My Husband; My Hero!

My Husband; My Hero…

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This man is my husband, Russell.

When I first feel gravely ill (April 2012), prior to my diagnoses of cancer (BC – before cancer), Russ suddenly found himself in the situation of being a single parent. I was not able to get out of bed for months BC or  months after surgery. Russell decided to become “Mr Mum”! He did the school drop-0ffs and pick-ups, arranged the lunches, after school snacks and dinners, did the after-school activities, the birthday parties (hilarious – the sole Dad amongst the Mum’s), the tears, tantrums and the fun stuff. All the while I was either sick, dying or healing. And gosh, did he “step-up”. I never knew he was up for it and he surprised himself. For the first 6 weeks he looked at me (and told me) with amazement and gratitude in recognising all I had done for the previous 8 years, but he sure hit his stride and began to love it. He got to know all the  Mum’s at school, the teachers and I was the stranger they never met. The mystery wife. I was so proud to watch him grow as a Dad, and a person in doing what was needed. And, he bonded with Zen in a whole new way and they both loved that. Thankfully, because of that time in our lives (a whole school year), we now have a much better balance of “who does what” with our son and Russell is every bit as skilled, capable and eager to share the load of parenting. BC we had more traditionally divided roles, for many reasons, but from now on, we both feel liberated to share the child-care or work or whatever mix-up of that we choose. It’s been a great change, though the catalyst for change was truly horrible.

I’ve heard some people say “cancer is a gift”. For me, something as yukky and horrible as cancer can never be a gift; it hurt like hell and was so painful to go through emotionally, physically and pychologically. I do not recommend it to anyone. But what will come out of it is a gift. I will turn it into a gift …but in hindsight would have preferred it if I’d chosen an easier route!

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This is Russ making one of my 10 juices per day. Did you know he/we spend a total of 3 days per month juicing?!

Russell decided to become my carer. Why? I asked him this question. He told me it was because he loved me, wanted to see me fully well, wanted his wife back, wanted our life back and wanted to do this for me. Russ wanted to be a part of my healing. I had trouble accepting this; that he would want to do that for me and mean it. I tried to discourage him; to encourage him to go and do the 2 things we moved to the Sunny Coast for him to do – Organic Gardening and his Body Stress Release (BSR) Natural Therapy. But he said, ‘no, this is what I truly want to do and whatever happens, happens”. For the first time in his life he wasn’t chasing the money, he decided to follow his heart and see what came of it, whatever outcome that was, and face some fears of ‘lack’ along the way. In all our marriage, I’ve followed Russell from town to town, job to job, living his dreams. But he never supported mine, never encourage my dreams  with the exception of me staying at home to raise our son and homeschool for the first 6 years. The cancer situation has blown all that apart. While I no longer need or seek his permission to do the (many) things I want to do, Russell has begun to support me in a whole new way. It is really different and sometimes I still have to pinch myself to make sure its real!

Russell is learning to care for himself while nurturing me. Both of these things are new to him (his words), but he really wants to do this; for him and me. I feel so blessed, so lucky and sometimes so disbelieving. No man has ever done this for me before and it challenges my self-worth. Which of course is brilliant because if I’d had true self-worth not only would I not have had cancer, but I would have got it diagnosed much earlier and resolved it before it got into the messy crisis it was. And, I would have done my dreams anyway!

For a person, a man, to love me with less conditions than I’ve ever felt in my life is new. Some days I wonder when he is going to quit! But he’s not. So long as he gets out, has his own kind of fun and recharges by climbing a mountain or playing on the beach with our son, gardening with his Dad or napping like a Nana, he is content. He works one day a week at his BSR and it is a day packed with clients. It’s not work to Russell, he loves it and comes home recharged.

This is very healing for both of us. We have our ‘moments’ and our days. Our relationship is far from perfect. But we are growing through all this in all ways. I am blessed and grateful. It’s strange, because its that classic “give but can’t receive” thingy – I would absolutely do the same thing for him, in a heartbeat, but letting him do it for me… takes some healing on my part.

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I love this photo (above): It’s Russell and he & Zen’s beloved chook “calmy”, when we were in Kentucky, NSW.

THANK-YOU my darling, my hero.

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