Sunday, January 5, 2014

for better or worse, in sickness and in health: the pre-wedding perspective

inspiration: what i'm learning from my parents

My parents were married in 1979. I wish I had access to a picture/scanner so I could scan a picture from their wedding. June First will be their 35 year wedding anniversary. In all my (almost) twenty-five years of life, I've never seen the vows "For better or for worse, in sickness and in health" lived out more clearly than in my parents' marriage.

As I prepare for marriage, I read posts, talk to, and observe couples who are married to try and glean wisdom about what married life will be like. But something that i've learned over the last two months and especially over the last week or so is that love is a choice, but to choose to love is always the right choice.

my mom has always battled mental and physical ailments. this started early in my parents marriage. over the last three years, the most prominent health issue has been lung disease. my dad has taken care of her through everything: taking her to all her doctor's appointments, giving her medicine, sitting at the hospital countless nights so she wouldn't be alone, losing sleep at night when she couldn't sleep. loving her through everything. never complaining once. and i mean never.

last sunday, while holden and i were still at home, my mom had her first bad episode - she couldn't breathe and spun downward into an anxiety attack, which became a vicious cycle; we had to call nurses and they had to come to our home, change many of her meds, and thus began our journey to where we are now. during monday and tuesday, mom still began to decline pretty rapidly and we knew we had to bring her to the hospice unit at the hospital because we could no longer care for her properly at home.

many tears were shed during this time. my dad cried hard and loud because he knew that after all the trips to nashville, all the hospital stays and all the doctor's appointments, this will be her last.

i'm writing this through tears...not so much because i am sad - I am, don't get me wrong - but because i'm so proud of what my parents have taught me. i know that when my mother passes, she will be with the Lord and will suffer no more. she will be joyful and pain-free for eternity. i know that i will see her again. but i am just so humbled and thankful for these present circumstances because without them, i would probably take Holden for granted.

Holden hasn't been around my parents much since we live so far away, but i know that he has seen enough to know the kind of people my parents are. he has seen firsthand how much my dad cares for my mother and how much he loves her. he has seen how humbly he has served her. he's seen the integrity of my father and i know that it has shaped him as a future-husband.

And over the last week, I've seen it as well. I've seen the in-your-face emotions and what "for better or worse, in sickness and in health" really means, even before saying "I Do". And I've learned that it's not just for you and your spouse to act amongst yourselves in marriage. it's in everything. I'm so thankful for Holden because the "sickness" isn't me being sick, it's my parents - his future family - and he is still praying for me and doing everything he can. He had to leave Tennessee on Wednesday, but I know that he would rather be here with us, even though things are comfortable in South Carolina.

I really appreciate all the well-wishes and prayers for my family.
There isn't much that anyone can do except pray.

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