"In most marriages there is a 50% chance of divorce. In marriages where there is a child with a life-threatening disease the rate goes up to 80%.”

Peter and I were sitting at our very first cancer group meeting of any kind at an American Cancer Society R.O.C.K. weekend in Orlando. At Disney World. Oh yes, we were sitting in the happiest place on earth being told there was an 80% chance that by the time we got our child to the 5-year survival mark, our marriage would be on the negative side of that statistic. Hubby leaned over at that point and whispered in my ear, “Please don’t leave me.”

As IF!

Not to say that there hasn’t been points when either one of us wanted to just reach over and slap the stupid right out of the other.

He’s been whiny, complaining and unhelpful at times.

I’ve been a horrific excuse for a wife mean, demanding and overbearing at times. (Shut it!)

And that was BEFORE we got cancer dropped in our laps. Yes, it all got worse.

There was a conversation between the two of us. I don’t remember exactly when, but it was early on into Peyton’s chemo treatment and I realized that I was being an absolute…well, there’s only one really direct word for it and I swore to my mother I wouldn’t swear on the site, so I can’t say it…but I was being THAT word. I felt so tired, so guilty and too tired to deal with the guilty.

I remember telling him that I was exhausted, petrified, overwhelmed, always on the verge of freaking out and losing it completely. I told him that I was giving 90% of myself to Peyton and her never-ending needs, 9% went to Nathaniel and Rachael and reassuring them they still had some semblance of a mother in their lives (although I’m pretty sure my brain was so fried at that time I was beyond being able to use any multi-syllabic words, so this is all paraphrasing)…that last 1% was for me and if I didn’t keep that 1% I would be nothing. I was going to be crazy and angry and because I couldn’t take it out on anyone….not the kids…the cancer didn’t care…I only had him. I warned him that he was going to take the brunt of all my frustration and emotional upheaval without getting anything back from me, because I was tapped out.

Do you know what this man said to me? With his 80% right to tell me I’m a lousy wife!

“It’s ok, I can take it.” That’s it. That was all he had to say. Just that.

This my marriage makes. Can I just tell you that for all his human flaws, the moments that he didn’t give me what I needed, the times I wanted to bury his head in the drywall in irritation, the arguments, the fights, the frustrations…THIS is my perfect husband.

I can’t tell you number of times he held me while I cried, shared his fears with me, listened to me go on and on and on about whatever. He’s held my hand through painful moments that threatened to break me, he tries his best to soothe the angry part of me that has to accept that this is the life we have. He makes me laugh when no one else possibly could. He lives with my crazy need to control everything, he forgives my mess-ups that trying to control everything causes. He accepts that we live 400 miles away from each other, endures life without his family in his home because he knows my fears and anxieties about a move at this point in our lives are more than I can handle. We share the heavy burden of parenting in crisis and we’ve made it this far.

So when people ask me how it is being a single mom with Peter not here, I have to think that I have more husband than most women who have a male body in their home every night.

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Tags: it, keeping, marriage, parenting, together

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