Reprinted with the kind permission of Ava Meena.
Mr. Meena: husband, engineer, son, roller coaster fanatic, birdy daddy extraordinaire.
My spouse is all of these things and more. But his most recent title is “carer.” My husband cares for me, but not just in the usual manner of a husband caring for a wife. He is a carer; he takes care of me because, as a chronic illness sufferer, I can’t always take care of myself.
While any chronically ill person has huge burdens to bear, it may not be obvious that their spouse is carrying difficult burdens too. People know about my situation and so they often ask, “How do you feel today?” but I’ve never heard them ask Mr. Meena how he is handling our situation. Perhaps they have not yet realized that my health situation is actually our situation – this is a shared reality. My husband does an incredible amount of work to help me and he certainly deserves recognition as well as thanks.
I spend so much time telling him thank you for everything he does for me. Sometimes I struggle with how repetitive that simple phrase seems. “Thank you” starts to lose its meaning and, quite frankly, I get tired of saying it. I am tired of needing to say it – of needing help at all. It’s hard to remain thankful when my level of dependency on my husband continues to increase.
On Being Thankful for My Spouse as a Chronic Illness Sufferer
Thank you for going to work every day and supporting us.
Thank you for making things work on one income.
Thank you for coming home and taking care of things after a long work day.
Thank you for being 95% of the physical manpower in our home.
Thank you for cleaning the dishes.
Thank you for going grocery shopping.
Thank you for keeping our home clean and organized.
Thank you for finishing all the chores I start and then give up on halfway through.
Thank you for listening.
Thank you for being patient.
Thank you for checking in throughout the day.
Thank you for being compassionate when my pain makes me angry.
Thank you for helping me bathe when I’m extremely pained or fatigued.
Thank you for helping to sit or stand up when I need assistance.
Thank you for going to family events alone when I have to stay home and rest.
Thank you for being willing to care for me on so many different levels.
Thank you for driving me to the doctor.
Thank you for picking up my prescriptions.
Thank you for handling the health insurance claims.
Thank you for educating yourself about my conditions.
Thank you for taking me to support groups.
Thank you for encouraging me to travel despite the difficulties.
Thank you for thanking me when I manage to accomplish something.
Thank you for when I can’t say thank you.
Thank you for being generous when it comes to my comfort.
Thank you for fixing everything that you are able to fix.
Thank you for giving up to much of your free time to care for me.
Thank you for so frequently putting your needs second.
And thank you for always being willing to take on new titles for me.
Ava Meena is a US based travel and chronic illness blogger. She discovered a love of travel while living in Germany for a year. On her blog, she shares her life and travels with lupus, fibromyalgia, and other physical ailments.