By Sherry Thorne
Our spouses/significant others do not live with the actual, physical pain we do, but they do live with the pain. Our pain affects them in ways we don’t fully understand, just as they do not fully understand the actual pain we feel. They get frustrated and angry just like we do for all that pain has stolen from both of us.
For myself, we were together 5 years before the pain began, and it has now been 30 years of living with the pain and 35 years together. He has seen me at my best and at my worse. He will do anything I ask of him when he is home. For 29 years he has worked away from home 4 days a week to support us. He is only home 3 full days a week. He will do anything I ask him to do regardless of how much stuff he needs to do himself around our home for the upkeep.
He is my biggest supporter and my rock; however, sometimes he still gets frustrated and angry at the pain — not me. It doesn’t always come across that he is angry at the pain and sometimes the frustration and anger come at me directly, but I understand he doesn’t mean for it to.
For many years he kept his feelings to himself regarding my pain and all it had stolen from us until one weekend when he exploded. He yelled, he paced the floor, he cried, all the while letting out all of the emotions tied to years of hoping and praying something would come along in medical science to fix me.
I sat and listened to him yell, cry, talk for hours, and I tried very hard to maintain my own emotions because I knew he needed the release. He emotionally and mentally needed that release.
After he was literally empty and exhausted, we sat and talked for hours. We communicated with each other like we had never before done. We opened up with each other and shared our fears, our worries, our frustrations and our anger at this monster that is called chronic pain.
I knew he loved me beyond life itself, but I never really knew how badly the pain had affected him until that day he let it all out. That moment in time allowed me to see that while I physically feel the pain, he also lives with the pain. He lives it every day while he is away from me. The worry of leaving me alone (our children are all grown and gone). The worry of what kind of week will the pain give me this time. Will I have a decent week, or will I be engulfed by the pain and be alone to deal with it?
Will this be the week that I lose the ability to walk, or will I fall and get a serious injury or worse? When he leaves each Monday morning, he leaves with all of this on his mind, along with the many responsibilities he has with his job. When he calls each night, he holds his breath in hope that when I answer he won’t hear pain in my voice.
I share this because it took years before I knew just how bad the pain had also affected him. I hope sharing our story can help others. Thank you for reading this. May we all have a low pain week.
Sherry Thorne lives in the Eastern United States and appreciates the support network she has built at The Pain Community. TPC thanks Sherry for allowing us to publish this blog. If you would like to share your story, please submit it to Info@PainCommunity.org