Guest post: Why I stayed

Posted by on Jul 26 2016 | Life at home, MS

by Daniel Ouellet (husband and guest blogger)

Quite a while ago, Jennifer asked me if I would write a guest blog post, and I accepted eagerly although I didn’t know what to write about at the time. I let the idea simmer for a bit. I wanted in some way to portray my perspective on her story, or my experience as a witness to her ordeal and pain. Then it dawned on me that what many people seem to marvel at is that I stayed at her side through this hell, so I decided to write about why I stayed.

On our front porch (2001)

On our front porch (2001)

Chronic illness is a deal-breaker in relationships, and stories abound about it. A friend openly told me that he would have bailed out if he were in my shoes. In truth though, I never even seriously thought about leaving, and I would venture to say that there are also countless examples of committed partners who stand by their mate. I’ve met a few, so I know I’m not alone.

You might think that acceptance of your lot in life is part of it, but that to me sounds like quiet desperation. Maybe it does carry you through sometimes, but it takes a lot more than that to endure years of set backs, frustration, and tears. I did ask myself at times “What do I need to learn from this? Why should it be my fate to have to live through this? What did I do to deserve this?” You know, the Job questions.

On a trip to Portneuf, near Quebec City (2015)

On a trip to Portneuf, near Quebec City (2015)

I flipped the table too, and asked myself how I would feel if I became ill and my wife left me as a result. The answer is “shitty”, of course, but “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is still far easier said than done. That said, I’m one of those who have a conscience that won’t let them get away with stuff, so for me the Golden Rule applies. Besides, Jennifer didn’t ask for this any more than I did, and her suffering has been far worse than mine.

But at the bottom of it, I stayed, quite simply, because it is the only loving thing to do. It takes a good dose of selflessness to stay, and it has tested my patience and my capacity to love countless times. I should add that I can’t judge those who leave, because I can’t say that I would have stayed under all circumstances. Every situation is unique. What made a huge difference and tipped the scale for me is the tenacity and courage that Jennifer has manifested throughout this ordeal.

And in the end, despite all the arguments, tears, and emotional pain, I have absolutely no regrets about staying. It was the right thing to do.  It deepened our relationship, it taught Jennifer about the true nature of love and perhaps helped her realize that she is worthy of the deepest love, and it taught me a great deal about my own humanity.

1 comment for now

One Response to “Guest post: Why I stayed”

  1. Martha

    Beautifully written, Daniel.

    31 Jul 2016 at 5:53 pm

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