I was in our bathroom, about to apply my new hair thickening oil, and it got me thinking about the last few weeks; months, really. Why do I even need this oil?   (Up until about a year ago, I had unbelievably thick hair.)  

I looked over at our new bathtub that we put in when we built last year. It wasn’t part of the plans and specs but my husband asked for it anyway because he knew I liked taking baths. He did his own research about side effects of hypothyroidism and next thing I knew, a box showed up with several bottles of Moroccan oil for my hair. I thought back to the night that my husband helped me draw a bath, get in and wash my hair for me, because I couldn’t get my neck wet after just having my thyroidectomy. 

There’s a popular phrase that I used back in my leadership training days which was, “skate to where you think the puck will be.” I never thought I would be using that phrase to describe how my husband has taken care of me. Of course he has done all the things that one does for their spouse when the other is sick; doctor’s appointments, fill the prescriptions, get tea etc., and for that I’m very grateful. But its been more than that. Hard to put into words really, other than to say he has been skating over to where he thinks I may need him. Frankly, he has been one step ahead of my needs ever since my cancer diagnosis, and really even before that because I had been feeling the effects of having thyroid cancer long before my diagnosis.

All of this seems to be exactly what one would expect from a married couple in their 40’s right? To be there for each other through thick and thin? I completely agree, except we’ve only been married for 18 months.

I remember our first few dates; the coyness, the flirting, the taking 90 minutes to get ready and 90 minutes to say goodnight at the end of the evening. In those moments of the first few dates, you’re not thinking about how this person sitting across from you and buying you dinner would react if you were sick – watching you in the hospital, vulnerable, in pain, leaving you in the hospital to go to the home you just built together to grow old in that still has the “new “ smell where he needs to put your children to bed when they are missing their Mom.

How did this happen? Like a blink of an eye. One minute we were out on a date and the next minute I’m watching him come into my hospital room the morning after my surgery with a huge smile and a huge bouquet of flowers for me. 

Very rarely has my husband talked about how this has affected him. But I know that it has. The first day that I felt good enough to go out, I got dressed, put on some makeup and we went out for the afternoon. It made me feel alive and normal after weeks of feeling anything but. I said to him, “thank you for getting me out” and he replied “I miss my girl and wanted to see her.” I then replied, “what do you mean you miss me? You’ve seen me every day for the past week.” And he replied “yes, but you’re not you right now.”

That was his subtle way of sharing a need he had but would never come out and say it. He missed me. The girl he met out a restaurant a few years back. I don’t blame him. I haven’t felt like myself since we moved into our new house last December and it just went downhill from there. Yet, he has been right by my side every step of the way including today when I shared that I’m frustrated that I’m not feeling better. This wonderful man comforted me once again by reminding me it would be a few weeks to get my thyroid medications regulated to where I’m feeling better. Perhaps what he really wanted to say was that he wanted me to feel better, for him?

Could it be that I know him that well?

How is it that we seem to be anticipating each other needs despite only knowing each other for a few years? Maybe when you meet someone in your 40’s you just jump right into life instead of dreaming and talking about what the future holds. It’s already happening and you decide, together to grab hold of one another’s hands and get on the ride together. And what a ride it’s been; a car accident, job loss, moving and now cancer. The thing I’ve learned is that everything that happens to a spouse in a marriage happens to both. As I heal, I want to help him heal, to help us heal together. 

Through all of this, my husband has truly been with me in sickness and in health and in these first 18 months of marriage, I’ve had the chance to see that I picked the right guy to exchange those words with. 

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Tracie Cornell

Tracie is a writer, blogger, and corporate sales and leadership trainer. A native of Buffalo NY, she lives there with her husband and 15 and 11 year old daughters.   She has been a facilitator for 19 years while also pursuing her passion for writing, coaching and sharing her story of divorce, loss, and a cancer diagnosis all with the goal of connecting with other women to help them through all of life transitions. When she is not writing, traveling for work, and carpooling, she can be found at yoga, on a bike trail, or sitting in a local cafe sipping a latte while on her laptop.  She loves dinners out with her husband and friends and is constantly thinking of where their next vacation will be. Along with being a regular feature writer on HER VIEW FROM HOME - a lifestyle magazine that connects your view to the rest of the world, she is also a contributor on the Huffington Post Lifestyle and Divorce sections. Tracie has an essay, "Getting Back to Me" in the anthology "EAT PRAY LOVE MADE ME DO IT", the follow-up book to Elizabeth Gilberts's bestselling novel where she describes how she found the strength to start taking care of herself as her marriage was falling apart. The book is available now on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Find her at tracielynncornell.com where you can also find how to connect with her on social media.

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