Leaning on the Network

I am truly grateful for my network of family and friends who have been helping me during the current medical crisis that my spouse is dealing with. The outpouring of support has been beyond phenomenal.

I posted a short note on a social network, and the outpouring of love blew me away. Literally hundreds of messages of support, which buoyed my worried soul more than my friends realize. Thank you, thank you.

Saturday evening, I had an important family function that I could not miss. However, my spouse …

… was not well at all and I was concerned about leaving him alone. He is not so sick that he could not take care of himself for a few hours. Nonetheless, when he gets this way, he needs someone nearby. He will not admit it, but he becomes anxious when he is alone during times of medical crisis.

I called on a senior pal who I regularly take grocery shopping and who my spouse knows and likes to come stay at our house while I went to my family event. My spouse at first said, “don’t do that — don’t put (M) out.” He wanted me to stay home and not go to the family event. He does not have the same deep relationship with his only sister, and has never really understood why at times I insist on visiting my family and showing my love. But he also knows me well enough to know that sometimes, I believe that some family events and activities are “must-dos” and attending is not optional. (Goodness knows, I have blown off or not attended hundreds of less important family events over the years.)

My friend M did more for me than my spouse that night. My spouse slept and did not need any help. But she gave me great comfort to know that I could attend this family function knowing full well that if anything happened, she was there and could help, and call me if necessary.

But other than this important family event — to recognize and extend love to my sister and her husband on their 50th anniversary — I have otherwise cleared my calendar for the next several weeks. I have declined invitations to my employer’s holiday party, and other holiday parties being given by friends who invited “us” but knowing only I would attend since my spouse remains among the most non-social guys on the planet.

I am very focused on caring for my spouse through this medical situation. Remembering our marriage vows —

… to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health….

Life is short: a network is incredibly important to sustain one’s soul.