A Wife's Appeal

I know Your ways are higher, that what You allow to happen serves a purpose greater than I or anyone else can understand, but as I lie here next to him, I can't help but wonder:

Is this the price to pay for life such as his?

He's only 48, as You know, a bit older than middle-age by today's standards, yet he walks as if he were aged, a feeble man in 90s. He can no longer climb stairs because his limbs tremble beneath his diminishing weight, and he's shrunk at least a foot.

He's tried to serve You in all that he does, but he is prone to anger. I've borne the brunt of verbal accusations and thrown objects, though I have a feeling I'm not alone in that. He lacks the strength to throw things now, but his stubbornness remains.

Once he sits, he cannot get up without aid. We bought him a self-lifting chair, hoping it would make things easier, but he refuses to use it. It's uncomfortable, he says. It makes him hurt. But we know he hurts all over. Whatever has embedded itself in his muscles is eating away until all that remains is flesh over bone. We've met with doctors of every specialty, but none of them can tell us what it is. They say they've never seen anything like it. But they know it's terminal.

I wonder if You, the Great Physician, know something they don't.

I remember when I considered divorcing him, when his anger at me and the rest of the world had destroyed my patience and my compassion. I wanted to take the kids and leave, start a new life and leave him to his misery. But You told me to wait, that he would not live long enough to see our youngest child's high school graduation. I trusted You, and it seems You have kept Your promise.

But did it really have to be this way?

Even now, he chokes on his tongue in his sleep, the muscles surrendering control to that which has invaded. Soon, the rest will follow. He will be confined to a walker, a wheelchair, a bed, like a helpless invalid in the winter of his life, until the last muscle, his heart, relinquishes and stops.

Is this the penance he must serve?

Sometimes, God, I feel punished, as well.