Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Beautiful BMW: In Sickness and In Health

Almost 43 years ago I voiced the marriage vows to my Beautiful Mexican Wife (BMW) in Mexico City. The words were so easy to parrot: "Yeah, yeah, till death do us part and yeah, love forever, in sickness and in health, and all that stuff." I just wanted it over so we could get on to the serious business of honey-mooning in Acapulco.
Little did I know I would come to live out those vows in such a cruel and real manner.

Until a few years ago, my wife was a vibrant, hard working mother and home maker, who loved working in her home and the garden. We traveled, went camping, partied and lived life to the fullest.
Now, she spends most of the day in bed, living with unrelenting chronic back pain that no doctor seems to know how to ease. We've tried it all, chiropractors, acupuncture, rubs, recent spinal surgery, morphine patches, pain medicines whose side effects are as bad as the pain. She has undergone a dozen painful epidural shots to no avail.
People have prayed over her, and our own incessant prayers seem to go unanswered. People talk about faith in God. Just offer up your pain to God. There is a purpose to it, a plan. Oh yeah?
Easy to say. One day at a time, they remind us. The words ring hollow.
The worst part is my own helplessness; so little I can do to ease her pain and depression. I do all the shopping, I cook, I wash clothes, and half-ways keep the house clean, all the things she once so proudly did for me, I do meekly for her. It's my turn to take care of her. But such a poor caretaker she gets in return. "In sickness and in health"; the marriage vows ring loudly in my ears. They accuse me. They haunt me.

A couple of months ago I attended a local poetry workshop and the presenter told us to write something on a recent event in our lives that has been life altering and I wrote:

My wife's unrelenting pain as she writhes in bed
Is so very different than my own
which can only watch from a distance, helplessly.

1 comment:

ramirezphotography said...

OMG Richard is all I can say...peace be with you and Chela:)