All of the optimism in the world, though, could not prepare my wife,
her parents, and me for the weight of trials my new life would bring
this family. It is not a "normal" way of existence. I always expected
for my life to go a certain way. I'd have
a job, get married, have 2.5 kids and a
dog and live happily
ever after. No where was it written or did I consider - what if
one of us
becomes entirely disabled?
Does this change the rules? We were placed in an entirely new situation
without a manual or any hint as to what to expect. How will this
change me? Will I think differently? It's a given I'll look different
won't have much to offer physically. What do I have to offer
or romantically? How will this effect me psychologically? Most
how will this effect our relationship?
When someone has a major accident like mine, there is always at least
one other victim. My wife became the other victim. This was the year
she expected to be nurturing and caring for her own baby. Instead, she
became the complete caretaker of a full grown adult. For all she knew,
whatever dreams and plans she'd had growing up, storing her hope chest,
looking through books of baby's names - they were all but vapor that
had become lost in a nightmare from which
she could not awaken. Adoption was never considered. For
thing, we couldn't afford it. Secondly, I didn't think I could
the frustration of not being able to nurture and embrace, let alone
with, a child. (I have since proved myself wrong).
I have no idea what went through her thoughts as she fed me, cleaned
me, bathed me, dressed me, and sat with me. As the weeks and months
passed, we seemed to speak less and draw farther and farther apart as
each of us were
becoming more and more depressed. We never admitted to others or
that our marriage was in serious trouble.
Every night she would read a chapter of Scripture aloud and I would
The last real discussion we had was regarding Jesus' return and how we
now be a good time. Isn't that the way it goes? When times get rough,
pray for His return.
All I could do was watch helplessly as our relationship fell apart. By
year's end, my poor wife decided she could no longer live this way.
What could I do? It was out of my hands. How could I blame
her? I wonder what I would have done if our roles were
reversed. I could never conceive this act would lead me face to
face with Christ.
On December 23rd, 1983, one day before the year anniversary of my
release from the hospital, I found myself at my parents house 100 miles
away. Had it not been for them, I'd have nowhere else to go but a
It was hard enough on them to see their son helplessly paralyzed. Now
my marriage had failed and it seemed I would never be happy again. My
mother found herself reliving events of my infancy once again as she
had to be there to take care of my every
need. For a while she had help from my older sister and brother who
home for Christmas. In a few months, to compound the family's
my father, who had had prostate cancer years previous to that, received
letter from his doctor after an examination not long before my
His cancer had become active again and this time, it had spread to his
He had painful radiation treatment for a while but now, there was
that could be done.
He wanted so much to help Mom take care of me but by the end of March,
he just couldn't get around. Hospice came to help him and us in his
last days then on May 6, 1984, the Lord took Him home. On a positive
note, we received
a call from my brother on April 25th that his wife had just had their
child. This one was a boy. My dad, barely in and out of it at that
was told the news. I asked him, "Do you know who called?" And he said,
I have a grandson."
After my father died on May, 6, 1984, I lived alone with my Mom for a
little over two years. Since the only income I had was Social Security,
the state provided a health care worker to come get me up most days.
But it was God's love through her that kept me from falling into a pit
of despair. It's amazing how she was able to support me during this
terrible time of losing her husband. As I think about it, God may have
used this incident to give her purpose after her loss.