I stood beside my sister, watching her profess her love for her new groom. I glanced over at my husband, the man who still gives me butterflies in my stomach, and life was good.
The ceremony went off without a hitch — other than a little rain and last minute change of venue. We headed for a nearby park to take the wedding party photos as the sun came out.
I remember thinking to myself, "What a glorious day to start your life together."
It was the perfect fall day. The sun was shining. The sky was bluer than I’d ever seen, and the colors of the leaves danced around in the soft breeze.
As I stepped down off the curb, holding my sister’s veil in one hand and our bouquets in the other, I took one last glance at her face, smiling from ear to ear as they took more photos.
Then I missed the curb.
Immediately, I knew this day was not going to turn out the way we’d planned. I lost my balance, and in the next few seconds my life was changed forever. I rolled my right ankle and while trying to spare myself the embarrassment of falling in my floor length gown, I got caught up in the dress. In the process, I destroyed my left leg. In one small trip, I broke my fibula, shattered my tibia and dislocated my ankle.
In the minutes, hours and days that have since transpired, my husband has been there every second of the way. The first thing I remembered after the fall was my husband trying to calm me down.
“Look at me, baby! Just keep looking at me!”
All I could do was cry. I couldn’t stop crying. My leg hurt so badly. I sat there on the asphalt, wailing uncontrollably like a baby.
At the emergency room, he sat there, waiting with me. He listened to me ramble nervously, holding my hand while I cried and reassuring me I would be fine. Just by being there, he calmed me. He held my gaze while they manipulated my leg and went on about broken bones, surgery and recuperation, when all he wanted to do was look away.
Since coming home, this man has been my rock. Aside from being physically challenged and confined to bed, I have been mentally strained. It’s hard recovering when you’re on medication, in pain and it seems the entire world is moving on and you are stranded, watching, like some sort of ghost in the room. I feel lost and overwhelmed emotionally from missing field trips and practices. I’m right here, and yet, I am missing moments, the small inconsequential moments that seem like nothing but mean absolutely everything. These days, I’m prone to crying for no reason at all — and out of frustration. He gently assuages my fears and lets me cry.
My husband has had to pick up the slack. He is doing his job, plus everything I would normally do with the girls and also helps me with everything, from taking a shower to cooking meals. He wakes up early to get the girls ready for school and make their lunches. Then he wakes me up, gives me my pills and gets me to the couch from the upstairs bedroom (he’s worried the house might catch on fire while he’s at work and I’d be trapped.)
Did I mention he worked from home the first week after I was injured in order to be there for me while I learned to mentally accept my situation? He stayed home to encourage me to fight to get through all of this.
All the while, he never lost his positive attitude. When I’m in pain or feeling overwhelmed, he reassures me there is no place he’d rather be. He tells me he doesn’t mind picking up all the pieces. He assured me sleeping on the floor next to me on the couch was not a problem that first week. I know that this is what married people are supposed to do, but he does it all with such grace that I am moved by his selflessness.
We all know that marriage is about the good times and the bad times, for richer or poorer and through sickness and health; but when something like this unexpectedly happens, this is when you really see the person you married. I always knew the big guy was a good guy, but through this awful ordeal, I have fallen deeper and more in love with him than I ever imagined possible.
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