For the unsung heroes….

January 9, 2011

To paraphrase a well known saying I think that behind every seriously ill person there is an unsung hero – in my case, my husband.

I’m not sure that when he signed up for “in sickness and in health” on 17 July 1993 he had imagined that this clause was already going to come into effect in our mid-forties. Seriously, if we think about that at all when we get married, don’t we imagine ourselves in our doddering old age, so far off that it isn’t really worth worrying about?

If you have been following my blog regularly you have probably already realised what a star my husband has been throughout this whole thing, but so far I’ve only alluded to it and I think it is about time I publically acknowledge how heroic he really has been.

 When you are a family of four, life is pretty hectic at the best of times. When Mum gets a cancer diagnosis, it adds a whole other layer of emotional and practical upheaval. I’ve deliberately stayed away from blogging about the effect of all this on our children because I believe they have a right to their privacy, but at 12 and 14 at the time I was diagnosed you don’t have to be particularly empathetic to realise that it has been a very tough time for them too. And for six months, give or take, not only did I not contribute to the project management or practical running of our family, I added an extra burden.

Throughout all this, E kept the whole thing running smoothly. He shopped, cooked, made sure the kids got where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there, helped with their home work, made packed lunches, did laundry AND shopped/cooked special food for me, came with me to hospital appointments and provided me with endless moral and practical support and sympathy. And let’s get this clear; while I have done my best to put on a brave face for the outside world, E is the one who has been witness to the moaning, groaning, weeping and wailing so the fact that he NOT ONCE has been impatient with me is miraculous. Oh, and did I mention that he has, of course, been working full-time throughout – since I haven’t been able to earn a bean, we’ve been totally reliant on his salary.

The thing about unsung heroes is that, well, they are unsung. While I have bathed in sympathy and admiration, it has been seldom that anyone has thought to ask E if HE is doing OK (lots of people have asked him if I am doing OK) or told him what an amazing job he has been doing. There are exceptions of course – his employers have been fantastic and given him a lot of moral and practical support in terms of increased flexibility to take care of his family – and some friends have also remembered to ask him how he is doing, or for example, cleared up the whole house before leaving after being here for a visit, so he wouldn’t have to do it. And I have tried to remember to say thank you to him every day. I am overwhelmed by what he has done for me.

But E is one of many heroes. Just in my immediate family, my Mum is currently providing endless support to my Aunt who is ill and has been in hospital for many weeks and my Mother-in-Law is doing the same for my Father-in-Law who is poorly.

So this is my little tribute particularly to E, but also to my Mum and my Mother-in-Law and also to all the other unsung heroes out there.

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