Marty loves me. I know this. I know because she says she does, I know by the way she looks at me, I know by what she does. Marty loves me, as she says, “Very, very much.”
It’s a really nice thing to know you are loved; it is very simply the best thing about this care giving gig. Married people need to know they are loved by their partners and too often we neglect the very simple but seminal detail, you are loved. Me, I haven’t always known it. Me, I know it for sure today, I feel it every day from the woman I married.
It is the simple stuff that convinces me. It is the way she looks at me when I am sliding my arms beneath hers to lift her from her chair. She looks up at me, she looks at my eyes, my face, the growing dearth of hair on the crown of my head, she looks at me with soft blue eyes and I know I am loved by this amazing woman.
I know her love by the way she takes her right hand and squeezes mine when I reach across the car as we drive down the road (assuming I’m not competing with the ubiquitous Diet Coke), it is the way she offers her cheek for a kiss and says “One more time” and then repeats that two or three times. It is the way she grabs my arm as she is laying in her bed and I am giving her one last good night kiss or how she reaches out to goose me if I turn around too soon.
Signs of love come at you in a lot of different ways.
I know her love is there when she swallows all of her pills without complaint or when she drinks the G2 Gator Aid that she doesn’t particularly like or when we prick her finger for blood or when we place the nebulizer mask on her or when we put the nasal cannula under her nose for oxygen or when I move her too fast from chair to chair and she say, “Ouch.”
Her willingness to handle all of the daily indignities without complaint, without balking is a singular message of her love for me. She hates so much of that stuff, she hates being handled, I know she hates it, but I know she loves me more than she hates the procedures because she accepts what we do, because she knows how much harder my job would be if she complained or balked at the stuff we have to do. She knows complaining would make the necessary parts of getting and giving care nightmarish. She chooses to show her love. It’s a big thing; it’s a big I Love You smack on the lips.
I am one of the fortunate ones that have always known love. I knew my mother and father loved me, they showed me in so many different ways. Too many don’t get that, I got that from my family from the time I was born. And, somehow, some way, when Marty and I met, I knew she too would love me.
Seeing love is really not that hard, you simply have to open your eyes and look for it. It’s around you in the way a grandmother looks at a new granddaughter or a great-grandmother looks at her son’s brand new granddaughter. I know what loving looks like.
I don’t ever wonder anymore if Marty loves me. I have no doubts about how Marty feels about me, I know she loves me and that is a grand thing.
And you know what else? She is absolutely convinced that I love her too. She’s right about that.