Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In Sickness and In Health

Do you remember repeating the vows to love and cherish your spouse in sickness and in health when you got married? I certainly do.

Forty-eight years ago today my parents repeated those vows to one another. And in the last few years I've watched with love and admiration as my amazing mother has put them into practice.
My dad's health has been in decline for many years, but his condition has worsened considerably in the last four years. He went for three of those years without an accurate diagnosis, as doctor after doctor tried to figure out what was wrong with him. First, it was multiple sclerosis, then Lyme disease, then heavy metal toxicity. But as soon as a diagnosis was made, another symptom would pop up and the diagnosis would be taken back.

Back in August of last year, he went to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio where he was finally given a diagnosis that made sense - Multiple System Atrophy. Unfortunately, this disease is also terminal.

MSA is a rare neurological disorder similar to Parkinson's. Its rarity is one of the reasons why it took so long to get a diagnosis. Most doctors, even neuros, don't know enough about it to accurately diagnose it.

Since 2010, my dad has lost his mobility, as well as much of his motor skills - eating, brushing his teeth, dressing himself, etc. The disease has robbed him of his speech as well, as his vocal chords have become paralyzed. My mother lovingly cares for him completely - dressing, feeding, bathing, and in every other way possible. She insists that she will continue to do so as long as she is physically able.

That's why I say she's amazing. At a time when many spouses would have given up, she continues to honor her vow to care for him in sickness and in health. She doesn't consider it a big deal, either. To her, she's just doing what she promised to do. In a world where the divorce rate is skyrocketing, she's an exception whether she accepts the label or not. And I know that if the situation was reversed and my mom was suffering from a terrible illness, my dad would be doing the exact same things for her.

I look back over the years and am so grateful for two godly parents who have stuck together through the good times and bad times. They raised my brothers and myself to be responsible, respectful and faithful to God. They have set an example for us and our children to follow. For that, I love them.

Happy Anniversary!


  1. Wow. This was beautiful. I hate that your dad is going through this, Marsha. I pray it makes his heart full to know that his wife loves him completely. (She is AMAZING!) Prayers that God blesses BOTH of them! <3

  2. Sorry to hear about your father :(

    1. Thank you. It's not been an easy road, for sure.