Sunday, March 8, 2009

What a Woman

Have you ever known someone who is just obstinate enough to never give up? That's my wife, Mary. Ever since I was reorganized out of a job in April, 2008, she's been my support system. I've been able to talk to her about how worthless I feel for being out of work for so long and not being able to land a job. Even with 200-plus jobs applied for and two dozen or so fairly promising interviews. I'm sure there are a lot of wives out there that are supporting their husbands during this economic Suck-a-Palooza. But Mary's extraordinarily strong, for a lot of reasons that I won't go into. It's part of what made me fall in love with her. When we lived in Memphis several years ago, her doctor diagnosed her with Lupus. Or Fibromyalgia. He couldn't decide, so he let the weight of anxiety hang over our heads while he assured us it was one or the other. Yeah, thanks. A year or so ago, her doctor here in Northwest Arkansas did some very comprehensive bloodwork and testing and determined that yes, it was indeed Lupus. If you're not familiar with this disease, it's a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys. It can be fatal in some cases. I get a knot in my stomach just typing that. I can't imagine a day without Mary. When she used to travel for work, she would be gone for days at a time and I would literally be miserable. But when I'm with her, I'm the very best version of myself. And she inspires me every day. And, though there are times when she finds it hard to even move because her joints are swollen and stiff, she'll just make a joke about being an old fart and charge ahead. But she's not an old fart. She's not even forty yet. There are also times when our current situation gets the better of her and she cries and wonders when and how and if it's going to get better. This disease has tried, unsuccessfully, to sideline her, but she's having none of it. Every day she gets up and goes to work as a reading specialist. Helping kids who are having trouble reading learn to make sense of the jumble of letters in front of them, while she faces a jumble of unexplained and seemingly unfair events in her own life. And she keeps going, chipping away at those obstacles until she finds a way through or around. For that, and for a million other reasons, I am hopelessly, unequivocally, and immutably in love with her.