“I think it’s time to just call it quits,” he announced to his wife as he quietly closed the car door after the doctor’s visit. His voice had the ring of determination to escape the fear and hurt rolled in sheer desperation.
Quietly his wife of 30 years looked at his downcast eyes. She knew he had gone to the doctor and knew within her heart that her treasured husband was as always putting his own needs last and her concerns first. She took a long time to answer. They never argued in heated terms or confronted openly whatever “bomb” had ever dropped by circumstance onto their marriage. She looked lovingly at his slumped shoulders and slightly shaking hands.
“Is that what you really want, Husband,” she queried with thoughtful consideration of why after all these years he could possibly make that type of announcement. Never had he done so before. She knew he really experienced a lot of frustration with his demanding job and even her attitude of always wanting to get things done right then in contrast to his normal easy-going-way. Her heart seemed stuffed into her throat.
She continued, “Do you have a reason for this change of heart, literally, that you no longer want or need me?” And she again waited patiently for him to find right words to really express himself since he had always told her he could never quite say the right things.
His fingers gripped the steering wheel and, finally, he turned and looked her squarely in the face with both sadness and determination written in his eyes. “The doctor’s told me I am a severe diabetic. You don’t need any invalid any time.”
“And just where do you plan to live?”
“I haven’t got that far,” he said. “I only know I don’t want to be a burden on you ever.”
She lovingly took his hand from the steering wheel. “My precious husband, how can you say you cannot ever be a burden to me? You are my other half of my being. You have loved me through so many tough times—college, first years of marriage, two sons and all that they bring, early married years with no money--that is just living to me. If our lives must now face the hardship of any physical problem, then that is just a part of life. I cannot imagine my life without you.”
“But I can go blind, have my feet amputated, go on kidney dialysis, and even become impotent,” he tried to paint her life with him to come.
His wife, even though those words finally tumbled to the surface with an ever increasing crescendo of tragedy after tragedy, again answered, “God gave you to me and I know I will always know your love. Please know, I am ready to care for you, tend to you, and be with you as long as God allows us together. I want that ‘till death do us part- –remember, in our wedding?”
He finally smiled, shook his head. His mind started to protest, but he knew from the way she looked at him that she meant exactly what she said. He quietly drew her to him and held her close.
Finally he echoed her words, “ ‘till death do us part.”
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