I can no longer clip my toenails. So a couple of weeks ago, late at night, David clipped my toenails. As he was doing this, he stopped and said, “Thank you for carrying Brielle. Thank you for doing all of the hard work.” I didn’t really know what to say. He was thanking me as he clipped my toenails. He comes home from work and says, “You’re the best wife and best mommy.” He then leans down and rubs on Brielle, gives her a kiss and says, “Hello baby Brielle! How’s my beautiful girl today? Daddy missed you!” Brielle generally starts moving excitedly when she hears him talking to her and rubbing on her.
David will then begin to clean up the kitchen, prepare dinner, and as I apologize and begin to help him, he tells me to go sit down. He asks me what I’ve found today. And as he takes care of the house and me, I tell him about what new discovery I’ve made today for anencephaly research. He remains attentive even when I can see his eyes glaze over, mostly because not everyone shares the same enthusiasm as I do for cerebral hemorrhaging. We chat over dinner about his day and then he gets up and cleans up dinner. He does this all after having extremely stressful days at work.
Most days, I sit and think, “I do not deserve him.” I’m so thankful for him. He stays strong for me when I can’t physically keep up or emotionally when I’m deep in my own grief. He’s not angry with me for not keeping up with the house, having dinner planned, or waking him up at one in the morning so that he can read to Brielle. He understands and helps me shoulder the burden.
I think what is even more wonderful about him, is that he knows it’s okay to be vulnerable with me too. I don’t need a husband who keeps his hurt and pain from me. I need a husband that I can grieve with. And in those moments I stay strong and let him hold onto Brielle and deal with his own anguish. A few days after we were given Brielle’s diagnosis, I told David, “I need you to be here with me. I need you to hurt with me. I don’t want you to hide it. That wont fix it, it wont make me feel better. It will just make me feel more alone, isolated, like I’m the only one in this.”
And so, as hard as it is for him, he lets himself grieve with me. I think more of him for being honest with me, being honest with himself and how he feels. On the days he can’t keep up, I let him lean on me, and on the days I can’t keep up, he let’s me lean on him.
I love David more now than I ever have. We could have let this tear us apart, let it drive a wedge between us, but instead we’ve chosen to let it bring us closer together. We’ve chosen to use this pain for good. Some days he comes home and we sit and cry through dinner together. Some days he comes home and we laugh and joke about the funny things of the day. He’s with me through it all. He’s there for every good moment and every bad moment. I couldn’t have asked for a better husband or partner through this journey. And Brielle could not have been given a better daddy.