays attention. He knows me in ways I don’t even know myself and he helps me see myself differently…beyond my disease.

I could go through this journey without him if I had to. I know that I am strong enough but there is not one single day that goes by that I don’t feel profound gratitude that I don’t have to.

Two Fathers…

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He wakes each morning before dawn leaving the house for a long day’s labor but not before he kisses his wife and kids goodbye. He works and he works hard. He does this for his family. He does this to provide. He does this to set an unspoken example that a man must act with responsibility.

He’s tired but he is kind to his family regardless of his fatigue. He sits at the dinner table in wonder of what he has created, full of humble gratitude for the blessing of his clan. Every night he prays for his kids. He hopes that their lives are filled with bounty and grace and the love of the Lord. He feels his own life has been blessed beyond measure but he can’t help but want more for his children. His love is this strong. His love is abiding and steadfast.

Now in the twilight of his years, his kids are grown, scattered here and there. They have families of their own. He knows and understands that they are busy living their lives. He does not feel slighted by their absence, instead he beams with pride because he knows his prayers have been answered. His kids are thriving beyond his wildest dreams. He knows his work is done. He can rest.

Another man makes different choices. He too rises for work early but he does not kiss his wife and kids goodbye and instead of coming home for dinner, he doesn’t come back at all. He leaves his family. He feels suffocated in their presence. He married too young and drinks too much.

This man is not kind to his family. He puts whisky and women before his obligations and eventually those obligations, primarily his children because he is divorced now, melt away. He is free or he tells himself that he is, despite the constant sore ache deep within his heart.

He travels the world for work and spends his money as fast as he makes it, living the party life. He does not check on his children, let alone pray for their well being. This man has made choices that are irrevocable. His life is adventurous but he is damaged, and at the core of his being he knows he has failed in a spectacular way. He cannot rest for when he tries, he finds himself consumed by the depths of self loathing that no man should suffer. All his best efforts to dodge the pain only end up feeding his unspoken sorrow.

Despite his failings, his children have grown and they too thrive in their own odd ways. He has not ruined them because they have learned, without any help from him or maybe perhaps because of him, the power of forgiveness. They forgive him and sadly have learned to expect nothing from him. It is they who have actually freed him, giving him a gift beyond measure…a gift he can’t help but squander.

Two fathers…one leaves a legacy and the other a tragedy.