wings and things

Our marriage

on January 27, 2014

For better or worse ….

When Anthony and I were married, we agreed to the usual vows including ‘for better or worse’. At the time, I was unconcerned that he was 23 years older. He, on the other hand, was very concerned, and worried that I might end up looking after an old man. At the time, we both laughed this off because we didn’t anticipate illness.

It seems unfair that my beautiful Anthony was inflicted with kidney cancer, diabetes, liver disease, prostate cancer, then (by far the worst), Parkinson’s disease – all within the first ten years of our marriage. For Ming to never have known this gorgeous, energetic, life-of-the-party person I fell in love with is a bit heartbreaking for me. I can only show Ming photos of when Anthony cuddled him, lifted him over fences to feed calves, taught him how to wash the car, strollered him into the dairy, slept with him crooked inside his shoulder space, toilet-trained him in about two hours when I was away at a conference, loved him with the energy of a new father, rejoiced in every single breath, sound, word, movement that Ming made.

Now, with the encroaching dementia that comes with advanced Parkinson’s disease, and Anthony’s deterioration in mobility, his wild hallucinations that he has been kidnapped, his outings with me fraught with bizarre stories of what I know couldn’t possibly have happened (eg. removal of a foetus from Ants), I sometimes cry.

Tonight, the nurse enabled a phone-call to Ants and, as soon as I heard his voice (usually it is soft now, but tonight it was loud and confident), my pent up tears broke.

Anthony: Jules -please don’t cry!

Me: It’s all just so hard, Ants – sorry.

Anthony: Jules, it is going to be okay.

In sickness and in health ….

The term ‘marriage’ implies commitment, loyalty, empathy, forgiveness, flexibility, and the ability to carry on, no matter what. In this sense, I am actually ‘married’ to a lot of people and this makes me feel on top of the world!

61 responses to “Our marriage

  1. Ann Koplow says:

    Touching, profound, beautiful. Thanks.

  2. This is a path I’ve never been on… and I have been on many different paths to experience pain, grief… With the emotion I feel upon reading this… I can’t even begin to imagine what you must go through. It must be like people ‘trying to imagine what I go through with the loss of my child’… if they’ve never experienced it… ‘imagining how it feels’…. doesn’t come close to ‘knowing’. I feel for you with my very heart. Your beautiful, beloved husband… I was thinking of Skip… oh, just thinking about it hurts… and you live it. I care so much. Gloria

  3. mimijk says:

    You Jules are one of those rare people for whom I feel humility and honor to know. In Ming’s subconscious there is the firm knowledge that he is adored – by both of his parents. In this moment, I am grateful that Ant’s voice was strong and resolute.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Ants has always been able to ‘come to the party’ so to speak, if ever I am sad. Ming is totally unable to offer any sort of empathy at the moment and that really makes me angry so we are having quite a few wrangles due to miscommunication. His guilt and nightmares are all he can handle (re accident) so I guess he doesn’t have anything left at the moment with which to comfort me – I understand, sort of! Thanks, Mimi, for your support! Jx

  4. There is something about this man, about your marriage and your connection to him. It seems when you need him most, he returns with his strength. And his reassurance that you are doing wonderfully. For all that you do for Anthony, he returns to you when you need him most. What a gorgeous love story.

  5. viveka says:

    Jo, what a beautiful post – I can say that I understand how hard it can be … because I have never been there myself – but to still have love and care for someone that … isn’t the same person anymore. I don’t know if I have talked about the movie – Far Away From Her. Fantastic movie … – when I saw it .. I could feel the lost in his heart and soul. And I feel the same for your words here.
    Dear Jo, always remember that we have the same right to our tears as our laughter – my mom taught me that.

    • jmgoyder says:

      Oh how much I love your mother’s words! I will check the link tomorrow. Thank you, Viveka xxx

      • viveka says:

        Julie, it’s heart warming film .. but of course also with some sadness … when she forgets that is already married and fall in love with an other man – and she don’t remember her husband. Very good.

