The meaning of love evolves over our lifetime. This four-letter word seemed quite simple as a child and always within reach. I loved many things as a little girl; playing with my West Highland Terrier, “teaching” my stuffed animals, catching fireflies, and eating tasty cakes. As we become young adults we start to see and feel love in a different light. Love turns into something that, once experienced and if taken away, causes great heartache. As we continue to mature in life, love blossoms into something very desirable. It becomes an unexplainable appreciation of people and things. Something we all yearn to have, to feel, to sustain, to share.
Love is something hard to define but is a beautiful thing to feel. My dear husband, Noah, reminds me of this every day. As each health hiccup comes and goes, I am in awe by his devotion and it becomes more evident how vital caregivers are in our journey. I try to put myself in their shoes and some days think it is easier to be the patient.
During my last hospital stay, I was lying on the gurney while the nurse was trying to administer an IV. I looked into Noah’s eyes for strength as the nurse failed at numerous attempts. My thoughts were many and varied: In his past, did this remarkable 31-year-old man ever imagine marrying someone like me? Is this the life he wanted? Doesn’t he deserve better? How I wish I could give him more. Wouldn’t he much rather be doing a million other things than dealing with me and another health issue?
I have a tendency to over-think and worry about others more than myself. Our eyes remained locked and we both expressed a sigh of relief as the nurse was finally successful in administering the IV. The nurse cleaned up her supplies and left the room. Noah immediately got out of his chair and walked toward the side of my bed. The first words out of his mouth were, “Thank you for loving me.” I wondered what made him say that at that very moment. He took the words right out of my mouth!
Noah’s remarkable words of love spoken with impeccable timing like that are the best medicine. His commitment and interest in learning all he can about my health makes him an invaluable advocate. His willingness to share his life with me and take care of me when I am unable to care for myself is humbling. His strong eyes and comforting hands that rub my forehead are soothing to my body and soul. His tough love when I am being stubborn helps to ground me. His persistence to keep me happy and healthy is awe-inspiring. His willingness to wake up several times throughout the night to help sit me up and take pain meds is honorable. His hard work to provide me with the best life possible is admirable. His dedication, love, and support give me more strength than I think he will ever know. I never fathomed I would experience a love like his. I want him to know how proud I am of him. What an amazing man he is. I want him to know how priceless his love is and that he is making my challenging days so worth living. He makes me want to fight, to be a better woman, to make him proud.
Whether our caregivers are our husbands, wives, parents, siblings, children, relatives, or friends, they play an integral role in our care and our well-being. On Valentine’s Day, 189 million stems of roses are sold and 145 million Valentine cards are given in the U.S. On this loving holiday when our hearts are overflowing with joy, I would like to recognize and personally extend my sincere appreciation to the millions of caregivers out there that are caring for a loved one in need. Your love and your time mean the world to us and I commend all of you for your tireless dedication.
I would love to hear from you and encourage you to share what your caregiver means to you and how they help you on your journey with PKD.
I wish all of you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!
Happy Valentine’s Day Noah! Thank you for loving me.