This Particular War


The first year we were married I had major surgery and Stan had to drain my “weep hole'“ when he changed my bandages. I helped him apply hemorrhoid ointment on our honeymoon. He wrecked his car the day we moved in together. His dad died the day before my birthday after we had been married three years. Our cat died on our second anniversary. My mom was hospitalized the weeks she was supposed to marry my stepdad so they had their wedding in the hospital. I had a gallbladder attack the day we were supposed to leave for the beach. Our car broke down on the highway on the way back from his dad’s funeral. Our son was born via emergency C-section three weeks early with the umbilical cord triple wrapped around his neck.

On Tuesday morning we stared at each other as he scrubbed dead animal off our dog. I’d just finished making a thousand lists of care for my dad with Lewy Body Dementia who we’ve moved into our son’s room while my stepmother with stage 4 ovarian cancer recovers in the hospital from a collapsed lung in the midst of selling their beautiful home in the country and leasing a home in town.

“It’s OK,” I said as he scrubbed away the smell of dead flesh in the air. “We’ve been here before. And we’ll be here again. We’ll get through this shit together.” There’s intense grief and overwhelm and confusion and sadness but also exquisitely tender moments of love and care and humanity beyond what we’ve ever experienced before.

And that list above? There’s so much more to add to it but it’s funny now and so far we’ve survived and it’s giving us the battle armor we need to keep moving forward through this particular war.

Valley Haggard2 Comments