Valentine’s Day, a holiday my wife doesn’t believe in, has come and gone. Jill sees the day as a manufactured holiday. She believes that every day should be like Valentine’s Day — in other words, you should show love every day to the ones you love.
We don’t make grand gestures such as exchanging cards, flowers, or balloons. No Hollywood-styled romance exists in her playbook, nor do Hallmark-themed clichés. Just little actions that add up to show love for the other person.
Her style is constant and consistent. She is patient, kind, thoughtful, and forgiving. Her ways of showing love, as defined by the “five love languages,” are “quality time” and “acts of service.” Mine are “physical touch” and “words of affirmation.”
As a writer, words are precious to me. So, dear readers, please indulge me as I dedicate this column as a love letter to my wife.
You and I spent Valentine’s Day morning at the Huntington’s Disease Society of America Center of Excellence at Northwestern University in Chicago, where you are a patient. I made a vow to take time off work to accompany you to every doctor visit, and I’ve been able to keep that promise so far. I don’t ever want you to think that you’re alone in dealing with Huntington’s.
One of the things I most love about you is your ability to be truly present with me. This world can be so narcissistic. Think of how many selfies have been posted on the internet in the past few years. That is not how you are — you are all about making me feel that I’m not alone.
So, out of gratitude, I don’t want you to feel alone with your disease.
What I also love about you is how you accept life no matter what kind of curveballs it throws at you. This acceptance requires an inner balance that is rare to find in others. It means you fully live because you are present in the moment. Your ability to be in the moment allows you to be a great listener and advice-giver, and a calm person, no matter what storm is brewing in your life.
Before your diagnosis, you taught me the best way to live: to be generous of spirit, to laugh often, to not sweat the little things, and to give all of yourself all of the time.
After your diagnosis, you are teaching me the best way to accept death: to fully love life and others and treat each day as if it’s Valentine’s Day.
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.
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