Hello, my name is Rich and I am the husband to a woman with a chronic illness called fibromyalgia.
First off, I want to state I am no hero or saint. In my private moments the frustrations and sadness can be near intolerable. An unseen enemy has taken captive the girl I fell in love with and tortures her daily. The creature laughs, hidden, knowing all I can do is watch.
I have no weapon to brandish. The villain has no cause to think twice about attacking. There is no potion I can brew to poison the beast. All my armor, training, and valiant white stead are useless to help the damsel in distress.
I believe most men can relate to that image. A protector, a fighter of battles, a hero in the eyes of your woman. Isn’t that what we wanted to be when we asked for their hand.
So, what is a Knight to do? If heroics can’t save the day, what is there?
Obviously, I can’t speak for all, as for myself I do what I can. First, I am present. When she hurts so bad she can’t express herself. I am there. In the same room not making a noise or sudden movements. Just there so she knows she is not alone.
The next best thing is to be observant. The beast, fibromyalgia, likes feeding off certain things. Weather changes, foods, lighting, temperature changes, etc. I study these. I make notes on conditions of commonality that can make a day better or worse. My small victories are when I can out smart the big “F”.
But, sometimes all I can do is set back and watch. Knowing a crash will happen but allowing it anyway. She has goals she wants to attain. Sometimes the goal is a short road trip to visit the grand-kids. I know the cost she will pay, I am sure she does too. So I watch as the “rack” is turned another notch and she presses on anyway.
Then there are the days she wants to do something for me. Not that I feel I deserve anything. But, it is important to her. So, I watch grateful, as she gives her last bit strength for the day, or possibly that week to me. No, these things do not go unnoticed.
My armor isn’t shiny anymore. I put the stead out to pasture. The sword is hung on the wall. Fibro doesn’t respect those tools, it has no fear of man.
Instead, each day must be faced as a new adventure. I wake up fully engaged to make the best out of each day. Because, fibro, will on occasion, take a day off. These are the days I can capitalize on. The days to remind her she is so much more than an illness. She is not a burden carried out of pity. She is still my girl.
Ever mindful the beast can, and most probably will reawaken soon. We don’t take long walks. Instead, we enjoy gentle company, maybe a movie and dinner. No fancy deserts or bright lights. A quiet corner holding hands across an intimate table. Never expecting too much, but grateful for what there is.
Tomorrow could be another battle. A day when nothing said or done is satisfactory. The pain or fog warps little things in to big ones. I have to remember I am dealing with a monster that has taken control. Not, the woman I love so dearly. The armor is rusty, but can handle this. The stead watches with a tear. Knowing each blow is accompanied be a pain of its own. The sword stays on the wall. Useless in its capacity. I willingly become the punching bag. Absorbing as much as I possibly can so no one else has too.
No I am no saint. I am angry. I am bitter. I am sad. I can’t always hide these feelings. However, you must know they are not for you my darling. They are for the beast that lives within. The monster that has taken my dearest to a place I cannot go. They are for the coward that lurks in the darkness hidden, afraid of a real fight.
No I am no hero. I curse this beast with every once of my being. Helpless to rescue you. Will today be a good or a bad? It doesn’t matter, today like yesterday, and like tomorrow. I’ll do the best I can. I’ll be here, you are not alone.