We Are Two People with One Heart
My home has been super quiet for the past several days, a silence that will continue for several more as my wife, Jill, visits our daughter on the East Coast.
Jill was supposed to be gone for only four days from Wednesday to Sunday, but her trip was extended when the airline canceled her return flight. Apparently, there weren’t enough passengers to make the flight financially viable. So, she’ll be gone for a week.
Jill was able to take the trip because part of it overlapped with her spring break vacation from work. Staying longer in Boston is not a big deal because she can work from there. As we all know, most of us are working remotely because remote is the new boat we are all floating in at the moment.
My dog and I are holding down the fort.
Not having Jill around is strange. We work 10 minutes away from each other, so back in the day when our jobs actually required us to be at work, we would commute together. I would drop her off first and then pick her up when we were done. We would shop together and hang out at home together. Not only do we love each other, but we also like each other’s company. She is my wife and my best friend.
Can you tell that I love being with her?
I saw a meme the other day that said: “I didn’t realize my wife and I had been social distancing for the past 43 years.” Ouch. How sad, I thought. Jill and I are part of what we refer to as a “squishy” family. Our daughter and our dog also are proud, card-carrying members.
Being apart from Jill makes me realize that I miss her. It also makes me realize that in the years ahead, as her Huntington’s disease progresses, she will experience many changes. She will be present, of course, but aspects of her will be missing. She won’t be as sharp. She might not be as joyful. She might retreat into herself more.
I am not daunted by this knowledge because I realize that her essence — all the aspects of her that make me smile or laugh or fill me with love — will remain because of our shared memories and love.
This is a lesson all caregivers must face: Change is part of life. Yet, I write this to inspire caregivers to focus on the love, and especially on what makes the relationship special.
Though her changes will cause Jill to suffer, what she means to me and who she is will not change, because love — if it is true love — is blind.
Although she may not be at home with me now, she is still with me, because when I feel my heart, I feel hers beating, too.
The poet John Keats, said it well: “Two souls with but a single thought, Two hearts that beat as one!”
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