  6. bulldog says:

    You never cease to amaze me Julie… so strong and able… I’m sure in a lower consciousness, Ming will remember his dad’s attention and love, of that I’m sure… Sterkte…

  7. It’s got to be one of the most difficult things in life … to see your life’s partner in distress … but I know you have your very happy times and the times when he is himself……. you remember the ‘real’ Ants… Not everyone deals with a situation such as yours…very well. My oldest brother married a second time and they were meant for each other like you and Ants..She was 20 years younger but they were so happy. (married for 25 years) He got cancer in his late 80’s and it went to his bones and he spent the last few months at home with help… nurses came and helped but for the most part she cared for him until he passed and like you she was so committed to him.For the right ‘two people’ age makes no difference…… Diane xo

  8. Marriage in its truest form is definitely a marathon or perhaps a triathalon? Your marriage has definitely been tested and I would say that you and Anthony have passed with flying colors. I love your last words, being married to a lot of people does make life infinitely richer. 😀

  9. Anonymous says:

    I love you!!!!!

  10. ksbeth says:

    this is beautiful, julie, with your stories for ming, he will too know the whole man who is his father. like a marriage, a family is together in sickness and in health, as you have all shown so clearly.

  11. I think sometimes, that all though your good times with Ants were short, when they were good, you fit in more than most folks have in a lifetime! Little comfort now, I know…have missed your love stories Julie – love this one!
    Diana xo

  12. Bless you, Jules! And, all your family.

  13. FlaHam says:

    Julie, The fact of the matter is that your love for Ants, has allowed you to fully embrace the vowels you took the day you got married. I have been reading you for over a year, and once have I seen or read a word of regret. Yes you regret Ants being ill, and you regret what the illness has done to him, and yes you have regretted what the illness has done to your relationship, but never once have you regretted the marriage, with all that has come with it. You have held steady with your love and the promises you made that day you married. You have given Ants great love, and have given it back. You both are lucky. Take care, Bill

  14. Ah, this must be so hard for you, Julie, but love conquers all. We are going through the same situation with my mom. It’s heartbreaking.

  15. Being one who was totally committed to my marriage and feeling that I was let down in a dreadful way; it was uplifting to read of your interpretation of marriage at the end in that you feel ‘married’ to a lot of people. I had never thought of it like that before and realize that I too am ‘married’ (ie: committed) to a lot of people, and most of those people have NOT let me down, they have kept up their commitment to me. That makes me feel great. Thank you for that. You have made my day. <>

  16. I don’t know how you do it, Julie, but I must tell you that I’m in awe of your strength, love and unfaltering commitment to your family. May your kindness and generosity of spirit be returned to you tenfold….

  17. A touching post. I don’t know how you do it. Except that, like all women, you are strong.

  18. Yes in sickness and in health, for better or worse, those are words spoken at my wedding but for many they say the words and when the sickness happens or things get hard they bail because they can’t stand it and take the easy way out. I think it is wonderful that you and Anthony still love each other and you still want to spend time with him and see him and haven’t bailed because it is too hard.

  19. Everyone around you must see Ant’s love in the man that Ming is becoming – he will know it 🙂


  20. Terry says:

    I so wish he didn’t have PD, but you are a trooper. A great wife and mum. You are doing a fine job my friend

  21. janechese says:

    Kudos and thanks for the definition of marriage. We have such a disposable world nowadays and we are sadly lacking in character because of it.

  22. Rhonda says:

    I want to be like you when I grow up Jules…I love you

  23. Your words depict marriage beautifully; your life depicts marriage profoundly!

    Jmho, Julie, but you rock!

  24. Lynda says:

    There is nothing I can add, except that I care and I’m thinking of you today and every day, Julie. xo

  25. you can’t imagine how much i appreciate hearing the “other” side of this situation. chris never says the things you do, however, if i mention what you are sharing he will at times agree that he feels the same way.

    i feel so guilty at times for putting him through all this. when we first married people sometimes asked if i were concerned about what lay ahead with a man 20 yrs my senior. here we are today at a time when he has earned the privelege of rest he chooses to care for his younger, ill wife.

    be assured that anthony and i would never have chosen to put either of you through this heart ache. love to you dear friend

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