Let me tell you about my man. He’s not one of life’s movers and shakers, a risk or glory taker. He’s more of a shake-and-move-slow and an all-for-love’s-saker.
A man who played competitive football with zest, zeal and energy into his 50s. Only pausing to be able to take better care of me.
He was athletically inclined, sporty and strong, lithe and nimble, able and capable of doing most things he turned his practical hands to.
And now he bends under the strain of life’s burdens, the repercussions of workplace bullying and having a severe mental health breakdown; made lower still with spinal problems and Parkinson’s disease.
He’s too sick to hold down a job, but he is (thankfully) more mobile and capable than I am of taking care of the household tasks.
A lot of things have stopped him in his tracks. Life’s trials have emptied him of his previous vigour and vitality. Yet he gives to me so freely and willingly.
Because his heart is full. Full of love and care and kindness and compassion. Full of faithfulness. My man is tender, loving and servant-hearted, exemplifying Jesus to me.
We struggle on together. And during this week when M.E has a greater international awareness than usual, I wanted to write in praise of him. Most M.E sufferers would find their lives far more challenging without assistance from their carers. And he is that for me, despite his own disabilities.
My man may not be publicly acclaimed. He isn’t one to seek the limelight. He may not be much in the eyes of society, but he means the world to me.
My love – this poem is for you, with deep gratitude for all you are and all you do each and every day…
All for love’s sake
He climbs the hill that grows
ever steeper by the week
Breath escapes in gasps as he pauses
now, aware of curious glances
But conscious more of his own
growing astonishment; how did
he come to this? A man made
small, constrained in movement
that once felt fluid, as smooth
as water – rendered turgid
And still he presses on because
errands need to be run, and
his are the legs to reach their
destination with comparative ease
His wife relies on him in ways he
wishes didn’t exist; her life now
bound to the house with M.E
and his tied to love’s desires,
life’s great demands and needs
Devotion steels his spine again
He straightens an aching back
and faithfulness becomes
the rack on which he stretches out
Extending and spending himself
in numerous little ways
as one who willingly acts,
he shakes – though firm with resolve,
giving his all for love’s sake
An often overlooked aspect of raising awareness for M.E and chronic illness is not only our need for extra help and support with life’s daily tasks, but also publicly acknowledging the ones who actually and actively meet that need for us. Hopefully my words have helped you to see a slice of life from the carer’s side as well, although everyone’s circumstances will differ, of course.
International ME Awareness Day is on May 12th, 2016. The whole month is devoted to it too.
Thank you for reading, and for your patience with the paucity of posts of late. I may not have had much spare energy to write here as often as I used to, but you can find me spilling forth words at my main site – Words of Joy – instead. I’d love to see you there. 🙂 x