We all know the words, “in sickness and in health.” When many our age, (before writing your own vows was popular) took our wedding vows, we probably actually heard the phrase for richer or for poorer.” “In sickness and in health” was for old people and that was too far into the future. We would not need to worry ourselves with that for a very long time. However, as a married midlife Blogger, this phrase is now very clear to me.
Recently, my husband had one of his hips replaced. Wait, that’s for old people, right?
I am employed by a senior community and hip, knee and overall joint replacements are common discussions. In fact, when Scott attended the “information day” for his surgery, he returned home only to say he was the youngest prospect in the room AND the only hip replacement. So, I ask the question again, hip replacement…its for the old right? No. Scott is 60 years of age and the reason he has chosen to have the surgery is so that he can have quality of life as an individual, as well as a husband. There have been those individuals who have their opinion about this but that is an entirely separate blog.
I am not the best nurse. My two grown sons will tell you this. But over the last few weeks, in watching Scott prepare for his surgery, I realized that I would need to prepare myself for HIS surgery. Tasks that were all his have become mine. I now walk the dogs, take out the trash, go to the grocery, do all of the driving, in addition to working a full-time job.
Tomorrow 3/29 is the anniversary of the passing of my own mother. She was very ill for most of my life. During that time, I watched my own Dad care for her. Many days he sat at the hospital at her bedside (prior to cell phones). When she was home, he was cooking, cleaning and caring for four young children who grew into teenagers with much different needs. All of this while working a full time job. At night, after everyone else had gone to bed, he would remain awake in his chair. I now realize it was to have time for himself.
But time marches on. Everything truly does come full circle and I have been able to get my head around all of this. I realize the words “in sickness and in health” are not just words. They are a commitment. Oh, I knew this, but I had not lived it. Although I had watched my parents live it, it was not me and they were old. Right?
I think about couples who live this commitment out on a daily basis. You know, those like my Mother and Dad. Those whose life situations have changed permanently and they didn’t run away…”in sickness and in health.”
I am an independent woman. Before marrying Scott 20 years ago, I did all the things mentioned above that I am now doing again, without ever giving it a second thought. After marrying Scott, he was the greatest supporter of my independence, at the same time, he was an example of true partnership and we learned to share responsibilities.
So, now it is my turn. I will think about my own vows, “in sickness and in health” and I will do what is necessary to help my husband return to his own independence, so that we can again partner. And not if, but when life’s seasons challenge our health or independence, I will once again remember the commitment of my vow, “In sickness and in health.” It’s called the circle of life.