Jan 20, 2010

How Serious Was Our Promise?

What a week it has been for the White family.

To fill you on who the White family is, I shall explain; so that you will understand there actually is a White family and I am not just a racist.

The White family is my uncle Donald, my aunt Melba (go ahead and laugh at that name...we all do. It's a tad southern) and my cousins Meridith and Brandon (aka Bubba).

Meridith and Bubba should sound familiar to you, I spend almost every free moment with them.

When my UnkaDonald (and yes, I meant to type it like that because that is how Remi says it....all in one short breath) was 17 he was diagnosed with cancer. For a year of his life he spent fighting off cancer and won! But not without many radiation treatments in the process. Here we are some 30 years later and finding out that the radiation used in the late 70's, early 80's on some people caused a heart condition that literally makes their heart a "heart of stone."

Without trying to sound like I have a medical degree, because let's be honest, I don't and I'm pretty sure y'all could see right through the facade - my uncle Donald is, as of now, losing this battle.

On October 1st he went in to have a routine procedure done at a hospital in Houston and he hasn't been home since.

Neither has Melba.

For almost four months she has lived in a hospital room, made a bed out of recliner, showered in a small, sterile space with a shower head and eaten hospital food. She has made friends with nurses, exchanged Christmas gifts with hospital staff and loved and cared on the man she met when she was only 15. As she told me last night, "He's it for me." And he is.

It makes you really think about the fact that we promise "to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part."

Do we mean it? A month ago I asked The AG to see a Doctor about his cough; not because it worries me but because it drives me up a wall. When he pulled his shoulder out of alignment a few years ago I laughed until tears fell down my face. And when he took a really hard fall in a thunderstorm not too long ago - and could have broken a lot more than his pride - my only response was that I "could not believe I didn't have my camera with me."

Not that he is surprised by my lack of sympathy. He knew I had none when he married me. Who are we kidding? He married me for my hotness.

But would my commitment to him, the one I made before God and 400 friends and a really zealous photographer, would it kick in if that moment ever came?

Would I be willing to trade my bed for a plastic recliner?

Would I be willing to leave my cozy little cottage for a room that smelt like ammonia, needles and sadness?

Would I lovingly kiss the mouth of a man who hadn't been able to bathe, shave or laugh day after day, night after night?

Would I wake up every morning, get dressed, and begin talking to someone who couldn't speak back to me?

When I think about The Attorney General I don't hesitate for a moment to say unequivocally "yes", "yes, yes, yes, yes". But then I remember how selfish I am and how transparent I am. And how there would be days I would wish to be anywhere other than that room - and he would see right through me and know what I was feeling. But I suppose that's marriage 101, isn't it? Quickly we learn to see past our partners eyes and into their heart. And I would hope that he would see there was no one else on the earth I would do that for but him.

My intention was not to write this post. In fact, I need to go up and change the title of it before I finish because I had fully intended to tell you something funny that happened at the hospital yesterday with Meridith. Because as she can tell you, I delight in making her the butt of a lot of my blog fodder.

But as I started to write, this poured out of me instead...

I hope today - as you are flying around the house in that 15 minute window before your husband gets home, hurriedly picking up toys and laundry so that it will look like you spent all day doing it - I hope you take a minute and stop. Pour your honey a big glass of iced tea and meet him at the front door. Wrap your arms around him. Give him a big, fat healthy kiss. Tell him you missed him. Tell him you love him. Forgive him. For whatever. And hold him tightly.

Because no matter what he's done, ladies. He's yours. For better for worse, for richer for poorer. In sickness and in health.

And may we all, have the heart of my aunt - who admirably got up this morning, showered, read her Bible, kissed her husband (who may or may not have even felt her lips) and reminded herself, "He's it for me."


With love,
Melissa


22 comments:

Ashers G'ma said...

You do what you have to do, specially in hard times. It's amazing what you are capable of doing when things get tough, trust me we are there ourselves. My daughter left last week to go out of state to get radiation treatment for her son, they will be gone for 6 weeks. This is also the same girl that is scared to death to stay in her apartment alone at night. I'll pray for your uncle and your family, things will get better, they have to.

