Like most people, my wife and I have spent much of our 32-year marriage too busy to notice time slip away. One clear morning, we woke up as sixty-year-olds, with used-to-be kids living much as we had when we were young, leaving us to wonder what the hell happened.
I used to think the phrase “our time” was a hackneyed attempt to climb on society’s prescribed bandwagon just before twilight. Yet, as Parkinson’s progresses, the time spent with my wife is absent petty bickering, and the boundaries between “me” and “we” are adoringly blurred. Like no other, my wife recognizes that, for me, occasionally risky challenges are how I exercise my soul. Despite full-time work and being an involved, loving mother and grandmother, she still manages to act as my caregiver.
She is one of the few who “gets it” when I say I neither want nor deserve sympathy and that things are perfect exactly as they are. It is refreshing to be often still surprised by my wife’s thoughts and feelings. During a recent conversation, she appeared to be growing frustrated by my constant movements and slurred speech, irritants that can prove intolerable to watch. I asked her what was wrong. Her answer was not what I expected.
“Nothing is wrong. I was thinking of how often, day after day, you have to dig deep, I mean really deep, into reserves that you can’t even know are there.” No pity or sugary platitude; no drama, but instead a simple acknowledgment of what “is.” My wife is real.
I am grateful beyond words for my wife, a graceful angel of authenticity and exquisite spirit, as she reminds me through everyday actions that life is precious simply because it “is.” I love you, and Merry Christmas.