So she knows. So you all know. I don’t think I have some sort of heroic love for Marty in spite of the infirmities. I’m really not that altruistic or giving. The strokes have changed us, the strokes have altered our approach to life, the strokes do not define how we love.
I love her just because, just because she is who she is. I love her because of what she has done for me; I love her because she still does things for me. I love her because that’s where my heart leads me.
I love her because she still laughs at my stupid jokes and my 14 year old boy humor. She laughs even when I’m not funny and frankly, that’s most of the time.
I love her because she looks in my eyes and tells me honestly, because she is no longer capable of deceit, “I love you……..a lot.”
I love her because when I bend down to kiss her cheek she looks at me and says, “Again.” I kiss her cheek again and she says, “Again.” That goes on for five or six times until she is satisfied.
I love her because when I touch her back she says scratch and then with her right thumb she guides my hand, up, down, right, left, to the spot that itches.
I love her because when she is pushed up to the table and looks at the food I have prepared she always says, “That looks good.” Again, she has no deceit in her, she means it, and sometimes the food is not that good but she eats it without complaint.
I love her because she forgives all of my sins without pause. When I get angry and then apologize she doesn’t hold anger in her heart she very simply says, “That’s okay.”
I love her because when I say I’m going to take some time off, some time away from care giving, she has never once, not one time said, “No, don’t do that.” Instead she always says “That’s a good idea. “ And, when I return, she always says, “I missed you,” even when she doesn’t remember I had been gone.
I love her because she has taken all the world has thrown at her, the loss of physical functions, the loss of cognitive abilities, the loss of communication skills and she has survived. She has survived the countless indignities that go along with this disease and approached them all with grace, dignity and a sweetness that covers up the anger and disappointment that I’m sure exists on some visceral level.
I love her because she is cleverer than it may seem. As she watched me gather Christmas gifts and items she kept asking me, “Is that from Kindler’s (her favorite local jewelry store).” She kept asking about different boxes, she wanted to know if that was from Kindler’s. She knew they weren’t Kindler’s boxes….she knows a Kindler’s box. And yes, I’m headed to Kindler’s before Christmas.
I love her because she trusts me and depends on me for her care. She doesn’t trust just anyone, but she looks at me and I know she has faith in me to care for her, to support her and to ensure she is safe. Her faith in me is probably stronger than my faith in me and I love her for that.
I love her because through all of our years together, through all of the ups and downs and vagaries of our lives she has made me a better person. She has challenged me, she has defied me, and she has raised my own expectation of myself. She has taught me to listen and learn. She has taught me humility and given me confidence.
I’ve never known anyone with Marty’s passion, her wit, her wisdom and her heart. She is and will always be one of a kind. She continues to make me laugh and when she laughs it brightens my heart.
You gotta love that in spite of it all.