She sits quietly in the chair beside his hospital bed.
The same chair where she has sat all night long for the past week while her husband lies in the hospital.
She is beyond weary. Beyond exhausted. For the past week she has desperately balanced having her husband in the hospital with the demands of also being the mother of a child with profound special needs.
She alternates her time between the hospital and home where her family is assisting with the care of her son. To say she is sleep deprived would be a huge understatement.
It’s his fourth time to be hospitalized in three months. She is tired of sickness, tired of chronic disease, and tired of trying to balance the needs of two family members.
This is not the life she expected or dreamed of when they got married all those years ago. She never imagined she would raise a son who requires 24/7 care with his every need. And then to have a husband struck by a chronic illness in mid-life. It is overwhelming at times.
She cannot remember the last time she slept through the night. She cannot remember the last time she did anything for herself.
Compassion fatigue is real and it’s emotionally crippling. She wants to cry but there’s no time to really process what all is going on in her life.
The social worker from the hospital slips into the room to discuss his care when they leave the hospital. “Who will take care of him when you return home?”
Quietly she chuckles and says, “I will. We’ve been married for 25 years and I’m not going anywhere.”
The social worker turns to her and says, “yet.”
In a voice that leaves no doubt or equivocation, she turns to the social worker and says, ” There is no “yet.”
Twenty-five years. Sickness and health. Better or worse.
Because we took a vow. A covenant before God. A promise that didn’t include the word “yet.”
No one can prepare you for the grueling, exhausting, draining task of caring for a child with profound special needs. You will never attempt anything harder in your life. And it will affect everything about your life- emotionally, financially, spiritually, relationally and mentally.
The toil it takes on your marriage is staggering. Then throw in a spouse living daily with a chronic illness. It’s intense and even brutal. But we had taken a vow.
Right now, there are many of you ready to check out. You feel like you’ve reached your breaking point in your marriage. You’re ready to walk out the door on your marriage any minute.
For all of you in the midst of the struggle…for all the special needs moms and dads about to throw in the towel and quit…for all of you ready to just give up and walk away…for all of you wondering if it ever gets better…for all of you struggling to find anything good about your circumstances…
There is no “yet.”
The battles, the struggles, the trials, they can serve to unite you instead of divide you. But it’s your choice. Let God use the pain to draw you closer to each other, and in turn closer to him.