Being married to your Carer must be really annoying. But, I never give up on my husband, I believe in his capacity to progress and develop, even if there are times when he doesn't believe in himself. I also refuse to accept that a life sat passively in front of the TV without any contribution to the happiness of other people is a good thing. Yes we all love to veg out in front of a good programme, ('Cuckoo', 'Death in Paradise' and 'The Night Manager' are my current favorites) but this must be in balance with other activities. Today this balance was achieved - I felt so proud of my husband, just for little things but important steps forward.
One of the virtues we have been discussing a lot recently is being 'proactive' - and today I could see this shining through his whole being. I think this quality be a tough one when you have an ongoing condition to cope with. Because of his MS some days Ramin's legs ache so much that he sleeps for a few hours in the afternoon or goes to bed at 8 or 9pm. It's hard to think what clothes need to be washed, or a script idea, or what friend would love a visit when you are in pain. Also as Ramin has short-term memory problems, so we can consult the day before (or the week before) and he'll agreed to do more of this or that, but it can just disappear into the ether, again not because of a lack of willingness but because he just didn't remember! And there's no point writing things down if you can't read your own handwriting!
You see, another MS symptom, that Ramin is learning to overcome, is a disturbance in hand-eye coordination. When Ramin was very ill back in 2003 and spent months recovering in a rehabilitation clinic, one of the skills he seemed to lose was his handwriting (and remember Ramin achieved a 2:1 Degree in Film and Television from Aberystwyth University in 2001) and so in the past few months, we have been focused on developing this - so that he can write notes to help him remember things, as well as to be able to write down creative ideas.
My Dad wasn't feeling well last night and we had stayed overnight in his home the night before. I had planned on going home in the afternoon and then visiting a friend in the evening. As the day went by, my Dad's condition worsened (not a serious illness by the way, he's recovering from a tooth abscess and the awful effect antibiotics had on his system) and I realized he just needed me to be there for longer. Yet we have a cat at home who needed to be fed. I consulted with Ramin and he immediately suggested that he get the bus home, feed Sophie and then come back over, by bus, in the morning. His legs were aching and it was a cold night - but without a thought for himself, he allowed me to stay with Dad while the responsibility of our cat was taken care of. Two minutes later he was walking down the road and I started to make Dad his dinner.
This morning, Dad felt brighter, so he drove me back home (after my German Skype lesson) and Ramin had already done a few bits of housework and as soon as lunch was over, washed up all the dishes. Amazing! It's not that he was lazy before, just that due to his feeling tired a lot of the time - both mentally and physically (these are typical MS symptoms) it is often difficult for him to see what needs to be done at home without constant reminders.
Also, without my asking him, he sat down and read 12 pages of his current novel ('A Drink Before the War' by Dennie Lehane, the fifth book he has ever read - this has been a long process starting with reading a page a day about three years ago!) and told me he was really getting into it.
So today, the first day of 'Ayyam-i-Ha' (Bahá'í intercalary days) was a day of celebration, not in the usual sense of balloons, parties and cake - but in the celebration of thinking and doing for your own self and for the well-being of others. Its a long journey for us both, but it's well worth the proactive effort.
"Be thou strong and firm. Be thou resolute and steadfast. When the tree is firmly rooted, it will bear fruit....Be thou not discouraged. The trials of God are many, but if man remains firm and steadfast, test itself is a stepping stone for the progress of humanity." ~ 'Abdu'l-Bahá
This article was originally posted in wehavems.wordpress.com