Part of your life

Jeff and I spent Thanksgiving, our shared birthday, and most of December, 2014  at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

Jeff and I spent Thanksgiving, our shared birthday, and most of December, 2013
at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

“Trouble is part of your life, and if you don’t share it, you don’t give the person who loves you a chance to love you enough.”Dinah Shore

Jeff is a pretty tough guy.  In more than 25 years of Air Force service, I don’t recall him ever taking a single sick day until he was diagnosed with cancer in late 2012.  Sometimes I think that the physical suffering he has endured, as mind-boggling as it has been, is less burdensome to him than the psychological need to be well and working and taking care of everyone else.

As crazy as it will sound to people who haven’t been through something like this themselves, there have been many special moments in the past two years, even in the hardest of times.  I am thankful for every minute we have been able to be together through everything, thankful I could sleep in his hospital room and be with him at home as he recovered from surgery and sit through chemotherapy sessions and doctor’s appointments.  In many ways, I feel closer to him than ever before because of what he has shared with me.

Sometimes one of the best ways to defeat despair is to allow others to walk with us through pain or sorrow.  It doesn’t come naturally for most of us, in a world that is often shallow and uncomfortable with the less appealing truths about the universal human condition.  But masking grief and suffering only makes it worse.

If you are struggling with trouble of any sort, I hope you will be willing to talk openly about it with a kind and trustworthy loved one.  None of us wishes illness or grief on anyone, least of all those we love dearly, but it is a privilege to walk beside someone who needs our companionship and values our support.  May we all have the heart to give and receive this very special form of love.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.

5 Comments

  1. Connie Reed

    Julia, what a wonderful blog! I could so relate to your writings, because as you know, I have experienced 21 years with my husband, Doug and his illness. What would we have ever done without God in our lives and our great friends that we share his journey with. We truly have learned who our true friends and family are during these times. Thank you for your words and all the encouragement you provide through your writings.

    • Connie, you are welcome. It’s quite a sisterhood we share, in more than one way! There are so many things we learn from our struggles, that we likely could not have learned in any other way. Stay strong my friend! Galatians 6:9

      • Connie Reed

        Thank you my sweet friend!!

  2. Judy

    This is such a tender photo of you and Jeff together, each of you smiling and relaxed. It must have been very comforting to him to have you there. I wonder who was behind the camera and was able to capture this special, beautiful moment of togetherness?

    • Judy, I honestly don’t remember. It could have been my sister or our son, both of whom spent Thanksgiving at the hospital with us while Jeff was struggling to survive a grueling two-day surgery that left him under anesthesia overnight until the surgeons could complete the operation the next morning. But I think they had left by the time our birthday rolled around. Probably it was a nurse who offered to take the photo.

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