Lynda said...

What a lovely post. I am going to be an Aunt Melba today and love my husband up!

Soliloquy said...

Yep. I play for keeps.

But it doesn't hurt that with a simple, soft kiss I still go weak in the knees.

Mandy said...

I really needed this post today...thank you!

Tabi said...

Thank you for posting this, it is beautiful and I will be keeping your family in my prayers. I will go remember that for me The Big Daddy is it for me.

Stephanie said...

Melissa, You are so gifted at making me laugh...and think. Had to come out of hiding today to comment.

I loved this post.

Thank you for reminding me to be an Aunt Melba kinda wife. Sometimes I let the days go by without even being conscious of the goodness that is my hubby.So tonight I will cut down my scurry to 13 minutes and dedicate the last 2 minutes to fixin a big ol glass of iced tea and meeting him at the door. :)

Leah said...

Lifting your family up in prayer and thankful for the reminder that although there are times I want to kill the man, I need to take more time to appreciate him because he really is more awesome than I give him credit for!

Anonymous said...

The best thing about it is that she is it for him too. And they both have known that for a longgggg time.

Sissy said...

I've totally got tears in my eyes right now.

Thank you for this. I appreciate all the ways you share and let us in to your life. It's nice.

Hillary said...

Wow, that is beautiful. Thanks for reminding me how precious my husband is.

Deb said...

that is what marriage is about..too bad too many people take off when things aren't easy...personally I am in it for the long haul...good...bad...ugly...will be married 27 years next month...love to read your stories...

Karen Carter said...

That was such a great post! I am going to be more "Melba" for sure. My hubby teases me that I start out Florence Nightingale and end up "Nurse Ratchet" And it switches quick...after one day I am yelling "cant you suffer a little more quietly? I promise to be prayin for them both! Such a sweet precious example of love.

Desha said...

How do you bring me from laughter to tears just like that? Love this post, and I will be praying for you family.

oldwomaninashoe said...

Prayers for your family. I stood in a bathroom door in a hospital room almost three years ago & listened to my mother tell my Daddy, her one and only for 65 years, to "Go on and go now....I'll be there soon.". It was awful to hear but the depth of her love was evident.

A Musing Mom (Taylorclan6) said...

Wow. Thanks for the hard slap across the face. I needed it.

Katherine said...

Thank you, Melissa. God Bless Donald and Melba - they are traveling a hard road right now. We said goodbye to my daddy nearly a year ago. What a blessing to see what the love of 50 years can help you to endure and overcome - my mother took such good care of him, especially in the final months. That kind of love is truly from God Himself. May we all cherish those God has given us to love!

Mommy Cracked said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mommy Cracked said...

I just said a prayer for them. God love her....that is such a long time. I bet she never imagined.

This just really resonated with me because my mom went in to have surgery 2 weeks ago and is still there. My Dad has been so amazing, but my heart aches for him too, being 2 hours away from home.

nancy said...

I did not realize how much I loved my husband until the day he had open-heart surgery. We had been married 32 or 33 years and I remember thinking, "This man makes me so crazy sometimes I just want to pour honey and biting red ants all over him, BUT 32 (or 33) years married to him isn't long enough."
That epiphany shocked me! And it's true. It's almost 35 years, and I want to slap him silly at times, but 35 years with this man isn't long enough.

Carrie said...

Um, waaahhh... definitely hugging my hubby when he gets home- cause he's it for me! :(

Kate Jackson said...

WOW, Melissa. First of all, thanks, because I absolutely needed to think about that today. And second of all, thanks a lot for making me bawl like a baby in front of my second period class. Seriously, though, you completely captured the center of a love that is so beautiful.

Marci said...

your blog is the only one out there that can make me pee my pants laughing and then have me in tears. that was so sweet and heartfelt and it made me want to do exactly what you just said up there.

i'm so sorry about your uncle...