Open letter to my husband as we approach our second anniversary

Dear Dermot,

Photo by Rene Rossignaud Photography

Photo by Rene Rossignaud Photography

Two years ago our preparations for our wedding day were in full swing. With just over two months to go, it might have seemed as though I was overly caught up in the details of that special day. I was of course really excited about the wedding. But I was most excited about becoming your wife and spending the rest of my life with you.

I can still hear the emotion in your voice as we exchanged vows. I meant every single word and I know you did too. You promised to be there “for better or for worse” and “in sickness and in health” but the “for worse” part probably came a bit sooner than you could have imagined.

Because I was chronically ill for 11 of the 22 months that we’ve been married (there’s our special number again). And now on the beautiful (but definitely bumpy) road to recovery for the past 5 months. 

It makes me sad to think that Mama has folded your socks about as often as I have. Not that you wouldn’t have folded your own socks to support me. But because she worried so much about you having to live with an ill wife that when I couldn’t fold your socks, she did. 

And many people worried that this big challenge our marriage was put through so early on would be too much for us. And I can’t deny that secretly I worried too. As I watched my life slip away from me, there were moments when I was angry and bitter. But (un)lucky for you, those moments seemed to have been reserved just for you.

When friends mentioned my "positive attitude", I wondered what they would say if they had seen me at my lowest. The way only you had seen me. Kicking the cold inflatable mattress that I had to sleep on instead of wrapped in your warmth on our comfortable bed, because the fire retardant chemicals in our mattress were making me ill. Or crying in desperation after throwing up for the umpteenth time that day.

I can still see those eyes of yours which I love so much filled with sorrow as you looked at me and for the first time since this had started poured your heart out to me. Told me how you didn’t know what to do any more. Because I was always either too ill to even speak or just angry and starting another fight with you.

So thank you Dermz for your raw honesty in that moment. Your eyes showed me how helpless I was making you feel. And that was the wake-up call I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and to stop making what was happening all about me. Because everything that was happening to me was affecting you just as much as, if not more than, it was affecting me. 

And it was also a wake-up call about the amazing side of it. That I was not in this alone. That we were in it together. And that you would hold my hand and walk with me through the storm.

I can never thank you enough for being my rock through it all. For never telling me to just buck up. For never complaining or making a fuss. Even when we had to do away with the sofa we had chosen together and both loved so much. And even when you gave away all our perfumes, including the amazing one you had just bought me. And for staying home with me so often when I was housebound even though you must have missed going out. 

Thank you for holding my hair and rubbing my back as I threw up. For lying near me on the inflatable mattress to watch TV. For knowing when I needed you to bend my toes because of the unbearable cramps. And for calming me down when I woke up screaming because of one of my really bad reactions. 

Thank you for finding a way to say all the things I needed to hear and for making me laugh even when I was feeling very low. And for learning some of the neural retraining techniques to be able to calm me down when I had a spike in my symptoms.

And thank you for never questioning anything. Sorry to say this but I’m quite sure I would have if it were the other way round. It’s definitely not easy for the partner of someone suffering from these types of mysterious and chronic illnesses.

I’m sorry that things were so difficult for you. When you wondered why you were finding it so hard to wake up in the morning I knew exactly why. Our lives were completely out of sync because I couldn’t sleep at night and couldn’t wake up in the morning. 

Now we can finally see the rainbow at the end of the storm. So although these two years haven’t been easy, I know we’re coming out of it stronger. Because you’ve literally held my hand and walked through the storm with me. I love this photo of us because you held my hand so tight that it reminded me how you’ll always be with me every step of the way, no matter where our journey takes us.

So what does it matter if you hang your wet towel over my dry one? I’ll still get annoyed and I’ll still nag about things like that, because that’s what I do and you might worry if I didn’t. But I now realise how unimportant these things are. And how amazing it feels to be going through life together.

So thank you, I love you and here’s to many more happy years together x x x