Homecoming

My wife is coming home from the hospital today.  She’s had surgery.  Cancer surgery.  She’ll be in pain.  She’ll be weak and weary. She’ll need lots of help. I’ll be her helper.  One hospital nurse murmured “Oh, Dear” when she learned the family caregiver is blind, but my wife told her not to worry, that I’m caring and capable.

It’s important for me to make things nice for my wife, to help her feel good when she’s feeling bad.  I place fresh flowers on her bed tray.  I soak her pajamas in Downy until they feel like butter.  I make sure the clean, crisp bedding will lie gentle on her skin.

I’ll be part of the healing.  I’ll rub her back when the rest of her hurts.  I’ll tell a joke without   trying to cheer her up.  I’ll listen to what she wants and needs without thinking I know what’s best for her.

I’ll help by sharing myself.  I too have cried, “This can’t be happening.”  I too have lived with a body that betrays.  But this is not about me.  She helps with my struggle as I help with hers. We adapt to life as change.  We are different, not less than, what we were before.  We relearn that our strength comes from surrender and acceptance.

Where we unite on the most elemental level is that we have no answers.  I clean the house, tell a joke and hold her hand because that’s all I can do. We are humbled by this life force.  Like Gatsby, we “beat on, boats against the current.” Our challenge is to align with the tide.

My wife is coming home from the hospital today.  She’ll be home for Christmas.  Together, we find comfort and joy.  We wish comfort and joy for you.

Note:  Jeff’s favorite audio version of The Great Gatsby is NLS BARD catalog # DB 16147, read by the incomparable Alexander Scourby.

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8 Responses to Homecoming

  1. Tib says:

    Dear Jeff-
    Thank you for this insightful and so human essay. This describes very beautifully what a caring (and caregiving) relationship is. Is it all right if I share it in a Facebook group for multiple myeloma caregivers?
    Wishing you and your beloved time, rest, quiet and healing over the holidays and ever after.
    Tib

  2. Maggie says:

    You have brought me to tears today. I can so relate to everything you have written. I wish you and your wife a Merry and Blessed Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

    Maggie

  3. clark94901 says:

    Jeff, I am all choked up. I wish you and your wife comfort and joy in each other’s company. You are very fortunate to have each other. My warmest wishes for good health and peace in 2016. Susy

  4. Kim says:

    Thank you for sharing this incredible milestone with us. I will think about you and your wife all through the holidays — and beyond. ❤ ❤

  5. Kent Flodin says:

    Well … I simply love it and share it.
    Comfort and joy.

  6. Jeff Flodin says:

    Thank you all for your kind words. Tib, yes, please use “Hommecoming” as a way to help others. Comfort and joy to all.

  7. Roger James says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your wife. My wife is a breast cancer survivor, so we know what you both are going through.

    Roger

  8. Ann Kleboe says:

    My daughter and I are keeping you both in our prayers. Thank you for sharing.
    Love and peace, from your former classmate in Beth’s writing class at the Chicago cultural center.
    I am now living in NC with my daughter.
    Ann Kleboe

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