Last week, Al and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary. We agreed that we wouldn’t buy gifts. More important just to spend quality time together, a welcome break from the usual hectic midweek schedule.
We shared a quiet, delicious meal and a bottle of wine at our favorite Afghan restaurant. Then, on Saturday night, we enjoyed an extraordinary performance by Cirque de Soleil. And we began to plan our next trip for this coming summer—another special adventure to look forward to.
All of this was good and lovely and memorable.
But it was a very different kind of sharing on Sunday night that once again impressed upon me the blessings of our three-decades-plus marriage.
I was in the process of cooking dinner, when I reached out to open my small Cuisinart to chop up some parsley—and smashed the tip of my still-healing, infected digital ulcer on the gadget’s plastic top. It really, really hurt. Like slamming your finger in a car door.
I yelled and cursed as I walked in circles around the kitchen, trying to breathe my way through the sharp wave of pain. Usually this passes within a minute or so, but this time I really did a number on myself. The pain would not quit.
Al had been reading in the living room. In the midst of my outburst, he walked into the kitchen, opened his arms and gave me a big, soothing hug. It didn’t take the pain away, but it did help me to relax a little, the first step in gaining control of acute pain.
During the course of our meal, he proceeded to distract me, since I was still pretty uncomfortable. By the time we finished, with the help of some Tylenol, I was doing a bit better.
As Al washed the dishes, I reached into the cabinet near the sink for a mini Three Musketeers, left over from Halloween.
“You deserve that!” he said. I laughed, and agreed.
Just another episode of managing my scleroderma. We’ve been through this many times. He knows what to do, without my asking. And he never, ever complains about all the mishegas that this disease has brought to our marriage over these many years.
That is something worth celebrating. Love you, Al.
Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at livingwithscleroderma.com.
Image Credit: Naama y.m.