My wife is extremely low maintenance. For instance, she’s allergic to chocolate and flowers, so she doesn’t want either for Valentine’s Day. Even if she weren’t allergic, she still wouldn’t want them because she believes Valentine’s Day is a manufactured holiday. So we essentially don’t acknowledge it. (However, to her credit, she believes that every day is Valentine’s Day, and if you understand love, you will know that she means that every day should be spent showing the one you love that you love them. Because I’ve been the recipient of her love every day, I know exactly what she means.)
Jill’s the type of person who would rather give than receive. She is most happy when others are happy. She once got an expensive Kate Spade handbag as a Christmas gift and gave it to our daughter without hesitation.
Since her diagnosis with Huntington’s disease — which, as it progresses, will cut the quality and length of her life — I’ve asked her if she has a bucket list. She doesn’t. All she wants to do is hang out with family as she’s always done.
One of the many reasons I love Jill is her simplicity. She knows what’s important in life — our daughter, our dog, me, and our families — and eliminates 99 percent of things that would be unwelcome distractions.
Because Jill deserves it, I want to make her as happy as I can. I also realize that I can’t force someone to be happy, but I can help make her life a little easier. So with that in mind, when Jill wants something — and trust me, her wants are so simple compared to most people’s desires — I try to make it happen.
For instance, her recliner was getting old and lumpy. That prompted her to look for sofas on the internet because she wanted something we could sit on together. What she found was super: a sofa with reclining bucket seats, adjustable power headrests, a center drop-down table with a docking station, LED-lit cup holders, built-in power buttons with USB ports, and flip-up padded armrests with hidden storage underneath.
In other words, this was a super sofa: super comfortable and super expensive. I immediately told her that we needed to buy it. I love the sofa, but she really loves it. And that’s all that matters. She’s super happy with it, and that makes me ecstatic. She desires so few things that I was overjoyed that she actually wanted something.
But here’s the point: I know Jill. I know what’s in her heart. She could be angry that she has this horrible disease, but she’s not. She could be in denial, but she’s not. She accepts her illness and knows what’s important in life: love, family, and the little moments. What an inspiration for all of us who are healthy and constantly chasing our happiness in unhealthy ways. Simple is better. Love is the glue.
This morning, Jill wanted to skip eating breakfast at home and pick up something at McDonald’s on the way to work. (We work several miles away from each other, so we drive in to work each morning together.) She does this sometimes as a way to break the morning routine, but also to save energy. I was going to skip eating breakfast at home so that there was enough time to stop at McDonald’s to pick up her breakfast. She immediately said she would eat at home so that I could eat at home too.
I stopped her mid-sentence. I told her that it was not a big deal for me to eat my breakfast on our way to work. That was insignificant to the joy I would feel that she got to eat the breakfast she wanted: a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit with two hash browns. She loves this breakfast. It makes her happy.
I love making her happy because time is precious. So if you are reading this: Simplify your life. Remember that love is the glue. That happiness could be as simple as eating a McDonald’s breakfast in your car while snow swirls around you on your drive to work.
Note: Huntington’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Huntington’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Huntington’s disease.