I remember the night of Molly’s diagnosis. We were sitting in the hospital. We had just finished getting the news that not only did she have a tumor, but there is a 0% survival rate. “Your options are radiation to buy more time, palliative care can be set up, or you can do radiation THEN palliative care.” You would think with that kind of news there would not be much more to talk about. Seemed pretty straight forward. But then there was Dr. Bob. He is our Palliative Care doctor (hospice). Think Santa Claus. Jolly laugh. White beard. Rosy cheeks.
When he walked in the room, I think I had already shut down some. I needed to digest all that I had just heard from the Oncologist and the Radiation Oncologist. But something about the way he talked perked up my ears and I started to listen. After the preliminaries were done, he dove right into the heart of our family… Peter and I.
“Let’s talk about you two. You need to date. This may not seem important right now, but it will be. You need one another. Your children need you. What a shame it would be that your daughters not only lose their sister, but you two as well.”
He went on to tell us that he has seen too many times couples split once a child is gone. The grief, stress, and hurt are too great. And they don’t nourish what they have as a couple.
Now, it may seem odd that I am about to delve somewhat into my own marriage, given that about 95% of you are strangers. But I figure at this point… who cares. You already know pretty much everything already. And more importantly, this is real. This is our life. DIPG is not just headaches and steroids. It’s so much more. It’s anger. It’s adjusting. It’s stress… for everyone. It’s unexpected. It’s ugly. And this carries into every area of life. Kids, school, marriage…
Peter and I met at a hardware store where we worked. He had eyes for me a little sooner than I did for him simply for the fact that he was always hiding in his department doing work. (Imagine… doing work!) But when I finally noticed him, it was love at first laugh. Yep. Not at sight, (although I think he’s a hunk 😉 but with our conversation. We had an instant friendship and it’s been that way ever since. We have always relied on our ability to communicate and enjoy one another. We honestly rarely fight. But when we do, I will be the first to say, it’s my fault… 99.9% of the time. The other .1% is so minor we move on fast.
But since Molly’s diagnosis, life has changed. In many ways. It’s easy to cling to one another when the grief is so raw. So real. But as time went on, and we started treatments, without us even noticing, we began to drift. Not intentionally of course. Just because we simply didn’t fight for that time we needed. Add in six weeks of radiation (and family constantly in our home), almost 3 weeks with more family in NY, and you can see where I’m going. We came home feeling more like roommates than husband and wife. We just went through the toughest, most unexpected battle… we were blindsided. And even the strongest marriage would have been shaken.
But like I always say, but then God… He is so good to us. We forgot. And He reminded. We looked away. And He redirected. We tensed. And He was our muscle relaxer. When I was at the end of my rope, not sure what to do next, literally crying in the bathroom asking God what to do next. I heard Him whisper to read Psalm 37.
With my best argumentative rebuttal, I said, “But I know what that chapter says. I will get nothing out of it.” Can you imagine? I slowly got up, grabbed my Bible and began to read. Never before have I felt such a presence from the Lord. It literally felt like I was being washed. All my anger, bitterness and confusion about this thing called Marriage fell off my shoulders and I basked in the glory that is God.
“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart… Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him… Cease from anger…he is their strength in trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them…and save them, because they trust in him.”
This is what I got from all this. It’s hard. We are in trouble… constantly. But if my desire is to please God, which it truly is, then he will take care of this thing called life. This thing called marriage. Does that mean we sit back and let him do everything? NO. We are going to fight. Fight for our vows. For one another. For our family. It’s not easy but an easy life has never been promised to us. But other things have… lots of things. One being above… HE will help us.
Why did I post all this?
Well, for a couple reasons. One, to show reality. We didn’t think all the things we face on a regular basis would even exist three months ago. But they do. So we adjust. We work harder. We keep going. Secondly, I just wanted to encourage someone out there that is struggling with their marriage. It’s worth fighting for. It’s worth the effort. Why? If anything, to the One that created it, you bring Him glory when your marriage reflects him. We are not perfect by any means. We don’t have all the answers. We need help more than ever as the road ahead is so unsure. But I want to trust that God will be there every step of the way.
So if I was to add a prayer request for our family, tonight’s would be our marriage. Without one another, we would be a big failure. Our children need us. They need us healthy and happy.
One last thing, for those of you who follow the page and didn’t expect to get all these extras, I apologize in advance. But this is US. And I can’t share a part of this journey without sharing all of it. Feel free to read the parts you wish. 🙂
Posted January 11, 2015