Overcoming the Trauma from my Wife’s Illness


Jay shares his poem about the struggle of caring for his wife during her HG pregnancy. HG isn't just traumatic for pregnant women: HG is traumatic for partners and family.

I realized it when I wouldn’t admit to myself that I’m sad. 
Just this morning I denied my feelings.  
What dawned on me is that
I am broken. 

My wife got sick
and I stepped up.

I took my vows to her and I wrote them on all my clothes and I wore them 
and I lived in them. Every day I lived in these vows. 
I slept in them. I ate in them. 
I drank in them and I drank too much in them. 
I was going to take care of my wife. No matter what. 
And I did. 

My life’s purpose was to ensure her life was no accident. 
Me was no more and She was all I wanted more of. 

I changed her bags when I went home for lunch, replacing the liquid sack with
yet another vitamin-rich pack that felt like a water bed for my hand.
Her pump required new D batteries, showing that even a bunny gets 
the wind knocked out of it sometimes. So I changed those too. 
I flushed her line with syringes of salty water that I could have refilled 
if I held them under my cheeks when she wasn’t looking. 

Back to today, I even had to step away from this poem for a day
so now, it too is broken. 
And I didn’t want it to be. 
I started this new day searching for that pail of sunshine and yet again
all I see is fatigue and frustration on the weather report. 

Switching gears again to when we went to the ER,
I was focused, the mission was clear and the path to execution apparent. 
I thought I was the driver on the street to spring. 
Just my passenger and I. 

But I was really on the Zamboni at intermission, going around and around
and not waving to all the floating faces on the other side of the glass. 

My wife is healthy now. 
She overcame the rarest of diseases. 
She did it.
We did it. 
All is fixed. Except for me. 
And I just can’t figure out why. 

I know spring is mindlessly scrolling through his phone,
standing at the corner, waiting for me to pick him up. 
He is understanding, he does not text me
Where are you?
How much longer?
Hurry up already. 
I’m grateful for his silence. I really do appreciate his patience. 
Because before I get to him, I first have to find out what city he’s in. 

And before I hop in the car I should change out of my sweat-soaked clothes.
I’ll wash and dry in high heat the forever haves and to holds and love and cherishes
but I’ll always delicately handle the in sickness and in health 
so it doesn’t fade in tumble dry low.