Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Propping Up the Ones We Lean On

Even if you are strong, you still need people who would support you all the way.
--Corazon Aquino

I can't say enough how blessed I am to have the supportive husband that I do. I lean on him for so much more than things that are CF related. I know he leans on me in many ways as well. However, this is one way that I cannot provide support to him. I cannot, for all my best intentions, be what he needs when he is coping with the reality of being a "CF Spouse".

The social worker at the CF Adult Clinic that I attend has said that some day she would like to write a book about all the CF spouses she has encountered over the years. She says that there is something absolutely incredible about the kind of people she sees come through the clinic with their chronically ill spouses. It's a level of commitment that few people understand these days. Even outside of the CF community, the uncertainties and fears of what the future holds is overwhelming and can rip two people apart.Fortunately, this has not been our experience. My relationship with Brad has been solidified by each challenge we have faced together.

It saddens me to think of how easily the CF spouses are overlooked. Sure, they may not be the ones consuming dozens of pills each day, but that doesn't mean they don't have their own battles. There's nothing I would like to see more of in the CF community than a greater awareness of what these selfless souls dutifully and lovingly face day in and day out.

Recently I met Allie-- a young woman who is bearing the full weight of being a widowed CF spouse. I respect and admire her tremendously, even though I can't truly say I understand what she goes through. From the little bit I know of her, her marriage was beautiful and blessed, and the ache of not having her husband with her is, at times, nearly incapacitating. Still, she presses ahead, honoring her husband's memory and raising their daughter with the help and support of her husband's extended family.

Support. It's key to survival. I don't just mean the misery loves company type of support. I mean true, empathetic, sympathetic support, and encouragement. The ones we lean on for support need to be propped up as well, otherwise we all come tumbling down.

I encourage you to visit this online storefront which has been established as a way to raise awareness for cystic fibrosis and honor the memory of Ry Stentsland.

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