Absence and the Heart

photo by Frank Selmo via WANA Creative Commons


Next month my husband and I will celebrate our 16th anniversary. Like every couple, we’ve had our ups and downs, though the last few years have been challenging. We’ve definitely been through a lot together: surgeries, illnesses, the loss of both of our  grandmothers and then our mothers, several unexpected moves, and a 500 mile move from Tennessee to Florida. Keep in mind, neither of us had ever lived anywhere but Southeast Tennessee—except, oddly enough, a childhood summer Ricky spent in Jacksonville. There was a bit of culture shock.

Over the last few months, our marriage has been through some especially rough patches that tested our love and commitment to each other. First it was me, flu, severe bronchitis, then pneumonia. I was in survival mode, spending all my time in the recliner except for when I had to drag myself up for the bathroom or something. On the plus side, I had plenty of time to think.

More recently, my husband was diagnosed with a health issue that without a lifestyle change could be life threatening. Before we had time to deal with that, he was admitted to the hospital with another problem that required surgery followed by  weeks in skilled care rehab. He was finally home recovering when an insurance issue lost him his home health care and sent him back to the hospital and another 6 weeks in skilled care rehab. He’s finally home! He’s weak and has a long way to go, but he’s getting better.

We’ve obviously had a lot of time apart recently, and we both had to face what life would be like without the other. In this case, absence did make the heart grow fonder. Two hearts, actually.  We realized how much we love each other, and came to appreciate how precious life is.

So here we are, two disabled people struggling, as individuals and as a couple, to make our way in a world that we don’t fit easily into. Maybe that’s the biggest thing we have in common: our shared experiences with hospitals, doctors, and being different.

Or maybe it’s our shared love of dachshunds and hatred for Jello (yuck!)


Have a wonderful weekend!


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