Friday, April 8, 2011

How is (Your Chronically Ill Spouse?)

The healthy one who is married to a chronically ill person is often asked, "How is so-and-so?" This shows concern, but it sometimes puts the spouse in a troubling position. First, there is usually no short answer, since so many things are wrong; it is difficult to summarize. Second, one may not want to rehearse the misery yet once again. Third, the healthy one would often like to talk about something else, since so much of home life is taken up with the vicissitudes and exigencies of suffering: doctor visits, medications, emergencies, depression, and so on. When the healthy one goes out, he or she may want to temporarily forget all this--at least for a few hours.

Added to his, the healthy care-giver suffers terribly as well. Life becomes a puzzling ruin of dashed hopes, endless frustrations, and relational challenges (to put it nicely). The healthy husband or wife might rather hear this question, "How are you doing in light of all this?" But the one who asks should be prepared for an honest answer, one that may be hard to take given the rawness of suffering involved.

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