While my spouse remains ill, and I had to have him hospitalized on Monday night to have an infusion to regain hydration, he has returned to a “more normal” self, especially in his manner of accepting my caregiving, his mother’s incessant questions, and eating better.
I chalk all this up too…
…my uncle’s chicken soup and the spirit of my uncle’s love that we feel whenever we eat “his” soup. I have made this recipe of chicken soup, passed to me by one of my favorite uncles, for a long, long time. It has cured the common cold, and my heart when I have felt down. My spouse and I love it, and I make it often.
Well, the soup’s magical curative powers are part of it. It has been the only food he has been able to eat in a sufficient amount to ward off the evil spirits that visit him, driven by how the bacteria that cause his illness produce toxins that affect his brain.
I know when he is under the influence of his illness that he is not himself. Man, I’ve been through that for ten.whole.months throughout 2012. Wasn’t easy… but the bright side is that when he recovered, he acknowledged how awful it must have been for me. I know the current situation will resolve equally — just not right now.
I am a man of deep faith. I care, and care hard. I won’t let a disease’s “voice” keep me from caring for the man I have loved for over 20 years, and married this year when we were legally allowed to do so in the state of my birth and where we have built our home.
I have faith that love will prevail, persistence will see success, and my beloved spouse will recover given time, adherence to his doctor’s strict treatment protocol, and ongoing gentle love and care.
I have faith that my patience is deep enough to let things roll off my shoulders. I have rather broad shoulders, I can handle it.
But I also am deeply blessed by a wonderful, loving family who are caring for me while I’m caring for my spouse. My brothers and sisters have been with me, by my side and on the phone and everywhere else. Six of them stayed with me for an hour or two, spelling each other, throughout the night that I was waiting in the hospital with my spouse. I was never alone.
Sister “M” took my mother-in-law out for the day today so I could have quiet time with my spouse — just “us” and to let him get some rest. Twin brother “J”, though not physically present, is connected to me with that “twin thing” and calls precisely when I need to hear his voice, when I need to vent, and when I just need him.
Big brother “M”, a physician, is great with a review of plans that I have to recommend to my spouse’s primary doc for “treatment tweaks.” It’s great to have a doctor in the family.
And I cannot thank my legion of “senior pals” enough who have gone out of their way to help. From staying with my spouse last weekend when I drove to Pittsburgh to pick up my mother-in-law, to going grocery shopping for me (instead of the usual other-way-around) so I could have the fresh ingredients required to make my uncle’s soup.
I have always said that I live in a great community where we support one another — right here in sprawling suburbia.
I believe —
- I believe in service to others.
- I believe in caring for my neighbor.
- I believe in doing. Not just sitting and watching, but doing.
- I believe in being patient until things happen, and nudge ’em along when needed.
- I believe that a smile is the best gift to give to others.
- I believe that life is full of surprises and without them, life would be awfully dull.
- I believe in holding friends close, and family closer.
- I believe in my spouse, wholeheartedly, without reservation or equivocation.
- I believe that joy comes to those who share joy.
- I believe in Santa. Well, in his magic, his spirit, and his love.
- And yeah, I believe in love. Love is the only thing you get back more of the more you give it away.
- I believe that God loves all of us, including us gay guys as well as the homophobes. God loves all — it is religion that causes separatism and some people to display hatred, which is what God teaches us is a sin.
As Susan Walker said in Miracle on 34th Street:
“I believe… I believe… It’s silly, but I believe.”
And to quote (badly) from the title of another Christmas classic, I kinda believe that I have a wonderful life.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Believe in yourself, believe in your fellow man, believe in your heart, and believe in life!
Life is short: Believe!