Back in May and June of this year, I was hospitalized for 34 days. I had become sick after we traveled from our home to our summer seasonal job in Arizona at the Grand Canyon. While I was lying in that hospital bed, out of it most of the time, my husband was working 200 miles away. Every week without fail, he drove that 200 miles from the North Rim to Flagstaff, to sit with me by my bed for two or three days, then drove the 200 miles back to the job at the end of his time off. I know this sounds like just a really normal thing to do, but when you think about it, how many of you have a spouse who would do that, lovingly, for over a month.
My husband and I are 63 and 60. On my sixtieth birthday, I was wheeled into an operating room two thousand miles from my family, and 200 miles away from my husband, to have surgery for a life threatening condition. I was terrified that I would never again see any of the people I loved most in the world. But when I woke up after that surgery, the very first thing I saw was the face of my husband. He had dropped everything on the job and jumped in the truck to drive that 200 miles to be there for me. Knowing that the man I have been married to for twenty years cared enough to be there helped me far more than any medicine the doctor could give me.
I think it is at this point that I have to tell you that the only reason he left me in the hospital and went back to work is because after the first seven days we had no idea how long I would be there. He told me later that I shook my finger at him and told him he was not doing me any good being there, when he should be working. We were quickly running out of money, and I told him instead of him paying for motel rooms and meals, he should be back up at the job. So, he left.
After what seemed like forever, after several complications and two weeks in ICU, I was finally discharged and allowed to go home. By the time I got home, I was exhausted from the trip. I went into the bedroom to get ready for bed. My husband came in to help me. I was barely able to stand up on my own, so I was using a walker that the doctor sent home with me. I had never felt older or less desirable in my life! I had not had a shower in quite a while, and my hair had not been properly washed and brushed in a month. I had a gigantic scar that was still held together with what looked like 10 lb. fishing wire, and a colostomy bag hanging from my abdomen. But, when I got undressed, and took off my bra, and those old sagging bosoms fell down toward my waist, the look on my husband’s face and in his eyes told me more than words ever could. He loves me, no matter what. And THAT is what marriage should look like.